The Saw Franchise Tortures The Audience in 'Jigsaw' (2017) Review
Years ago it was a Halloween tradition for a Saw movie in the cinema. Back in 2004, the series tried to change the slasher game. It put you in the minds of the victims and gave you a moral quandary or two along the way. You didn’t revel in the violence like a night at Crytal Lake. Over the years, the series moved so far away from that original germ of an idea, it became a whole different animal. Jigsaw’s rules became idiotic but were presented as profound.
Now, after all this time, Jigsaw returns in ‘Jigsaw’. The new film talks a lot about the legacy of the Jigsaw killer, the impact he left on the world after all this time. The symbolism between fans of the Saw films and fans of Jigsaw itself worked 10 years ago, but these days it feels like a fantasy land. Perhaps that’s the point since the movie is entirely populated with moments that defy what we know as reality.
Everything from character interactions, physics, and even the movies brain dead psychology feel ingenuine. Typically in an idiotic horror movie, you can still enjoy yourself and ignore the more distracting fallacies. Not so here. Here if you’re distracted by the tv movie acting, you can’t exactly ignore it to focus on the nonsensical story. If a movie is the greater sum of its parts, ‘Jigsaw’ is a busted monster made up of garbage.
‘Jigsaw’ doesn’t even deliver on the basic necessities of the modern ‘Saw’ film. The kills are lame. Any moment of suspense feels like the movie tripped into it accidentally. It never even lasts long as you’re able to tell how something will end up 5 seconds after the situation presents itself. You know which character will do what, and why, and when, and how. ‘Jigsaw’ underestimates the intelligence of the audience, and thinks it’s serving up high-grade shock value. The only thing shocking in ‘Jigsaw’ is Tobin Bells landing strip soul patch.
Blood and gore is mostly missing in this movie. It feels like someone wanted to make a PG-13 Saw movie, but couldn’t write dialogue without curse words, and just gave up. It feels sanitized, and not the fun gore fest you’d expect. I cringed once or twice at the sight of blood and winced here and there, but like a modern horror film uses a cheap jump scare, the kills and maiming in ‘Jigsaw’ feel underserved.
There’s a moment in ‘Jigsaw’ when the killer himself utters the words “The game is simple. The best ones are”. How true that remains for this series that started with chained up victims and a saw blade, and ended up with death machines to ostentatious for a Bond villain. The only good thing about ‘Jigsaw’ is it comes in at under 90 minutes. Another reason this should’ve gone straight to video. Not even Netflix, not even blu-ray, not even DVD. Video. VHS video. ‘Jigsaw’ is such a waste of time it belongs on a dead format.
Rating: Read A Book.