Jigsaw (2017)

Jigsaw 2017 poster.jpgA blunt Saw

Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Starring: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, Laura Vandervoort, Mandela Van Peebles, Paul Braunstein, Brittany Allen, Josiah Black, Tobin Bell

For a seemingly unending period, the Halloween box office was ruled by the Saw franchise. It's time had passed, and as is now the norm, a belated revival was perceived to be the best course of action. While the original is considered the best, the sequels differ in quality, and the majority are pretty ill handled. The resulting follow-up is better than it has any right to be, but ultimately feels uninspired.

It's a decade after the death of John Kramer (Tobin Bell), better known as the Jigsaw killer. Bodies keep turning up, the victims of gruesome deaths, and the evidence points to the long-dead killer as the prime suspect.

Related imageNew directors to the franchise, The Spierg Brothers have gone back to James Wan's initial film for inspiration. The focus is split between the victims of a Jigsaw game, and the police officers working the case, which is a good way to mark the franchises return. This allows the film to actually be driven by the plot, rather than traps trying to outdo one another in grossing out the audience. This is reflected in the simplicity of the traps, showing how they're not the most important aspect here.

Though, in spite of the different directors steering this franchise, it falls into many of the same problems that past instalments did. The picture is full of underdeveloped characters who act long before thinking, while there's a clear lack of internal logic, and obvious reveals are telegraphed much early on. There are clear attempts to deliver a lasting final impression, but it does it in a needlessly complicated, roundabout way. While it's a well delivered finale, it's ultimately the symptom of the filmmakers trying to get out of a corner they originally got themselves into. The alternative would have been the most ridiculous thing to come out of this franchise.

For the eighth instalment, Jigsaw is a step-up after a much needed franchise breather. New directors may be handling things, but it holds many of the same problems as prior instalments. It doesn't reach some of the franchises painful lows, but is far from a much needed rejuvenation for a long dead franchise. If anything, it's a nice remembrance for when Halloween was dominated by the films led by Tobin Bell. Probably best to leave it at this, though.

2 stars` photo 2stars.jpg