Jigsaw – USA, 2017 – reviews

 
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‘The truth will set you free’

Jigsaw is a 2017 American horror feature film directed by Australians Michael and Peter Spierig (Winchester: The House That Ghosts BuiltDaybreakers; Undead). It is the eighth entry in the Saw franchise that began in 2004, the most recent being Saw 3D in 2010.

The film was scripted by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, the writing team behind Sorority Row; Piranha 3D and Piranha 3DD. Stolberg also co-wrote and directed the 2013 thriller Crawlspace, while Goldfinger co-wrote the 2010 short Clown that was later adapted into a feature of the same name.

Original Saw helmer, James Wan, who went on to direct Insidious and The Conjuring, executive produced, along with original Saw star and scripter James Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 3).

Saw veteran villain John Kramer is once again played by Tobin Bell (Belzebuth; Dark House). He is joined by Mandela Van Peebles, Shaquan Lewis, Laura Vandervoort (Bitten; Goosebumps), Brittany Allen (It Stains the Sand Red), Matt Passmore, Hannah Emily Anderson (Lizzie Borden Took an Ax), Josiah Black, Michael Boisvert, Callum Keith Rennie, and James Gomez.

Released on October 27, 2017, and with a reported budget of $10 million, Jigsaw initially performed disappointingly at the US box office (perhaps due to the clash with Halloween celebrations?), however it went on take $102,055,501 worldwide.

Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade. Or has an apprentice picked up the mantle of Jigsaw, perhaps even someone inside the investigation?

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Reviews [click links to read more]:

“At times it’s a very fun ride, and it’s undeniably enjoyable to see some new games unfold, but the movie is bookended by bits that just don’t resonate, and peppered throughout are frustrating CGI intrusions. The cast just about sells it all, though, making the brisk runtime fly by.” Den of Geek!

“For those with strong stomachs and an enjoyment in cringe-worthy catharses, it’s all quite skillfully orchestrated, keeping the viewer squirming and on edge. Does Jigsaw warrant a new onslaught of sequels? No, and hopefully that doesn’t happen. As a one-off serving fans a nostalgic dose of a mid-2000s fad, however, it’s just what the coroner ordered.” The Fright File

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“The story isn’t quite as clever as it would like you to believe; many will get on with it just fine, but if you’re really into your Saw films, you might be able to sense where things are going at an early stage. That doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the movie though as, after seven years, it’s lovely being reunited with the series. It’s even more delightful to once more here Charlie Clouser’s score…” The Hollywood News

“Although a lack of violence has been cited as a negative it can be seen as as positive because at least The Spierig’s are truly trying to take the Saw franchise in a different direction. The setting of the film can be seen as another effort in this regard. Instead of some random, abandoned building or factory this time the victims are trapped in an old barn.” Infernal Cinema

The Spierigs may be known for reinvesting tired fear concepts with new life, but they do nothing here to enliven the otherwise lackluster proceedings. Even the typically abundant gore the series is known for is muted here, the arterial spray more like a trickle. Instead of moving the franchise forward, this is backwards glancing without the fan service we’ve come to expect from such approaches.” Film Racket

“It’s very bright and well put together. The Saw series has always had a grungy look to it, but towards the end it started to make the films feel like they had a cheap quality to them like they were direct to DVD features. Jigsaw brightens things up and loses the grungy aesthetic in favor of a more traditional look.” Horror-Movies.ca

” …it feels more like a police procedural than a gritty Saw film. Whether or not this works in the film’s favor is up to the viewer to decide. I believe it works, but the difference is jarring. Criticizing the film for not being like the other installments is unfair though. On its own terms, Jigsaw is a competently made film, but it does feel a bit passionless.” Bloody Disgusting

“The victims are nondescript, almost having no personality beyond their generic transgressions. One of the pleasures of Saw was watching Adam and Doctor Gordon try to come up with plans to survive, which revealed so much about the way they thought. The victims in Jigsaw weren’t allowed that agency. As a result, the viewer doesn’t get to spend time trying to compose their own escape.” Wicked Horror

“You will hate Jigsaw if you approach it like a regular puzzle, and go in expecting its creators to give you enough pieces to complete their already corny puzzle without some amount of creative overcompensating. But, while I can’t exactly recommend seeing Jigsaw, I can tell you that it’s fun to watch.” RogerEbert.com

Jigsaw has a brighter, more professional sheen on it than did the last couple of entries; at least we can always see what’s going on to whom and where everyone is in relation to each other. The cast is capable and does what it can with characters who aren’t exactly mesmerizing […] if this has been your thing in the past, Jigsaw should more or less deliver for you.” Arrow in the Head

“Of course, there’s no need for this, as even die-hard fans have to be a little bit tired of the John Kramer saga by now, deserving a new path toward tortured enlightenment. Jigsaw is simply the same old stuff, only more deflated and desperate, missing visual oomph, ghoulish imagination, and a reason to be.” Blu-ray.com

“The Spierigs give us gore aplenty, but nothing that can compare to a pit of hypodermic needles or the unflinching brutality of hacking off one’s own foot. Jigsaw may have all its pieces in place, but it lacks the nerve to cut to the quick.” South China Morning Post

“The story is slick, and the actors are all up to par […] But Jigsaw’s screenwriters don’t have the guts to push beyond the boundaries: They either went back to the old well and used traps we’ve seen or chose to rely on CGI (lasers… and not nearly as good as the ones in Resident Evil). At the end of the day, Jigsaw isn’t terrible. But it’s not the horrific homecoming Kramer deserves.” Dread Central

“Australian directors Michael and Peter Spierig are new to the franchise […] On this for-hire gig, they don’t quite match the best of the series, but deliver well above the average middling sequel – and there’s a real satisfaction to the way that all the things you seize on as plotholes or lapses turn out to be clues leading to last-reel big reveals which maintain the Saw knack of being clever as well as nasty.” Empire

Cast and characters:

  • Matt Passmore … Logan Nelson
  • Callum Keith Rennie … Detective Halloran
  • Clé Bennett … Detective Keith Hunt
  • Hannah Emily Anderson … Eleanor Bonneville
  • Mandela Van Peebles … Mitch
  • Laura Vandervoort … Anna
  • Brittany Allen … Carly
  • Paul Braunstein … Ryan
  • Josiah Black … Edgar Munsen
  • Shaquan Lewis … Officer Solomon
  • Michael Boisvert … Lee James
  • Tobin Bell … John Kramer / Jigsaw

Running time and aspect ratio:

91 minutes | 2.35: 1

Box office:

Jigsaw took $102,952,562 worldwide on a reported budget of approximately $10 million.

Trivia:

  • Pre-production began on September 12, 2016, in Toronto.
  • The film’s production title was Saw: Legacy

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