While a former king of Halloween, the “Saw” franchise hasn’t released an installment in the past seven years since the splatterfest was overshadowed by “Paranormal Activity” back in 2009. After “Saw 3D” the following year, the subgenre of gruesomely violent horror films died out, letting found footage and haunted house scares flood the market.
Now the series has returned with “Jigsaw” a sequel/soft reboot aimingto take the franchise in slightly new directions while getting back to the basics. While I’d like to say this is a return to form, it’s more of a continuation of what hasn’t worked in the past.
This film follows a group of people with questionable morals trapped in a barn full of deadly traps supposedly set up by the Jigsaw killer, who has been dead for many years. At the same time, local police are trying to figure out who this new copycat killer is and how they can stop this new game from ending in bloody death.
If that synopsis sounded familiar, you’d be right. “Jigsaw” isn’t too concerned with doing something new with the franchise, instead retreading old ground that hasn’t been fertile in about a decade.
The characters inside the game are unlikable and flatter than a saw blade. They exist simply to be killed in elaborate traps. But, the film can’t even get that right, as the traps are too simple and lack any impact, feeling as if the filmmakers were trying to “get back to basics,” but instead failed to come up with anything interesting.
There’s even little gore this time, with many kills cutting away at the last minute, showing the underwhelmingl CGI heavy carnage, or showcasing the eviscerated bodies in great detail. It’s a shame to see a series known for it’s gore and violence fail to push the envelope despite having more leeway.
The worse part about the traps and the game itself is that they’re not the focus of the film. Instead, the audience is mostly left an overly complex and cheap-looking police procedural that feels like something straight out of “Law & Order.”
The acting and writing in these sequences are cheesy in every sense of the word, using cliches and logical leaps to move the plot forward, all while ignoring blatant plot holes in order to get to the grand twist of “Jigsaw.”
It simply doesn’t work. The twist is meant not only to shock the audience, but to explain some large and distracting plot holes. Instead, it only creates new ones as logic and reasoning are thrown out the window in order to appear as if the film is clever.
The twist comes off as extremely unnecessary since there isn’t a reason as to why the character would do the thing they’re doing in the way that they’re doing it. This “twist” was only done to fool the audience who couldn’t have possibly seen it coming, since it’s so idiotic.
Despite the hilariously awful leaps in logic, “Jigsaw” still follows the tired franchise formula to a tee, making it a tedious splatterfest if you’re familiar with the other seven movies. The entire movie feels like a waste of time, with it’s basic plot and numerous untouched series cliches.
Fans of the “Saw” franchise may be able to get something out of this boring wreck, but most audiences will be left disappointed with the lack of satisfying kills and an abundance of insultingly repetitive rehashes of old material.
Samuel Goodrich, Staff Writer