Reviews: picking up the pieces – the return of Jigsaw
Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig
Starring Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson, Clé Bennett, Laura Vandervoort
Some ten years after his death the famed torture-killer Jigsaw seems to be back in business. This time five people wake up in a room and are being put through the usual stream of horrible choices. They have all brought themselves there through their actions and the inability to account for those actions, at least by the view of the killer. Meanwhile the police are looking inwards and are trying to find who is carrying on the work of the dead killer – or is it that Jigsaw has somehow solved the biggest puzzle of all, death itself?
I think it was about the third Saw film in the franchise when I stopped going to see the films in the cinema. I would joke with friends that I was getting too excited by the blood and gore, and considering at the time I was writing very dark fiction, so they all believed it. But the real reason was that the torture deaths were getting rather boring after three goes in the movies, and I waited for their release on DVD. When I heard that the last film was going to be the last film I was happy enough. Sometimes these films run their course and you never want to reach Saw: Mission to Moscow level.
So when the time came to watch this relaunch of the series in the 2017 Jigsaw I thought that Mission to Moscow was happening. In some ways there are moments where you say “I’ve seen this before.” Especially when it comes to this series. However it’s the twisty-turny nature of the series that always brings me back to it. Here the five people locked in the game that Jigsaw has set up have been pretty despicable, and they won’t admit their sins. Meanhile the police are chasing within their own ranks and looking at the medical examiner team as well. The two stories are running, as before, side by side and that helps as it stops the viewer from getting too comfortable in their jammies eating Cheerios in front of the telly.
Honestly I don’t think I would have gone to see this, on my own dime, in a cinema, but as I sat down on a Saturday night, as my other half was talking with family over many bottles of Prosecco, I found I watched gleefully. You know what is going to happen. They have recaptured the tension of the first few of the series by filming the new era in a way that is sympathetic to the original. We get to see more of Tobin Bell which is always a good thing, but you never quite know if you are watching the past or the present. Joining the fun is Laura Vandervoort, Matt Passmore, and Callum Keith Rennie.
Jigsaw does what you think it’s going to do. It’s not high end horror, it’s the torture porn that we know to expect by now, the tension is dampened by knowing that people in the game never get a truly fair deal. But that doesn’t stop the fun, the performances are good for this film, and the practical and computer aided special effects all give you the shakes. You cannot help but think of someone who in your life has wronged you and you’d love to see in this vicious revenge game. Also I’m probably the only one who feels that Jigsaw is watching me and I try to be a better person because of that. I fail, but I try.
Rather than upping the blood and gore as each successive Saw movie did before it, Jigsaw’s creative team manages to do something different and it benefits greatly from it. Jigsaw ups the suspicion and the tension. It updates the story and leaves you wanting a sequel to this round. If you were a fan of the original films you’re going to watch this, but if you were just a casual viewer of the series you won’t be disappointed in the slightest.
Jigsaw is out from Lionsgate on Video on Demand from today and then on DVD, Blu-Ray, Box Set and Steelbook from the 26th February