“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.” That was basically the tagline every year from 2004 to 2010. And every year I looked forward to hearing that tagline again and again. But then once Paranormal Activity came out and kept basically coming out a week before Saw every year near the end of the latter’s run, audience attentions spans got distracted and switched over to the found footage horror genre, leaving Saw with nothing to do but to release a shitty “Final Chapter”, add a 3D gimmick, not make money, and left the theaters for good in 2010. But now…it’s back. JIGSAW is back.
And friends, I am an unapologetic lover of this franchise. I always thought the writing here was better and had a more entertaining dynamic than the Paranormal Activity franchise, which basically lost touch after its third film, and then slipped into garbage movie trash oblivion. But not Saw. While Saw kind of wavered between films (mainly just II and V), sometimes the films would actually get better than it’s previous installments. When it was announced that Saw was coming back, there was hardly any information about it, and it was previous named Saw: Legacy (Jigsaw is a much better title), I was a bit skeptical. I mean was this a sequel? A reboot? A soft reboot?
What more could they possible do to Jigsaw’s story of getting ungrateful people to fight for their lives in some death trap maze where usually all the victims would lose? And then I saw the trailer, which was not only cool but which hinted at Jigsaw not really being dead, (oh yeah, spoiler alert, he died all the way back in the third film) which got me intrigued. If he is alive, how the hell did he survive Saw III?! What kind of twist with this installment bring? I knew that if the franchise came back, and at least didn’t bring an installment that was better than half of the others, Saw would officially be dead.
But dead it is not! In fact, Jigsaw is the best installment since the first. I loved it’s twisty, zany story that kept me guessing until the very end. You know each Saw movie has some kind of twist, and I loved the ultimate twist here. In fact I was the most shocked since that classic “moment” in the first movie, and I was constantly looking for it. The movie managed to leave me flabbergasted several times. To enjoy these movies, you have to look past the “torture porn” aspect of it, and just enjoy the insane amount of lunacy and suspend your belief as much as you can. And I can do that with these films.
I really only had four expectations: 1. Have a huge ultimate twist. 2. During that twist, play that Saw music we know so well. 3. Someone at the end says game over. 4. The traps are not only inventive but gives you that bloody and gory goodness horror audience crave. Only one of these things doesn’t happen, and it’s the one I let slide because it isn’t the first time it hasn’t been done. Am I going to describe the plot to you? Not really. I’ll just saw that more people are in a game that looks to be created by Jigsaw, which should be impossible since Jigsaw has been dead for ten years.
The film ends up being mainly a sequel and sort of a soft reboot (considering it’s been 7 years since the last film), but it doesn’t repeat scene for scene any of the traps, story devices or previous twists, which I definitely appreciated. Does our horror master actor Tobin Bell show up in this? I will not reveal that here either. You’ll just have to see for yourself. My friend Kim and I have been going to see every Saw film since we met each other when the 5th movie came out, and then we had a marathon of the other four. We love these films. And the fact that we both said, “well that was pretty damn good and entertaining,” is high praise for the franchise. Look, the only way you are going to see this film is if you are a fan of the franchise and want something better than the shitty Final Chapter. You can’t go into this movie not having seen the other films. That would be just dumb. So if you are intrigued, I suggest having a 7 movie marathon before heading to your theater. Enjoy Halloween. And see Saw.
My order of favorite to least favorite Saw films:
- Saw VI
- Saw IV
- Saw III
- Saw II
- Saw V
- Saw: The Final Chapter