“Do You Want to Play a Game?” A Review of the Latest “Saw” Film

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By Anthony Del Vecchio

Staff Reporter

The American horror film, “Jigsaw,” was released in theaters on Thursday, Oct. 27, just in time for Halloween weekend.

Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (The Spierig Brothers), “Jigsaw” is the eighth film in the “Saw” franchise, after “Saw 3D” was supposed to be the final installment.

The film acts as both a prequel and a sequel, since it goes back and forth between present time and 11 years prior to the first “Saw” film. The storylines of the diverse group of captured people and the detectives searching for them run parallel to each other; which is an interesting directing style not yet seen before in the series.

The captives in the film are Laura Vandervoort as Anna, Paul Braunstein as Ryan, Mandela Van Peebles as Mitch, and Brittany Allen as Carly.

After the individuals are captured, they are given a series of instructions from their captor, the infamous serial killer, John Kramer, also known as “Jigsaw.” Kramer puts them in literal life or death situations, due to their pasts and how their choices have harmed innocent lives. Throughout the different “Saw” films, this results in most of the captives dying in some form of torture.

During the pre-production phase of the film, the original running title was supposed to be “Saw: Legacy.” After seeing the film, that made a lot of sense because it started to feel like the original “Saw” film. The group we follow in “Jigsaw” is important to the series because the “game” we watch them play is the one that started it all.

Matt Passmore plays Logan Nelson, a forensic pathologist who works directly on the bodies of Jigsaw’s victims, and Hannah Emily Anderson plays Nelson’s assistant, Eleanor Bonneville. The film starts to take some interesting turns when the two of them are interrogated and pursued by Detective Halloran, played by Callum Keith Rennie, and Detective Keith Hunt, played by Clé Bennett.

The “Saw” powerhouse is run on shock factor, gore elements, and the fact that Tobin Bell always delivers a chilling performance as Kramer/Jigsaw. However, after seeing all of the “Saw” films, there’s only a certain amount of times I can see such a similar story play out.

When Halloran yelled, “How are you still alive?” in the film, I was asking myself something similar; wondering how much they could try to add onto this story.

The Spierig Brothers definitely looked to the original “Saw” for inspiration, and I think it’s respectable that they tried to do something new with the plot, like using more comedic elements in the film and not just relying on gore alone.

Charlie Clouser, a prior member of the industrial rock band, Nine Inch Nails, provided the score for every film in the “Saw” franchise and returned for “Jigsaw.” In a statement about the film, he talked about the Spierig Brothers’ reinvention and what that meant for the score.

“I think the Spierig Brothers can deliver a fresh take on the material that will establish a new storyline and new characters that can carry the saga into the future,” said Clouser. “After a six-year break from the world of ‘Saw,’ this will be an opportunity for me to reimagine how I approach the score, and I’ll be trying a more stark, bold and stripped-down approach that will be more in line with the strong vision that the Spierig Brothers are bringing to the table.”

With that being said, I feel like the movie would’ve been better if the creators took their interesting ideas and made a new type of horror movie, instead of forcing it into the already long and complicated story that has been drawn out over the last thirteen years.

Coming in first for its opening weekend, “Jigsaw” had an opening weekend gross of $16,250,000. So far it has a 6.4/10 rating on IMDb and currently sits with a 38% critic rating and a 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

With an interesting story, a very clever plot twist that is well thought out, and a style of directing that made the movie look and feel different, “Jigsaw” is a decent film. If you’re a fan of “Saw” and have made it this far, you just have to see how they end the story… again.

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