If there exists a film series that I understand the appeal for the least, it would probably have to be Saw. Known for their grisly, morbid content, the film series has sparked numerous controversies. Often beloved by many fans but consistently panned by critics.
I’m sure most if not everyone is now familiar with the Saw film formula. A serial murderer named John Kramer (played by Tobin Bell) kidnaps individuals and makes them play a very real game of life and death. Forcing them to compete in psychological games of torture to atone for their crimes of the past.
Except this time around in Jigsaw, the gimmick (Did I say gimmick? I meant catch!) is that John Kramer has been dead for ten years. Yet, someone is going around killing off new people. Is John back from the dead, or is there a copycat killer on the loose? Will the police be able to find this mysterious individual before it’s too late, or will they get away with their cruel crimes?
I’ve personally never cared for this genre of horror, often crudely labeled as “torture porn”. Where as many slasher films have novelty, uniqueness or even political/social commentary aspects that make them entertaining, the only feature of Saw meant to be fun is watching individuals be tortured and maimed. This isn’t my cup of tea, nor will it ever be.
But if I were to take a second to look at it from a Saw fan’s perspective, I’d still loathe this film with a passion. For the simple reason that, none of the kills (or traps) were that crafty. I distinctly remember some of the other films having creative torture devices, where Jigsaw feels oddly void of any interesting traps or obstacles.
Saw also attempts to throw red herring after red herring at the viewer, attempting to distract from the obvious end bad guy. When all but one main character has been accused of being the villain before the runtime hits the hour mark, it quickly becomes clear who’s in on it. So when we get the obligatory Scooby-Doo style explanation of who the villain is, it’s all the more excruciating to sit through.
A clever moment here and there doesn’t nearly make up for the sloppy, downright incoherent product that we’re given. It’s cardboard characters and sorry excuse for a mystery are the most horrifying, vomit-inducing parts of the film. After a whopping eight installments, its abundantly clear that the Saw franchise is completely out of ideas, leaving the audience with a jumbled puzzle that no one should be forced to put together.
The Verdict: D-