REVIEW: Jigsaw (2017)

Written By: Nigel Asipa
So, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter wasn’t final after all.
The plot twist at the back end of the story irons out details that explains why the legacy of Jigsaw/John Kramer (Tobin Bell) begged to be explored further. To a degree he’s somewhat like Dexter Morgan except serial killers aren’t necessarily on his agenda. He goes after those who’ve manipulated and left people twisting in the wind; stopping them in their tracks to challenge them to partake in morbid ‘games’ for them to hold up the mirror to see who they truly are.
So,  someone is at it again. Five unlucky, but sinful saps are thrust into yet another series of perverse, visceral traps that will determine whether they deserve salvation or damnation. You can pretty much suss which ones are gonna live longer than other, which ones are going to challenge each other’s’ moral compass; which in turn will have them turning on each other so they’ll temporarily lose sight of the subtle clue Kramer leaves for them.
But Kramer’s been dead for the last decade? Since his apparent demise his work has developed a cult following, with a website dedicated to his memory. A sadistic villain he may be, but a smart one at that. Producer Oren Koules describes the inspiration behind Jigsaw as getting back to basics, imbuing this instalment with the logic, the intrigue and the scare factor the original had.
Jigsaw (2017)
Two detectives are on the case (Callum Keith Rennie and Cle Bennett) after they attempt to save a man on the run who had the trigger to initiate the course of traps that await five captives. Their investigation has them collaborating with Logan and Eleanor, two forensic pathologists who embark on an investigation of their own that can have let’s say incriminating repercussions.
The race is on to save as many of the captives as possible because every moment wasted decreases their chances of outthinking and avoid ‘atoning for their sins’.
Originally titled Saw: Legacy, Lionsgate Films saw it fit to cap off the series in 2010 but was all the while open to the possibly of a remake or an extension of sorts of the franchise. Brothers Peter and Michael Spierig sought to exhaust the use of practical effects which they describe as “difficult to shoot but awesome to watch”.
The narrative isn’t as straightforward as many would believe and it does its best to keep viewers invested in the mystery of it all. Koules mentions how the mystery also ventures into whether Kramer is indeed the villain and whether his heinous sense of self-righteousness is truly justified. The five that he’s somehow captured aren’t the most likable to root for.
Jigsaw (2017)
The traps are low tech, taking place in a barn with one involving a motorbike I found to be kind of ingenious. The violence isn’t quite as cringe inducing as some of the previous entries and while that isn’t so much a detriment to the insidiousness the Spierig brothers seek to portray, the mystery element is what drives it all and that part is the weakest of the whole thing. The sense of urgency seems to be sapped every time we go back to the investigation.
The acting is serviceable at best and even though rich characters aren’t exactly what Jigsaw is going for, their lack of charisma or likability sells the captives as nothing more than cattle for the slaughter and the investigative team as one note.
The immediacy in the danger feels a little safe for a franchise that thrived on gut churning sequences of victims getting annihilated. The revelation is somewhat interesting as the non linear narrative is something the Spierig brothers demonstrated to ‘Holy Sh*t’ effect in 2014’s Predestination but the missteps throughout the movie let it down that had my eyes rolling at the ‘we’re getting another sequel’ kind of ending.
Nigel who kindly writes for Popcornography every week has a brand new website launching shortly. He will continue to write for this site but be sure to check out his new home in the coming weeks.
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