The resurrection of the seemingly insurrectable ‘Saw’ franchise has finally arrived after much anticipation. Originally going under the moniker of ‘Saw: Legacy’, the refreshed title seems to be leaning in the same direction as the death-traps which feature in the film itself: simplicity.
Of course to detail any of the plot would be a cardinal sin for this site, but all the audience needs to know is that ‘Jigsaw’ starts as a baffling and convoluted conundrum on a sunny roof-top and then the game quite literally begins, but stick with it: it WILL make sense.
Directing duo The Spierig Brothers (of the supremely under-rated ‘Daybreakers’ , and ‘Predestination’) have crafted a supremely clever, confident and, of course, brutally violent franchise entry that easily stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the original ‘Saw’ in terms of gruesomeness, ingenuity and sheer deviousness.
The film manages to pack a great deal of back-story and exposition into its slim 92 minutes, with almost every character fleshed out with clunky dialogue delivered almost like stage-directions to the audience.
Flash-backs, newspaper headlines, Internet searches, jarring dialogue…every trick in the book is used to shovel story and character-building at the viewer at the briskest possible pace so that we can all move onto the next gruesome death-trap.
There is no getting around the fact that the story appears initially bewildering, but give it time, and much like all the best puzzles, all the pieces will click together in the end. the gore and grue is actually surprisingly restrained this time around (or is it that modern horror audiences tolerances for gore and sinew have just increased?) but make no mistake, this film is still wince-inducingly violent.
The danger with this kind of horror-thriller – notably being part eight in the franchise (never a good number in the horror genre) – is that the story would have become totally predictable and incredulous to such twist-savvy audiences as today’s cinema-goers: Fear not, this is one devious thriller that is constantly ten steps ahead of the audience at all times, crafting a baffling-yet-brilliant story that culminates in a genuinely inspired final twist.
There are a few neat little nods to the original films (Saw: The Museum, anybody?) and some genuinely funny dialogue, but most of the laughs come from the agonising pity felt for the excruciating pain most of the cast endure in their attempts to make it to the final frames.
Overall, a gleefully gruesome and supremely clever torture-porn thriller with a deviously-tricksy nature streaked right through it.
Just don’t bother trying to predict the ending, as you’re almost certainly wrong.
Project Square-Eyes (Tuesday the 14th November 2017)