Jigsaw is the eighth movie in the Saw franchise. A movie I thought would not see the light of day, at least not in a true sequel version. With Jigsaw dying in part 3 the Saw franchise could have been a very decent trilogy. But since Saw was a golden goose they made four more movies. After Saw 3D there was seemingly no way they could squeeze more money out of it, or so I thought. Rumors about a new Saw movie have been floating ever since, but the series seemed to have had its run. Then again, this is Hollywood where Spider-man has been rebooted twice now in just a couple of years. So after a hiatus of seven years we are treated to a new Saw movie. The most surprising aspect: it’s not a reboot but a pure straight up sequel.
Jigsaw starts off with a low budget police chase you often see in cop shows. It even has a car crashing into water barrels. Something I haven’t seen in quite some time. The police chase some guy who turns out to be part of Jigsaw’s latest game. This puts the police on his trail and has them questioning how this is possible since Jigsaw is dead.
Meanwhile in a remotely located barn there is a group of individuals who find themselves part of said game. You know the drill: they have to go from room to room and solve a puzzle which requires at least some form of body mutilation. But with Jigsaw (supposedly) dead, who is doing this?
Seven years is a long time. Long enough to create a fresh and invigorating approach to the series. Especially since no one of the previous movies is involved in this installment. I had a lot of hope that Jigsaw would surprise me. Sadly, my hope was quickly crushed as Jigsaw turned out to be just another sequel following the same routines we have already seen 7 times before.
We have seen the whole set-up multiple times now. Not only in Saw but also in movies like Cube in which a group of people must kinda work together in order to get out of a trap alive. From that point of view Jigsaw brings nothing new to the table. But if the traps and tests are done right you could still have a good Saw movie. Guess what: they aren’t.
The traps are really convoluted since they often depend on a certain person standing in a certain place. I can understand that people are in a lot of stress, but in some cases people never seemed to do the most obvious thing. Take the very first trap for instance: people are chained from their neck and pulled slowly towards a wall full of circular saws. They also have a bucket on their heads of which the function is never explained. All Jigsaw requests is an offering of blood, no matter how little. As they are slowly pulled nobody just picks up the chain, walks to the wall and tries to cut the chain with one of the saws.
The traps also require them to go from room to room, each presenting them with a new trap. Why even go into the next room? At least try to stay at an already cleared room and see what happens. Not these people, they just go from room to room like lambs to a slaughter.
The original Saw pulled off a twist ending few people saw coming. When the second one also had a twist ending it burdened the franchise of having to incorporate a twist ending in each installment. This made most of the plots rather convoluted and some of the reveals just felt forced. This is also the case here. Even though they tried, I never found the twist to be all that airtight. It required the perpetrator to be able at multiple places at several times. There is also one scene in which it is fairly obvious the bad guy is switching something. This basically puts a big sign above his head saying “I’m the killer”.
In the end Jigsaw is just another Saw movie. It’s less gory this time, but other than that it brings nothing new to the table. It even opens the door to even more Saw movies. So with a little bit of bad luck I’m writing another review this time next year.