All Hallows Eve is upon us, and of course it would not be complete without another game from our friendly neighborhood serial killer. Jigsaw has joined the ranks of Freddy and Jason, and for this generation we need a good slasher, and Jigsaw fits the bill(well most of the time). After the forgettable effort of Saw 5, I was pretty sure this series had no more wind left in it’s sails. I was ready to be underwhelmed and snoring by the halfway point, but thankfully from the moment the movie started it gabbed me and didn’t let go until the credits were rolling. It has all you love about the series without a lot of the filler the series has became guilty of in the last few films. Even 6 films in, it still managed to keep me guessing all the way to the end. Finally, when the GOTCHA twist is finally revealed well, goddammit they got me AGAIN! Bloody savages.
There are three stories going on in this film. First is the power struggle to take up the reins of Jigsaw’s game between Hoffman(Mandylor) and Jigsaw’s wife Jill(Russell). Second is the police detectives trying to figure out who has taken over since John Kramer is now dead. Third is of course the game. William(Outerbridge) is the head of Umbrella Health Insurance Co. He and his team are in charge of who gets insurance and who doesn’t. Unfortunately for William he denied John Kramer coverage for his cancer treatment. It effectively gave Jigsaw a death sentence. Jigsaw didn’t like that too much. It’s kind of poetic justice, here’s a man who spent his whole life deciding who lives and who dies. Now, he is stuck in a game making the same decisions only this time it’s with awesome traps instead of paperwork.
What I liked:
Part of what I like about this movie is because of the fact that all the other films have tied up many of the loose ends. What is left, is a tight and engaging narrative free of too many bullshit subplots that lead to nothing. There were just enough flashbacks to keep things confusing so you knew you were watching a saw movie, but I never got lost. Tobin Bell even though he is dead probably gave his best performance as John Kramer to date. He really gets human in this film. He’s angry, he’s upset with his dying body, and he is has vengeance to hand out to William. This is the first time you really get into Jigsaw’s head and get a feel for what his real motives are. The traps are way more inventive in this one. They focused so much more on the tension of the traps rather than the gore they cause. It’s really created a lot of suspense that made the shocking gore all the more rewarding.
What I didn’t like:
Even though the subplots were cut to a minimum there were still a few times I was like, “what was the point of that?” moments. I know it is a Saw thing to force feed you storyline so you don’t have to think, but the story is so strong that these moment just pissed me off because they were so unnecessary. Then there are the people stuck in these traps. There are a few people that have no reason for being there. Let me put it another way, they shouldn’t have been tested. Jigsaw’s whole shtick is testing people that deserve to be tested. When you add innocents just for William to choose who lives and who dies it seems wrong. It takes away any reason to believe Jigsaw’s motives are justified. It also makes their gory end no fun to watch. Now that you mention it, the gore seemed very tailed back in this one. Don’t get me wrong there is some awesome gore in this, but not nearly as much as we come to expect from a Saw movie. Case and point, the title trap of the people spinning on the merry go round. This trap had so much potential for being the nastiest trap in Saw history, but sadly it will disappoint you.
For you gorehounds out there this may not be your favorite, but for the rest of you out there you will have a fun ride with this one. Even though the series is definitely tired, it’s not done yet. There is enough twists and turns to satisfy you. Don’t waste your hard earned money on Paranormal Activity, spend it on this instead. Plus, If you don’t see it you’ll be lost next October when Saw VII comes out!
3.5 out of 5