I was looking forward to this new chapter as much as the next gore-hound, and my sickly heart was prepared for a flagrant exercise in stupidity... but what I got was a truly dumb, half-assed rehash that feigned originality and cashed in on creativity.
Most fans would agree that James Wan and Leigh Whannell's original SAW was a modern horror masterpiece, which stands on its own as a bonafide classic. And most fans are also prepared to conceded to its sequels with the promise of a fun and ingenious franchise. With each instalment came a new assembly of kills, each one as sick and twisted as the last, and the series offered a villain who earned his place amongst horror royalty. Of course they became progressively more ludicrous and the plausibility (within the realms of it's established universe) was stretched to the max.
And so we arrive at JIGSAW (I guess the elaborated title is supposed to freshen things up) and what a stinker it is. From its poorly written opening scene, to its ludicrous police-procedural structure and every mechanical kill in between... with its stodgy performances and its uninspired set pieces, the movie equates to a cinematic death-rattle.
This is an unfortunate turn of event for the Australian Spierig Brothers (Predestination, Daybreakers & Undead) who have, until this point, proven to be a couple of genre legends. Their previous work is inspired and audacious, and bares no resemblance to the lacklustre nonsense they offer us here. One can hope that they aligned themselves with a bankable franchise purely in order to cement a handsome deal on a future project, such as their upcoming film Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built starring Helen Mirren... They certainly bring nothing new to the Saw table and their input into the series is daft.
SAW is a series that helped define the modern term “Torture Porn” (an evolution of “Video Nasty”) and with eight instalments comes an expectation that it will up-the-ante. But not only does it tone down the gore, it damn-well flinches away from it. There's a lot of deception at play here with too much horrible stuff happening off-screen, and audiences are right to feel ripped off. Oh and the story and its revelations are fucking stupid too... but no spoilers here (see for yourself if you're so inclined).
Some fans will celebrate the return of SAW without considering its merits (or lack thereof) while others will raise an eyebrow and wonder what happened to all of the good stuff? (that's me).