Long time readers of Horror Bound know that I recently discovered the Saw franchise after a lifetime of avoiding the flicks. Three years ago I challenged myself to watch the first and it blew my freakin’ mind and I tore my way through the series. Two years ago the newest addition to the series hit theaters, Jigsaw. I have finally watched it!!!!
So guess what spooky dudes?! I’m here to talk about it.
And I’m going to convince you to love it.
I feel like for the past three years I’ve been convincing people to love the Saw franchise and embrace the hot mess that it is. Jigsaw isn’t even the hottest of the messes so there’s that!
I’m not going to explain the entire franchise to you because honestly I don’t know who could. There’s like a thousand characters and twists and turns and A LOT of plot holes. And honestly, all you really need to know going into Jigsaw is the following:
John Kramer is also known as the Jigsaw killer. He kidnapped people who are not so great, and forced them to compete in various horrifying traps to hopefully redeem themselves. He’s incredibly clever and very philosophical about his killings and his traps. They are true works of art. Every single trap he creates, has a way out. But people rarely figure it out. He’s not a cold blooded killer getting joy out of this, he’s testing people to see if they can truly survive. And if they deserve to live.
There are many reasons he began doing what he did, the main one being that the love of his life had a miscarriage, losing his unborn son. And also he had brain cancer that went un-diagnosed and he eventually succumbed to the cancer and died. But there were a few people along the way that Kramer set into play who helped continue on his legacy. Hence the sequels.
The other thing to know is that he plays his games by using lots of tape recorders that play cryptic messages, and a puppet named Billy that rides a bike around freaking people out.
All covered? Okay!
“The game, it’s started.”
We open on a man running in a full blown panic, racing to a rooftop. The police are chasing him and when they have him cornered, he holds a trigger in his hand, begging them not to shoot. He says he’s playing a game and that there are 5 other people involved. The cops shoot him and in turn shoot the trigger out of his hand.
Cut to 5 people chained to a wall, they have metal buckets chained to their necks. As they all begin to wake up, they obviously begin to panic. A voice comes over the speaker telling them they must confess. The chains begin to pull them towards a wall covered in buzzsaws that are spinning wildly. One woman stays calm enough to realize the voice is asking for blood, and so she allows the saw to cut her arm and instantly the chain stops pulling her. The bucket unchains and she can pull it off of her head. She runs to each person in line and tells them to let themselves be cut. She manages to save four of them, but the fifth is barely responsive and they are all pulled into another room as he is left to die.
Cut to a woman jogging who suddenly sees a body hanging from a bridge. A metal bucket is chained to his head. Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) and Eleanor (Hannah Emily Anderson) are working in the morgue when the body arrives. Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) and Detective Keith Hunt (Clé Bennett) are investigating the murder, and this team of four are determined to find out who this copycat of Jigsaw is.
“Here’s your key to freedom”
Okay. Let’s start with the traps shall we?
I felt like there were enough new ones to be satisfying, and creative enough to not be too much of a let down. After 8 movies you’d think they be running out of ideas at this point but they’re not! While these ones are less impactful emotionally than some of the original, they were absolutely creative.
The tension with the traps stayed strong. I was cringing when the 5 of them were sticking their fingers and arms into buzzsaws. And in the silo scene, as the two are almost buried alive by seed, I felt the panic. Although that was quickly ruined as weapons literally started raining from the sky. So absurd. But I secretly loved it.
I think what makes this movie go from a 5/5 to a 4/ 5 for me is the traps though. As I mentioned above, there wasn’t a lot of emotional investment in them. The only one that remotely led to their stories was the motorbike one. I think what we’ve lost from the original ones are the fact that the traps reflect the person’s sins. This didn’t feel that way.
So why should you love this movie? Why should you trust me and go back and re-watch it if you hated it the first time?
Because this is like a CSI episode mixed with a Saw film. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love CSI? And I was cackling as the four main characters kept standing over dead bodies dropping one liners and gazing off into the distance. I was just waiting for someone to put on a pair of sunglasses and for the music to cut in.
But that’s what’s amazing about these films! They are cheesey. They’re over the top. And they are unapologetic about it! You know what you signed up for when you chose to watch it, so why you hatin’?
Want another reason?
The twists and turns. The last ten minutes are just TWIST TWIST TWIST TWIST until you’re like…..wait….WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?! And that’s a goddamn Saw movie you guys. The movie should end with you going...wait who da fuck? How da fuck? And this movie did that.
The reveal of Logan being the doctor that fucked up Kramer’s x-rays?! Come on, that was genius. The reveal that all the traps we’d been watching were from THE FREAKIN’ PAST?! Dropping that Final Destination prequel twist on us?! Come on, you didn’t expect that and it was amazing. This could be Jigsaw’s first ever game! And now we have so much backstory to chew over as well. We know that his ex-wife’s Dad had a pig farm that John used to develop his traps. We can finally understand where on earth John was getting all this equipment from for his traps….they all came from this farm originally. During the silo scene we can see multiple parts of future traps fall - meat hooks, saws, rakes etc.
We also finally got an answer to why there’s so much pig imagery throughout all the movies. SEE...THINGS MAKE SO MUCH SENSE NOW!
Having Tobin Bell back playing Kramer is always great. He’s incredible as this character and I really loved him. I feel for him so emotionally. And this movie continued with that. It spoke a lot about confessing for past sins, living with hatred, living with secrets. The Saw franchise has always been about our morals and how we deal with them. And this one was no different. Kramer chose to forgive the doctor that had potentially killed him. Kramer has forgiven so many in his life for the most horrific things, but only when that person has repented and apologized. I think he’s a role model in that way. Without the murder obviously. We could all be a lot healthier if we knew how to forgive quicker, how to apologize quicker, how to forgive ourselves quicker.
Saw deep down has always been a morale story. With murder, torture, and blood on top. But deep down it has always asked us to question our morality and question how we treat others as a society.
Anyway, if you don’t love Jigsaw, I will forgive you. But don’t come for my love of the Saw franchise because I will fight you. I hope there’s even more movies in the future…and I want Eleanor to take over as a Jigsaw copycat killer since she loves him so much. I’d be so down for that!