The “SAW” franchise is one of the most successful, and iconic horror franchises of all time. Throughout the mid-late 2000s, Lionsgate would crank out a new film every Halloween in hopes of dominating the box-office. What initially began as a psychological thriller, eventually sparked the birth of a sub-genre crudely referred to as “torture-porn.” And finally, seven years after Saw 3D (dubbed “The Final Chapter” for home-video release), Lionsgate is back with a soft-reboot titled “Jigsaw.”
Following ten years after the death of John Kramer, otherwise known as the infamous "Jigsaw Killer," the games start to begin again, and bodies begin piling up around the city, with all evidence pointing to him. Franchise newcomers, The Spierig Brothers, strive for a whole new approach to the franchise with their directing. They want to have their cake and eat it too, which is unfortunately where many of the film's flaws come in. The Spierigs aim to please both fans of the Jigsaw mystery storyline, and the die-hard gorehounds and the result is something half-baked that doesn’t fully succeed at either. It’s shot very statically, with all of the grungy signature sets and quick-cut editing removed, in favor of a more traditional “cinematic” approach. There’s a lot less gore and brutality; instead, it’s some quick flashes here and there, and the traps are simpler than ever. On the one hand, it’s nice to see them take the franchise in a different direction, but it leaves the audience to ask themselves “If you remove a majority of the signature qualities and characters, what even distinguishes it like a Saw film anymore?” The plot, while somewhat inconsistent compared to the timeline of the series, is thankfully not nearly as disorganized and muddled as the previous sequels. All in all, this is a serviceable sequel that falls somewhere in the middle, surpassing the low-quality of the later films, while not reaching the heights of the first three.