To say I am a Saw fan is probably an understatement. Thus there will be spoilers from the previous films, but not Jigsaw, included. From the moment I watched the original feature I was hooked. That ending was by far one of the best endings to any horror film I had ever seen. As soon as John Kramer (Tobin Bell) sat up in the room my mouth fell open. When the explanation came at the end I could not believe what I was hearing. This ending had twists I could not have conjured up in a hundred years. Honestly, I cannot imagine anyone saw that coming.
After the success of the first film, they soon announced they would be making at least five more installments, if not six, and I was stoked. The phrase if it’s Halloween it must be Saw ruled my life for the next six installments. To the point I was kind of sad when my father and I went to see the last one. I knew this was not the end of horror films, but there was a part of me that was sad our horror film tradition, to watch a new horror movie on on Halloween, with the Saw franchise was over. And then entered Jigsaw.
While I wondered how they would continue the franchise, I grew excited because I wanted more Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes)! I kept thinking to myself that he would continue on Kramer’s legacy. In fact, quite frankly, that is part of why the seventh installment made me overjoyed. The franchise ended exactly how I wanted. More Gordon. Less Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). This was a win-win for me since Hoffman being a part of the operation never truly made sense to me. There was something about him that made me see him less like a Jigsaw apprentice and more of a copycat.
Cut to the film Jigsaw where the police are dealing with a copycat of the Jigsaw killer, a little over a decade after Kramer’s death. As audiences are guided through another maze that mirrors the mastermind that is Kramer, we began to compile a list of suspects. The thing about this particular franchise though is we know that anything is a possibility and just when we think we have the puzzle pieces put together we are sorely mistaken. This installment was not different. By the end I was being asked, “Did you see that coming?” and the answer is no. Not entirely.
Jigsaw introduces us to a whole new set of policemen and whole new group playing his games. The directors also introduces us to a polished version that has not been seen previously. This was never done due to a lack of budget though in my opinion. Most films, once they grow in popularity after all, attain higher budgets. With the Saw franchise, there is an expected grit. You know the one. That feeling that there is a camera watching your every movement and that is something I felt was ultimately missing.
Likewise, as far as gore goes, this one had fewer moments that made me cringe. I will admit there is a part of me that was happy not to endure the unbridled brutality I thought would be riddled throughout the film. However, there were moments I felt would be far worse to endure that seemed mild in comparison to the deaths audiences have witnessed previously in the franchise.
In terms of scares, there are not as many true scares. With that said, the main emotion I have felt over the years in this series is that of anxiety. I have always been anxious to see who survives. Especially the last one. I needed to know, despite the lies that Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery) told, he survived. His storyline, much like the others before him begged one question. Do you want to live?
I want to believe the answer is all of us. At one point or another I think we have all thought the phrase now is not my time. Granted, some of us have thought the reverse, but the point of Jigsaw’s games have always been to make those respect their own lives more. In that regard I love that underlying message. Life should be respected and valued, even at our lowest points. After all, we only get one life to live so we have to live our lives to the fullest.
Ultimately, while most critics might not be a fan of the film, if you are a fan of this franchise you are doing yourself a disservice not seeing this one in theaters. Make new traditions of long ago vital and alive once more. After all, Jigsaw must be saw.