Slashers & Serial Killers in Review: Jigsaw (2017)
The Jigsaw killer strikes again a decade after his death, setting up several traps for five people who need to atone for their sins. This film follows a male and a female forensic pathologist as they help uncover clues as to how the Jigsaw killer has returned from the dead. Meanwhile, a team of detectives suspect that these two are the copycat killers. Find out for yourself whether or not Jigsaw faked his death! I mean… he is the only one able to do something like this, right? Or did he set up enough secret traps before his death to last a lifetime?
First, let’s discuss a little bit about the films prior to Jigsaw. The original film, Saw, was the most unique out of the lot. The budget wasn’t extremely high, and in comparison to the following films it did not nearly have the amount of gore that this series is so famous for. Most of the films follow an ongoing detective investigation trying to find the Jigsaw killer and rescue those still alive while we watch them try to escape the traps that the Jigsaw killer and his accomplices set up for them.
For the most part, the majority does not make it out alive. It’s an interesting concept with a great overarching plot about one terrifying serial killer. What makes him so interesting is that they try to make you sympathize with him, and, to an extent, understand why he does what he does. I don’t find that any of the movies are weak in comparison to the rest, although the plot does have a few technical difficulties every now and then – but you really have to pick the films apart to be able to find them. Lots of pig heads, lots of blood, and lots of creepy talking puppets on tricycles.
I often feel like I’m one step ahead when I watch horror movies because I have seen so many; even the most unpredictable films have become easily predictable for me, so it’s a nice change of pace when a film is creative enough to catch me off-guard. I felt like I was constantly jumping back and forth as to what I thought was happening and who was actually killing these people, but I was completely blindsided about who it was. I didn’t even think of them as an actual option. On the topic of ‘predictability’, the ending for those that were caught in the traps should have been predictable, because that is how all of Jigsaw’s kills usually go: if you just did the right thing you could have made it out alive. However, this movie kept some things a surprise.
As per usual, the Saw films never hold out when it comes to the acting. The characters are always believably terrified and always look emotionally unstable when they should. There is never a moment that I find myself taken out of the film because of it, which, unfortunately, is sometimes the norm in horror films – franchises especially. That being said, I wouldn’t necessarily say that I particularly liked any of the characters in the film – aside from John Kramer, of course.
One thing that continues on throughout all of the films in the franchise is the amount of suspense that they have. I have seen every single one of this films – in the theatre – the years that they came out, and I am on the edge of my seat the entire time. I think half the fun in watching these films is trying to guess what is going to happen next, which sometimes leads to yelling at your screen – telling the victims to just do what the damn tape says and follow his instructions so they can stay alive. If only they listened. Personally, the series as a whole has always been one of my favourites, and I get a lot of flak from overly critical horror fans about that. Like, yes: I realize the continuity isn’t completely flawless, but take it for what it is. It definitely is an interesting story and these movies keep your attention of the duration of them. There isn’t a whole lot of filler and they don’t ever feel like they are dragging on. For me, all of that more than makes up for the tiny convolutions and plot holes that you may find throughout.
What I thought didn’t work for the film was that it almost pushed the point where the gore is just too much for the average moviegoer to handle. Honestly, I’m torn about whether or not this is a flaw; it works for those who enjoy horror movies and have a higher tolerance for films of the genre, but for the people who only watch these types of films occasionally they might find the gore too disturbing to be able to concentrate on the plot. However, to be fair, at this point when you go to a Saw movie in theatres you should know what you are getting yourself into — if you can’t handle it and still subject yourself to it that’s no one’s fault but your own!
What I hope for in the next film (because there will be a next film, folks!) is that in continues on with the creativity that Jigsaw had, and that it continues to take chances and really think outside of the box. One thing I would particularly like to see is a memorable character from the films prior to make a return — I think it would definitely add a bit of flavour to the plot and it would be a nice little throwback for fans of the original films. What’s Leigh Whannell up to these days?
Overall, I rate this film an 8.5 out of 10. It was enjoyable in the same way that the previous ones were with the constant question of “Who is the killer?!”, the acting was brilliant, the gore was realistic, the traps were creative, and of course – it had just enough Tobin Bell (but I will always ask for more ). I would definitely argue that this is a must-watch for fans of the franchise and I excitedly await the next one! I say keep ‘em coming, because I will never stop going to them!
Chantel Rolufs (aka Chaney Dreadful) – is one creepy ghoul hailing from a small city in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is a regular podcast voice frequenting on the podcasts, with the first being Dead as Hell Horror Podcast, and as well the likes of The Resurrection of Zombie 7, Land of the Creeps and Whedonverse Podcast. For years she has brought her focus towards the written review, posting occasionally on her Tumblr blog and recently moving to her new website dreadfulreviews.com — where she posts weekly reviews discussing movies, comic books, and horror-themed merchandise. You can read her review of House of Frankenstein (1944) here.