After seven movies in the Saw franchise, one had to question how Twisted Pictures was going to continue a series destined to produce more sequels than Friday the 13th. The first film was a treat — a psychological murder mystery with gruesome acts of torture. A mad vigilante who enjoys torture porn with deadly social experiments. It was fair enough that you could have seen all the clues and solved the mystery before the big reveal. Sequels were quickly commissioned and while John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw, died at the end of the third movie, the formula started to get old very quick. By the fourth or fifth movie, it was difficult to navigate all the recurring characters who were inspired to be the next copycat killer. Convoluted continuity can be a problem to anyone but the devout follower and the movie trailer for Jigsaw suggested this film was going to avoid that pitfall. The only amusement to the sequels was not the elaborate death-traps, but rather how the writers could plausibly continue the series without stretching the premise too far.
With Jigsaw, the franchise receives a fresh reboot and thankfully does not require the viewers to recall any of the characters from the first seven movies… except John Kramer. Five human guinea pigs are subjected to brutal acts of mutilation, each with an opportunity to repent for their sins and walk away with a clean conscience. Like many of the prior entries, there are enough suspects, frame-ups, and finger-pointing to lead the viewer astray from the solution to the mystery, which is unraveled at the end… and a quick flash of the clues seen earlier in the movie — but not before the gruesome mutilation of multiple victims.
The Saw franchise is a perfect example of what defines a slasher film. But if people getting needles jabbed into the spine, legs cut into multiple pieces, blood spilling from the ear canal as a result of acid, and broken bones is your cup of tea, then you will be pleased to know that this eighth movie in the series (technically first in a new series of Jigsaw movies) will be worth a Halloween treat.
Critics will no doubt compare this film to the prior seven and confess the formula has gotten so repetitive and predictable that they wished for time better spent than watching Jigsaw, and one has to briefly pause and wonder if fanboys would prefer to stay at home and binge-watch the latest season of Netflix’s Stranger Things (which premieres this weekend). But with a $10 million budget (all of the movies in the franchise maintained low budgets), there can be no doubt Twisted Pictures will make a satisfactory profit on opening weekend. Which leads me to this prediction: love it or leave it, there can be no doubt that Jigsaw sequels are in the works.