★★★½ of ★★★★★
As per the norm: gruesome punishments and crooked cops at least two steps behind.
Jigsaw, the eighth installment of the ongoing Saw franchise, brings audiences the same old cruel-death-by-contraptions that it always does despite the repackaged title. There’s nothing new here, but that’s not to say there has to be; the formula has gotten them this far – that is to say, $453 million gross and counting. Odds are good that if you’ve been a fan to date, you’ll like this one well enough.
A gruesomely disfigured body is found dangling from a bridge in the park. The signature jigsaw piece-shaped chunk of flesh has been carved from the body and, instead of a mini-cassette, coroners find a thumb drive. The voice contained on the thumb drive matches that of John “Jigsaw” Kramer and, despite having been dead for over ten years, he wants to play a game.
The parts of the Saw films that always drag for me are the detective and coroner scenes where they try to piece together the location of the game. This is definitely where the dialogue is at its most clunky. This installment had a particularly painful bit of conversation between Detective Halloran and the forensic pathologist Eleanor that left me screaming “Report his creepy ass to HR!”
“What’s your story, sweetheart?”
“What are you asking, Detective?”
“You one of those, uh, kinky types? Like a little pain?”
“Why? You want to get punished?”
But, audiences don’t keep coming back for the sad attempts at cop procedural drama. We want to see some people suffer! The first trap contains five victims with buckets on their heads chained to a wall of circular saws. I’ve got to say, as a sick viewer, I liked where this was heading. Throughout the series of traps, our characters personalities, backgrounds, and deep dark sins are revealed. I felt like the traps allowed for longer disarming times than usual or maybe I’ve just become more impatient about seeing doled out punishments.
Jigsaw is competent, beating the dead horse as well as can be expected.It’s not going to be anyone’s favorite in the series, but it’s definitely worth the watch if Saw is your thing.