★★★ While it won’t convert those of you that don’t have the stomach for this franchise, Jigsaw injects some dark humour into proceedings, and hardcore fans will be pleased that the gruesome traps remain as nasty as ever.
Bursting onto the scene back in 2004 and launching the careers of James Wan and Leigh Whannell,, Saw was entrenched with Halloween for seven movies and almost $1 billion at the global box office. After a seven-year rest, Jigsaw was unleashed in cinemas late last year and is now yours to own on Home Entertainment.
Ten years after the death of John Krammer (Tobin Bell) a string of murders that have all the hallmarks of the Jigsaw killer are consuming the city and has left police detectives baffled. Is it a copycat killer? Is John Krammer alive despite having his brain removed five movies ago?
Directors Michael and Peter Spierig were the mad, brilliant minds behind Predestination and fun vampire flick Daybreakers. Their fondness for dark humour remains intact with Jigsaw, but injecting new life into a tired franchise proves a challenge they can’t overcome. I loved the first Saw, gritty, pitch black dark, and bursting with innovative ideas. The subsequent sequels steadily replaced smart storytelling with gruesome traps, but never lost its power to shock. Jigsaw has a more difficult task than any of its predecessors, horror movies have become more sophisticated (well, some), and torture porn has played out. On that basis, the Spierig Brothers have done a solid job of reintroducing modern audiences to the mythology with a greatest hits tour of what worked best throughout the franchise.
Jigsaw works best if you ignore the majority of the sequels as rather than forging a new path, the story is frustratingly tied to the past and only further muddles an already convoluted timeline. On the upside, Jigsaw managed a modest $102 million worldwide against a $10 million production budget, so a sequel is still very much a possibility.
Jigsaw is out now on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD Digital.