Wednesday, October 30, 2019

JIGSAW (2017) Blu-ray Review

Scare-A-Thon Totals to Date:

Total Movies Watched: 28
Total First Time Views: 14
Amount raised for AMAZON WATCH: $2,317.28

Jigsaw (2017) d. Michael Spierig / Peter Spierig (USA) (92 min) (1st viewing)

John Kramer, better known as the infamous “Jigsaw Killer,” has been dead for ten years. So who is responsible for the bodies suddenly start turning up around the city bearing his signature disfiguring in the shape of a puzzle piece? The list of suspects is growing, extending to include the medical examiner in the case (Matt Passmore), his Jigsaw-obsessed assistant (Hannah Emily Anderson), the lead investigator (Callum Keith Rennie), his partner (Cle Bennett), and the comatose thug in the hospital bed (Josiah Black). And, of course, the Game Master himself, John Kramer (Tobin Bell), who unequivocally expired in Saw III and was graphically vivisected in Saw IV, but if you can’t keep a good man down, you certainly can’t count him out.

I know that I, for one, was not asking for another Saw sequel. When 2010’s Saw 3D finally brought the series to an end, I breathed an enormous sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to trot myself out to the multiplex again for another glorious round of gratuitous torture and padded storytelling. I’m not sure who the target audience was for a franchise that has been dormant for seven years, but the writing team of Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (Piranha 3D, Sorority Row) were inspired (or more likely recruited) to pump new blood into the old beast and so here we are again.

The most impressive thing about the Saw movies is that unlike most other franchises, there is a continuous story arc, one that had to be expanded from a trilogy to a septology on the fly after Saw III made a bucketload of cash back in 2006. While the actual plot of the four installments that followed barely amounted to a feature-length offering, writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (Feast, The Collector) managed to create enough puff and stuff to (barely) maintain viewer interest, and I've always expressed grudging respect for that.

So, with another chapter in the adventures of Jigsaw is upon us, I have to admit that, once again, I’m impressed at Stolberg and Goldfinger’s ingenuity at reviving our raspy-voiced moralizing antagonist to lay his infamous traps anew. It also works well enough as a standalone feature, i.e. there’s no need to go back and review the previous goings-on to make sense of it all, and you get exactly what you came to a Saw flick for.

In addition to the central mystery, there are plenty of hateful characters, hysterical screaming, graphic scenes of mutilation, and oodles of relatively clever misdirection set to Charlie Clouser’s driving musical score, perhaps the last great horror theme since 28 Days Later. The direction from the Spierig Brothers (Undead, Daybreakers) is efficiently engaging, the capable performances from the photogenic cast serve the turn, and it all mercifully concludes in less than 90 minutes (minus credits).

I can’t say I really missed Jigsaw and his little bike-riding puppet. But for those who did, this film exists and it doesn’t suck. Watch or Don’t: The choice is yours.


Audio commentary with producers Mark Burg, Oren Koules, and Peter Block

The Choice is Yours: Exploring the Props

Jigsaw is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Lion’s Gate and can be found at most major retail platforms.


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