The SAW franchise has always held a special place in my heart; it was the first movie of its kind that completely and utterly mindfucked the ever living shit out of me. I left the theater after the original Saw film ended and my brain was melting out of my head; I didn't see the epic ending coming. The years that followed saw more and more films from the franchise, and while the story may have gotten a bit messy at times, the traps were always worth the watch. By the end of 2010, seven films were released and the story finally came together and seemingly put the franchise to rest. But seven years later, Saw returns under the fresh name JIGSAW, and with it comes a whole new set of traps, a whole new set of characters, and the return of that classic mindfuck Saw I left me with way back in 2004.
Without giving too much away, the story is pretty much what you would expect; there are a series of murders occurring that all bare the classic "puzzle piece" mark that the "Jigsaw killer" John Kramer notoriously left on many of his victims. Only problem is John Kramer has been dead for ten years. While investigating the murders and trying to determine who the copycat killer is, the investigators find themselves helplessly playing into the brutally violent tests of one's will to survive. As fingers begin to point around the room, a few brave souls travel into the world of Jigsaw to get to the bottom of the murders.
Simply put, you either love the SAW movies or you don't. And quite honestly, Jigsaw is not going to change your already formed opinion of the films. If you ARE a fan of the franchise, Jigsaw is an absolute treat of a movie that does a great job at bringing the Jigsaw killer stories back to life. When the movie was first announced and the trailers were leaked, I was worried Jigsaw was going to just be your typical Hollywood cash grab, looking to make a buck off of a well known franchise. I'm beyond stoked to report that Jigsaw definitely doesn't feel like a cheap cash grab, and that it is actually way better than I expected it to be. The story is not at all cheesy or a bad attempt at reviving a "dead" storyline; believe it or not, Jigsaw's story was incredibly well written and the ties between the previous films and this one were great. The traps - notorious for their bloodshed, brutality and even cleverness - were, as always, a wild roller coaster of action as the timer ticks down and the "victims" struggle to decide just how much a life is worth. The traps in Jigsaw are not my favorite from the Saw movies - by far - but they are gruesome in their own right and actually do enough justice for this film that they are definitely worth watching for. As for the characters in Jigsaw, there is a pretty great group of new faces in the movie; both "victims" and investigators. The two forensic pathologists in particular - Logan and Eleanor - make a totally badass duo and I found myself actually caring about their lives and involvement in the case.
Jigsaw is not anything ground breaking or inventive; it fits the standard that the other Saw films created over the years. That's not to say it's not a good film - it's actually pretty damn good, but you have to be able to appreciate the style of movie that the Saw movies are to be able to enjoy Jigsaw. Simply put, if you liked the previous seven films, you're going to love this fresh take on the sick mind of the Jigsaw killer. If these movies have always been a "pass" for you - maybe skip this one, there's a good chance you won't be able to appreciate it enjoy Jigsaw. And if you're just going into it for the gore, I'm happy to report - as always - that there's plenty of it and its totally brutal. Here's to hoping this is the beginning of the next chapter of Jigsaw.