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Jigsaw Review

"I'm sure you're all wondering why you're here. You deny culpability no doubt for the circumstances in which you find yourselves. Salvation can be yours. An offering of blood will set you free. I want to play a game..." -  John Kramer

Did you ever have one of those moments when you hear that a film has been greenlit, is in production and you kind of inwardly sigh, because things were just fine as they were?

Yeah – that’s pretty much how I felt when I heard that Jigsaw was announced.

It’s not that I didn’t like the Saw series, quite the opposite. I’ve seen them all. I’ve seen them all more than once. The last time I attended a screening of one of the instalments was in the very multiplex I watched Jigsaw, and it was Saw VII in 3D. The last time I watched all of them in their order was on DVD with my daughter – and it was only then that I noticed how ingeniously and intricately the films follow each other, making a cohesive and satisfying seven movie story arc. Truly an achievement.

The torture traps that Jigsaw’s victims were subjected to were sometimes hard to watch. The one that got to me the most was the buzz saw that sliced through in between the fingers of the victim’s hand as they reached for the release key. Damn, that’s nasty.

But as cast members were introduced, killed, others popping up unexpectedly in later and yet others playing a more pivotal role than you imagined originally, the whole enterprise became more than simple torture porn, with the intention being to push the boundaries of what could be achieved with physical make up effects. And all loose ends were neatly tied up by the last reel of the final film.

So why make another?

Well, the story goes that the producers couldn’t resist the pitch made by the writers and thus here we go. At least the decision seems based more on creativity than the almighty dollar.

So, the film begins with a rooftop chase of a suspect by an overzealous cop, who wounds his target, but not before the suspect triggers a mechanism. Obviously a Jigsaw mechanism. Meanwhile, five victims with buckets on their heads are being dragged towards buzz saws (always a favourite in these films) by steel chain nooses. The game they have to play is that they have to shed some blood and confess to their sins – or whatever transgressions Jigsaw has found them guilty of and is punishing them for.

But, hold on just a cotton pickin’ second…… isn’t Jigsaw dead? Wasn’t the fact that he was dying the whole motive for the series of films?

Confused yet? I was – especially when Jigsaw turns up in person and chooses an apprentice for his nefarious revenge plans.

In a long, convoluted, gory plot (though, it must be said, not as gory as some of the previous films have been) it becomes apparent that what we’re watching is actually a prequel, and it feeds in to the first Saw movie, answering a question (perhaps the ONLY question) that remained unresolved. That is, the identity of a body, already dead, in the basement location. I have to admit, it IS really very well thought out and very well made. It fits into the overall continuity – but if watch before seeing the original series, the surprise and twist of why Jigsaw is carrying out his twisted scheme will be completely gone.

So, my conclusion on this one is that the seven films prior to this one form a more or less perfect ongoing narrative, slotting into each other seamlessly. This prequel is pretty unnecessary.

You could say that the Jigsaw now has one piece too many.

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