Saw se­quel’s recipe too thin to sus­tain

The Leader (Tasman) - - GARDENING -

Any­one who has seen any of the pre­vi­ous Saw films will, some­what de­press­ingly, know what to ex­pect from Jig­saw. ‘‘Any­one who has seen the pre­vi­ous Saw films will know what to ex­pect.’’


‘‘This is not go­ing to end well – lunch?’’

Well, at least dogged, if de­cid­edly dodgy de­tec­tive

Hal­lo­ran (Cal­lum Keith Ren­nie) gets it half right. This ex­huma­tion of the long-dor­mant noughties Hal­loween sta­ple nei­ther starts nor ends well, but you cer­tainly won’t have worked up an ap­petite.

That’s be­cause like its seven suc­ces­sors, this lat­est in­stal­ment of the hor­ror fran­chise of­fers up the usual diet of grue­some vi­su­als de­liv­ered with grim and grimy elan.

While thank­fully free of the ap­palling misog­yny and ex­ploita­tion that marred 2010’s Saw 3D, quite how the Aus­tralian cen­sors have seen fit to al­low 15 year olds to watch this with a par­ent is be­yond me – this is clearly R18 fare.

Saw new boys the Spierig broth­ers add a dash of style with some clever match-shots and a vis­ual style fa­mil­iar to any­one who has seen their im­pres­sive 2014 tricksy time-travel thriller Pre­des­ti­na­tion, or 2009 vam­pire flick Day­break­ers, but sad­dled with some ropey act­ing and pre­dictable plot­ting it feels like some­thing of a wasted ef­fort. Wes Craven’s New Night­mare this ain’t.

It’s now a decade since serial vig­i­lante John Kramer’s (Tobin Bell) death. How­ever, when a Ned Kelly-hel­meted body turns up hang­ing in a lo­cal park bear­ing all the hall­marks of his ‘‘Jig­saw Killer’’, po­lice be­gin to sus­pect a copy­cat.

Dark web sites in­di­cate sup­port for his style of jus­tice ex­ists, while in­struc­tions on how to make his trade­mark traps have been cir­cu­lat­ing for years. But with their only wit­ness in a coma, Hal­lo­ran and De­tec­tive Keith Hunt (Cle Bennett) must turn to coro­ners Lo­gan Nelson (Matt Pass­more) and Eleanore Bon­neville (Han­nah Emily An­der­son) for leads. How­ever, the an­swers they get are cer­tainly not the ones they were ex­pect­ing.

Look, fran­chise fans will no doubt get a kick out of a new crop of Heath Robin­son-es­que tor­ture de­vices and see­ing all the se­ries’ tropes present and cor­rect, but for the rest of us it re­ally is a thin gruel of ghoul­ish en­ter­tain­ment.

Any­one who has seen the pre­vi­ous Saw films will, some­what de­press­ingly, know what to ex­pect.

Dic­ta­phoned mes­sages?

Mod­ern tech­nol­ogy be damned. Slid­ing doors a go go? Present and cor­rect. Mar­i­onette on a bi­cy­cle? You betcha.

Nat­u­rally, Jig­saw also boasts Saw’s trade­mark killer twist, but this one feels slightly un­der­cooked and ham­pered by the fact that there re­ally are only so many char­ac­ters in our story. In the end, it all just feels like a par­tic­u­larly nasty episode of Law & Or­der or CSI .– James Croot

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