Saw sequel’s recipe too thin to sustain
‘‘Anyone who has seen the previous Saw films will know what to expect.’’
JIGSAW (R18, 92MINS) DIRECTED BY MICHAEL AND PETER SPIERIG
‘‘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 predecessors, 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
Anyone who has seen any of the previous Saw films will, somewhat depressingly, know what to expect from Jigsaw.