JIG­SAW

Pasatiempo - - MOVING IMAGES - (Robert Ker)

Five peo­ple wake up in a mys­te­ri­ous room chained to a wall full of spin­ning blades. Such a grisly start to a film can only mean one thing: After a seven-year ab­sence, the Saw fran­chise is back. Don’t ex­pect the break to have changed the formula: This re­turn, cen­tered vaguely on the vil­lain Jig­saw ( Tobin Bell), finds th­ese vic­tims forced to make sac­ri­fices of (lit­er­ally) life and limb in or­der to save them­selves. The tor­ture se­quences, which on oc­ca­sion of­fer com­pelling moral quan­daries, are not the worst parts, how­ever. That dis­tinc­tion would ap­ply to the scenes in which the po­lice at­tempt to cap­ture Jig­saw. With the film’s crude stag­ing, di­a­logue out of Law and Or­der’s waste bin, and a lazy mys­tery, the grue­some tor­ture can feel like a re­prieve. Jig­saw is not even slightly scary; the main emo­tional re­ac­tions it evokes are bore­dom and, ul­ti­mately, de­pres­sion. Rated R. 91 min­utes. Regal Sta­dium 14.

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