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Jigsaw Movie Review: Not Even Torture Porn Can Save This Film Franchise From Deadly Dullness

Jigsaw regurgitates the same premise of unlikable people being tortured to death while learning life lessons in their death throes, even as equally unpleasant police officials try to unravel different mysteries, all of which have the same thread.

Shantanu David | News18.com

Updated:May 4, 2018, 1:53 PM IST
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Jigsaw Movie Review: Not Even Torture Porn Can Save This Film Franchise From Deadly Dullness
A still from the film (Image courtesy: YouTube)
Cast: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie
Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig

Early on in Jigsaw, in the very first death-trap in fact, the victims/players are being dragged from their necks, which are collared and leashed with heavy metal chains, towards a wall fitted with whirring electric saws, ready to end their suffering, as well as their lives. While four of the victims scream and rant and struggle and strain to get free, the fifth guy stumbles and falls down, dazed, allowing himself to be dragged to the saws, without protest; there's a brief shriek and then he's literally in pieces. It's not pretty. It also serves as a great analogy for the relationship between audiences and the Saw franchise, with the inert, non-protesting dragee being us and the buzzing saws being, well, ‘Saw’ movies.

Look, no one is saying that the original Saw wasn't a good horror flick. It totally was: heavy on thrills, gory, tautly written, and atmospheric, with engaging characters and a terrific twist ending. Even its initial sequels (Saw II and Saw III) were pretty watchable for horror film fans. Jigsaw is the EIGHTH film in the franchise and yes, its acid reflux is palpable.

Jigsaw regurgitates the same premise of unlikable people being tortured until they learn life lessons, while in their death throes, even as equally unpleasant police officials try to unravel the different mysteries, all of which have the same thread. Lest you say this is getting too graphic, allow me to remind you that this is an article on a movie franchise that spawned the contemporary torture-porn genre (apart from Italy’s Mondo cinema efforts).

But even the makers of Jigsaw seem bored of torture-porn, given the film’s lazy script, poor performances, and clunky music. The last is an especially sore point, given that the success of any horror film lies majorly in its soundscape (2012’s Sinister being a fantastic example of how a horror movie’s sound delivery can affect its reception by audiences). Alas then, Jigsaw has no discernible musical score, instead borrowing heavily from the theme of Saw and random “scary sounds”.

Still want to know what the film was about? Fine.

Jigsaw’s been dead for 10 years (allegedly) but suddenly there’s a new game afoot. Five apparent strangers wake up in the aforementioned death trap, wherein they’re told they have to confess their sins and play a sadistic game, or suffer gruesome torture and subsequent death, in the abandoned farmstead in which they’re imprisoned. Meanwhile, a misogynistic detective with a distinct rapey vibe, and his token black partner are trying to pin the murders on a forensic pathologist, Logan, and his female assistant, the latter being a prime suspect because she’s a goth with a lot of tattoos. Yes, she also has a major Jigsaw obsession, but as she so originally points out in the film: "A girl needs a hobby." Anyway, it’s a trope that’s been done to death (pun unintended).

Given that the script seems to have been written on a tissue paper during a long night in a dive bar (“Jigsaw is back” being the central plot line), it’s no surprise that the actors don’t even seem to care that they’re in a film, delivering their lines either deadpan, sleazy or scared, which the Saw franchise clearly sees as the entire gamut of human emotions. Also, the death traps are just plain dumb this time around.

Basically, what I'm saying is that the only scary thing about Jigsaw is that they're planning to make a sequel.

Rating: 1.5/5

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