Jigsaw

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Up and at 'em!

We doubted that “Saw 3D,” the seventh and “final” chapter in the gruesome franchise, would be the last one (that it was the seventh we did not dispute), and our cynicism has paid off (again). Part eight, “Jigsaw” — now it’s named after the villain instead of his favorite weapon — isn’t what you’d call “necessary,” but it’s made with enthusiasm and ingenuity by twin directors Michael and Peter Spierig (“Predestination”), and it doesn’t reek of cash-grab sequel-itis. I suppose it helps that they waited seven years to make it.

We begin with hapless lowlife Edgar Munsen (Josiah Black) already having been forced to play one of Jigsaw’s fiendish “games,” the result of which is that Munsen is shot by police and five strangers wake up in a locked room, their own game evidently started by a remote control Munsen held. The five (soon four) have buckets over their heads and chains around their necks; the chains drag them toward buzzing circular saws embedded in the door; a voice that sounds very much like Jigsaw’s tells them he wants a “sacrifice of blood”; and so forth.

See all the Saws:

“Saw” (2004) B+
“Saw II” (2005) C
“Saw III” (2006) B-
“Saw IV” (2007) C-
“Saw V” (2008) D
“Saw VI” (2009) C
“Saw 3D” (2010) C-
“Jigsaw” (2017) B-

As usual, it doesn’t matter who these people are or what they’ve done to earn maybe-Jigsaw’s condemnation. Their characters are barely individualized beyond white guy (Paul Braunstein), black guy (Mandela Van Peebles), blonde (Brittany Allen), and redhead (Laura Vandervoort). The dialogue they speak (shout, mostly) certainly was not anyone’s top concern. Nonetheless, the personalized traps and games devised for them are clever enough to sustain the premise, and there’s something new at every turn as each small victory gets them out of one elaborate predicament and into the next. Writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (“Piranha”) understand the simple formula that

[Continue reading at Crooked Marquee.]

 

B- (1 hr., 31 min.; R, a lot of harsh profanity, a lot of strong violence and gore.)