It's October and there's a new Saw film coming out?! Pinch me because I must be dreaming. This used to be a Halloween tradition for me through High School and College and that all came to a screeching halt with Saw: The Final Chapter. They ended the series on such a sour note that I felt there was no way the series would be coming back, unless it was through a full blown reboot. Well I guess they proved me wrong.
If you're coming into this expecting me to avoid spoilers then turn back now.
Seriously, don't read any further.
I'm about to spoil the shit out of some Jigsaw.
Okay, I warned you.
First of all, I was just happy to be in theaters watching another Saw movie. It was cool to relive that feeling. My palms were sweaty and my leg bounced with anticipation. It was finally time for another Saw. But unfortunately nothing really lived up to my sky high expectations.
I really love this series and the trailer had me pumped. I thought we were getting the kind of film that would properly reboot the series, while also paying homage to the many films that came before it. Instead we're left with a hackneyed attempted at such a thing. Fuck, that made it seem like I didn't like it. I did. I just felt it could have done better.
The writing is mostly what I have an issue with. While the twist helped to stifle some of the issues I had, that wasn't entirely the case. There was a lot that just sort of felt circumstantial and actually escapable. I liked the change of scenery to the barn but it made it so much harder to see them as being unable to escape. When there was cement and rusty old pipes, it was implied they were underground, or off in some warehouse somewhere. You're not breaking through metal and concrete. But wood? They could have 100% gotten out of there.
Then there's just a lot of silly stuff happening. Like how does Jigsaw know that Martin (I think that's the black guys name) is going to get caught in that trap and not someone else? Same with the guy that got his leg fucked up too. Everything was far too reliant on strange circumstance. I wasn't a fan. It really took me out of it, which sucked because Saw is definitely a series where you place yourself in the characters shoes. I know I wouldn't be able to get out of 95% of the traps in the series but this movie? I could escape them all. Literally every single one. It's like the writers didn't even try.
While some of the traps were cool, they mostly felt lazy. There wasn't much impact and we were mostly just left with the aftermath of them. Even the spiral saw, which seemed like it was going to be the film's coup de grace, ended up being a simple quick cut to the carnage. That's not Saw. Saw is trying to make you cringe. They didn't even create much tension with the guy hanging down. It just sort of happened.
I gotta say though, it was all worth it for that final trap. Holy shit did that look fucking crazy. Part of me wonders if they held off on showing too much in order to greaten the final blow. It's disappointing that Callum won't be back for another movie because I've loved him since Battlestar Galactica and was really hoping he'd be the new Jigsaw but that would have just been too obvious, wouldn't it? Still his death was amazing and may have been the best of the entire series.
I should say that I really think this movie is going to be better on repeat viewings. Finding out the film is half prequel is something that I think is going to greatly benefit another watch. A lot of the annoyances I had with the characters came with their ignorance to Jigsaw and how to play his games, yet it wasn't nearly as annoying once the twist happened.
And boy what a twist. Kinda.
I was pumped when John Kramer showed up in the flesh. That was my favorite moment because seeing Tobin Bell back in the role of Jigsaw is an absolute fucking treat. I liked that he could actually watch the Game happen in real time and affect the game, rather than just have everything be predetermined. But the whole "I ran this game twice" part of the twist was just fucking silly. And by silly I mean really fucking stupid. The new Jigsaw is fine but he didn't really seem to have much motivation to continue doing it. Seemed more like he was all about taking down his wife's killer and the Jigsaw things just happened to work as a means to an end.
Either way, I enjoyed what I saw and think it'll get better the next time I watch it. I think some of my character annoyances won't be nearly as prevalent and I'll enjoy it more. As of now, it's a decent entry in the series and an okay starting point for a new continuation.