Why drag the Jigsaw 2017 franchise back now? The screamingly obvious answer is sheer cash-grab cynicism. Or perhaps it’s to cater to the generation of kids who’ve grown up riding the Saw-themed roller coaster at Thorpe Park. Either way, it’s depressing.
Say this for the Saw series of self-mutilating slasher pictures: They get right to it. Most of them open with a victim or victims waking up in a signature horrifically violent trap—no stalking or backstory until later, if at all—and proceed straight into parallel narratives involving a gauntlet of survival traps set for those victims and the hard-bitten cops trying to pause the carnage. Even the theme music is identifiable within three notes—the most recognizable in modern horror, at least among people who bother to see Saws. Jigsaw, the eighth installment and first after a lengthy break, breaks out the staccato dun-dun-duns during the opening logo roll.
Seven years have passed since Saw 3D called itself the final chapter, but in the Saw-verse, it’s been a full decade since the so-called Jigsaw Killer, also known as cancer-ridden and morality obsessed John Kramer (Tobin Bell), made himself known and subsequently died, Jigsaw 2017 Movie back in Saw III. Bell has continued to pop into the sequels through flashbacks and vocal contributions, and sure enough that’s his hoarse old voice hectoring another group of groggy, angry, terrified victims. Among the unlucky people chosen to atone for their alleged sins are levelheaded Anna (Laura Vandervoort), loudmouthed Ryan (Paul Braunstein), blandly competent Mitch (Mandela Van Peebles) and squirrelly Carly (Brittany Allen).
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