The first reviews for ‘Jigsaw’ are in.
And it’s not looking good.
Jigsaw is back, apparently, in the latest ‘Saw’ sequel. But long-time fans will know that something’s not quite right. After all, we saw John Kramer (the original Jigsaw) die during the events of ‘Saw III’.
But with a string of new murders, the body parts are flying in true Jigsaw-style. Has the infamous killer returned to wreak havoc once more? The police aren’t entirely convinced.
And the critics aren’t sold on it, either.
Currently, ‘Jigsaw’ has scored a mediocre 44% over at Rotten Tomatoes, based on 16 reviews. Sure, it’s still done better than some recent offerings *cough* ‘The Snowman’ *cough*
But that’s not saying much.
Here’s our round-up of the worst ‘Jigsaw’ reviews:
The Guardian – Cath Clarke
“Tobin Bell’s pious pain-merchant is dredged back up for Halloween in a limb-lopping retread that restores a welcome simplicity but reeks of an easy payday,” says The Guardian. “To their credit, brothers Michael and Peter Spierig – joint directors and newcomers to the franchise – have reset Saw to factory settings, mostly dispensing with the self-involved franchise mythology and nonsensical, convoluted plotting that bogged down the later films. They stick with the core Saw values of zero laughs, one-dimensional characterisation, bland acting and a ta-da twist at the end.”
“Jigsaw feels somewhat tamer than earlier Saw films, its serrated edges less sharp. Or perhaps some us watching have developed thicker-skins, and seeing a human head sliced like a pizza by lasers just doesn’t have the effect it used to.”
“Why drag the 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.”
Forbes – Scott Mendelson
“Jigsaw is another low point in a horror franchise that should have stayed dead after the surprisingly terrific Saw VI,” says Forbes. “Sure, it’s a kick hearing that theme music again, the picture quickly folds into just being another generic Saw film, but lacking the gritty texture and often goofy characters that have helped make this continuity-drenched franchise such a quirky kick.”
“It even lacks the grotesquely offensive imagery and over-the-top action that made the otherwise awful Saw 3D vaguely watchable for fans. While it is a sequel to the prior seven pictures, it is stand-alone enough that you don’t need to have seen the prior installments. Of course, if this is your first Saw movie, I can’t imagine you wanting to check out the prior installments.”
“Jigsaw is a boring sequel which offers no new commentary or context for its franchise.”
The Wrap – Kyle Turner
“Seven years later, the horror franchise offers nothing new,” says The Wrap. “The scares, the traps, the philosophy and the gore all feel familiar and played-out.”
“Jigsaw, the torture porn icon infamous for subjecting those he deems bad or not knowing the true worth of a life, makes his comeback with an eponymous film that wishes it could be as thoughtful, slick, or as good at slaying as, say, Beyoncé. He’s up to his old tricks again, even though he’s been dead for a decade, and by old tricks, I mean old-and-musty.”
“It’s somewhat shocking that, more than half a decade later, the ‘Saw’ series still struggles to deliver thrills without tangling itself up in a plot that doesn’t seem to care about any of its thematic concepts beyond a very surface understanding of them.”
“It’s more of the same sequel stuff that anyone even partially familiar with John Kramer’s filmic progeny will recognize: cross-cutting between five people stuck in one of Jigsaw’s elaborate games, being diced up one by one like a splatter-happy Agatha Christie; a police investigation into the victims of the game by corrupt police officer Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) and Logan (Matt Passmore), a coroner with PTSD; and a hunt to save the players before their corpses indicate ‘game over’.”
“That ‘Jigsaw’ returns to this formula is not the bad thing; it’s that none of it is very interesting.”
The Hollywood Reporter – Frank Scheck
“‘How are you still alive?’ a character screams to the titular villain in Jigsaw, the eighth installment of the hugely successful horror franchise. The answer, of course is obvious. He’s still alive because there’s money to be made.”
“By the time two characters are threatened with the possibility of being buried alive in a grain silo, you get the feeling that Jigsaw is running out of inspiration,” explains THR. “Even the hidden crimes they’ve committed, to which they have a habit of confessing under the right sadistic circumstances, are more mundane than usual for the series.”
“Considering the long amount of time since the last installment, you’d think that more effort would have been put into creatively reviving the franchise. But Jigsaw just seems rote and mechanical, with long stretches of its running time feeling like a police procedural or CSI spinoff.”
“Genre fans will be satisfied by the copious amounts of gore on display, with the viscera looking particularly impressive when blown up to Imax film proportions.”
Variety – Owen Glieberman
“The ‘Saw’ series returns after seven years with a sequel that delivers the gross-out goods in a garishly rote been-there-dismembered-that way,” says Variety.
“After seven movies’ worth of heart-in-the-throat horror (yes, I mean that literally), does this series even have a pulse?”
“The last time we checked, at the end of ‘Saw 3D’ (2010), the seventh and ‘final’ chapter of the series, Jigsaw was most definitely dead (he had cancer). This means that ‘Jigsaw’, the first ‘Saw’ film since then, has two key questions to answer: How, if at all, did its maniac mascot survive? (Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.) And is there any body part left for the franchise to mangle in a new way? Of course there isn’t! But in the eyes of a true ‘Saw’ fan, does it matter?”
“The ‘Saw’ genre was originally dubbed ‘torture porn’. But at this point a more accurate description might just be ‘overkill’.”
‘Jigsaw’ stars Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, Hannah Emily Anderson, Matt Passmore, Laura Vandervoort, and Paul Braunstein.
Michael and Peter Spierig directed the movie, based on a script by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg.
‘Jigsaw’ is in cinemas across the UK from 26 October 2017.