Jigsaw ★★★

An unglamorous end to my rewatch, but still a decent way to go out.

With a year of distance from Jigsaw, I can give up my defensiveness and admit that this barely resembles a Saw film. The script isn’t exactly a masterwork, but the direction is so lifeless and impersonally glossy that the film just lacks the fundamental manic energy of a Saw film. This feels like any other random studio horror film, one that wants to be scary but also demands to be taken seriously in a way that benefits no one.

John Kramer’s character assassination here is truly bizarre, multiple lines of dialogue (“he was my nephew” made me cackle) and actions taken feeling completely untrue to the original series. Still, the traps were engaging, the gore was solid, and the final act really brings it home. The twist works on paper and in execution, and it’s just campy enough that I can have fun with it while still feeling the stakes. Even in the worst moments of this, Jigsaw’s name still gives me something to be excited about. I love Saw, even when there’s not much to love about it.

New favorite detail: A doctor mislabeling critical x-rays being referred to as “an honest mistake.”

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