This entry to the controversial “Saw” series, ironically, breathes new life into the franchise.
The movie follows the notorious serial killer, John “Jigsaw ‘’ Kramer (Tobin Bell), to Mexico for a new cancer treatment.
The film has a perfect combination of fanfare and casual viewer content. It keeps the most fun aspects of the series: the wild editing, the quick cuts and gut wrenching sounds that combine for a visceral reaction that puts you in the shoes of Jigsaw’s victims.
The performances from the cast tie the movie together. Bell manages to humanize Jigsaw without allowing you to forget that he’s a bloodthirsty killer. Fan favorite Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), Jigsaw’s apprentice, makes a comeback as well. Smith plays into Amanda’s insanity and sensitivity perfectly.
Amanda’s relationship with Jigsaw is also portrayed in a very nuanced way; their twisted father-daughter relationship is a real high point.
Dr. Cecilia Pederson (Synnøve Macody Lund), a conniving cancer researcher, gives us one of the most well written women in the franchise. She’s not portrayed as a one dimensional damsel in distress, but is instead the leader of the group with sharp wit. You swing between sympathy and anger, keeping you on your toes.
The last act of the film is jaw dropping and maintains the tradition of twists and turns in a way I didn’t see coming, leaving the viewer confused but satisfied.
When that theme song kicks in, you’re about to be in for a mind-bending treat.
Mel Treat is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo
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