Director(s): The Spierig Brothers
Cast: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett
Release Date: January 23, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
In the latest terrifying installment of the legendary SAW series, law enforcement find itself chasing the ghost of a man dead for over a decade, embroiled in a diabolical new game that’s only just begun. Has John Kramer, the infamous Jigsaw Killer, returned from the dead to commit a series of murders and remind the world to be grateful for the gift of life? Or is this a trap set by a different killer with designs of their own?
The eighth installment in the infamous ‘Saw’ franchise; ‘Jigsaw’ returns viewers to the world of twisted games surrounding legendary serial killer John Kramer, aka Jigsaw (Bell). Approximately a decade after the death of Kramer, a string of bodies begin appearing throughout town each bearing his trademark sign and other disturbing connections to the long believed dead mastermind. Now a group of law enforcement agents must race against time in order to uncover the truth behind these mysterious killings before more lives are lost; while meanwhile five strangers find themselves thrust into a deadly game that appears as if it can only be the handiwork of the legend himself.
Directed this time around by the talented filmmaking duo of Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig, best known as The Spierig Brothers (Daybreakers, Predestination) from a screenplay written by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (Piranha 3D), The Spierig Brothers do a pretty fantastic job at the helm of ‘Jigsaw’ swiftly capturing the tone and essence of the franchise with ease. The film also includes a cast comprised primarily of newcomers to the franchise with the exception of Tobin Bell who once again reprises the infamous role of Jigsaw. The cast for the latest entry includes Matt Passmore (TV’s The Glades), Callum Keith Rennie (TV’s The Man In The High Castle), Clé Bennett (Heroes Reborn), Hannah Emily Anderson (TV’s Shoot The Messenger), Laura Vandervoort (TV’s Bitten), Paul Braunstein (The Thing 2011), Mandela Van Peebles (We The Party) and more, the majority providing fitting and capable enough performances in each of their respective roles for the most part, although a few do come across as a bit over the top at times.
After a brief respite following seven installments over the course of seven consecutive years, ‘Jigsaw’ returns fans to the ‘Saw’ franchise with plenty of bloody carnage, notable new traps and a compelling and relatively well constructed mystery at its core that should have no trouble grabbing the attention of the fellow ‘Saw’ lovers out there; in addition to a tone and intensity that does a pretty great job capturing that of the previous seven films. Some aspects of the storyline seem a bit ludicrous at times as some new elements are revealed which may cause certain diehard fans to question their plausibility throughout the previous seven entries. While some parts of the plot may be a bit tough to place within the overall scope of the entire franchise, the clever twists, notable gore and other positive elements that perfectly capture the essence of ‘Saw’ help tremendously and allow some of the sillier or less believable gripes to be largely forgiven. Particularly the film’s ability to confuse viewers once things start to be revealed which was one of the most wonderful aspects of the original and something so many subsequent entries tried and failed to successfully replicate. Even if ‘Jigsaw’ doesn’t accomplish this task as flawlessly as the original, it certainly does a far more commendable job of it than many of the sequels managed to. As a whole it’s a pretty solid entry that is more than worthy of the franchise and superior to at least a few of the previous sequels; capably guided along its tense and grisly course by the talented filmmaking duo The Spierig Brothers. Fellow hardcore fans of the ‘Saw’ franchise will definitely want to make a point of checking out ‘Jigsaw’ whenever you can find the chance, it’s a well crafted and blood soaked ride with a solid mystery to boot that most fellow fans should thoroughly enjoy.
Overall, ‘Jigsaw’ is a solid addition to ‘Saw’ franchise, providing plenty of the gory insanity, new traps and twisted turns that fellow fans of the series have come to expect, while also serving up one of the better mystery elements in some time that even while nowhere on the level of the original’s mind blowing reveal is nonetheless quite capably done and manages to keep the viewer guessing for a good while. It may not be one of the very best entries in the infamous horror franchise but it’s easily far superior to at least a few of the previous sequels and captures the overall tone and traits of its predecessors remarkably well. ‘Jigsaw’ is definitely recommended, especially for fellow hardcore fans of the ‘Saw’ franchise who won’t want to even consider missing out on this overall worthy addition to the series that offers up nearly all of the disturbing goods that us fans had hoped for with a competent mystery and storyline to adequately compliment it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Jigsaw’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The first film in the series to be shot in a Cinemascope ratio altogether if I’m not mistaken, the video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and smooth presentation from start to finish with no noticeable faults to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a terrific high definition video presentation that delivers in every way and should easily please the fellow fans of the franchise.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack compliments the film perfectly and delivers a crisp, clean and often truly aggressive audio presentation throughout. Constantly taking advantage of all seven available channels in order to send music, screams, whirring machinery and plenty more regularly whipping throughout the various speakers, and never causing any dialogue other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds consistently wonderful and contributes a great deal of additional fun and tension to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Jigsaw’ includes a couple of noteworthy extras that fans of the franchise should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Producers Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Peter Block’, in addition to a multi-part Behind the Scenes Documentary ‘I Speak For The Dead: The Legacy Of Jigsaw‘ (running approximately 82 minutes in length) which intricately explores bringing the eighth installment to life and features interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. Also included is a Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘The Choice Is Yours: Exploring the Props’ (running approximately 6 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Jigsaw’ Arrives Home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD January 23, 2018 & is Now Available to Own on Digital from Twisted Pictures & Lionsgate Home Entertainment