‘Jigsaw’ Fails To Recapture Gory Delight Of Original Franchise

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Old habits die hard, and so do horror movie icons.

Seven years after the release of the last entry into the “Saw” franchise, the horror series returned with “Jigsaw.”

But, as aesthetically sleek as the film is, the intrigue and wit of the original saga is lost among the bloodshed and torture.

The film opens on criminal Edgar Munson (Josiah Black) in a police chase that ends when Munson exclaims that if he doesn’t start a new “game” — Jigsaw’s twisted and sadistic torture sessions — he will die.

The police shoot Munson, a stray bullet putting him into a coma.

As Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) and his partner Detective Keith Hunt (Clé Bennett) try to determine
what Munson meant by “game,” a timer triggered by Munson activates an alarm that wakes a group of five
unlucky participants.

A recording left by John “Jigsaw” Kramer (Tobin Bell) tells the group they must confess their sins and offer blood to escape their first trap; otherwise, chains wrapped around their necks will pull them into rotating blades.

While the group tries to survive, Halloran’s situation becomes stranger when police find a body that appears to
have been mangled in Jigsaw’s trap.

An analysis of an audio chip hidden inside the man’s body matches Kramer’s voice, despite him being dead for 10 years.

Halloran becomes suspicious of pathologists Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) and Eleanor Bonneville (Hannah Emily Anderson) when he discovers that both share an obsession with the Jigsaw killer, with Bonneville building miniature Jigsaw-inspired traps.

While the actors in the movie perform well, they aren’t given much to work with, as many characters are simply crass and unlikable.

Rennie portrays Halloran with a typical gruff cop style, berating subordinates at every chance.

It’s a pretty one-note performance that doesn’t see much variation as the film progresses.

Anna (Laura Vandervoort), Mitch (Mandela Van Peebles), Carly (Brittany Allen) and Ryan (Paul Braunstein) make up the group of players in Jigsaw’s game.

Both Vandervoort and Braunstein seem right at home in the horror genre, and their performances reflect that —
Braunstein’s portrayal of Ryan is playful and entertaining to watch, bringing a nice balance of humor and horror to the film.

It’s just a shame that the source material doesn’t give them any real opportunity to shine.

Despite some characterization issues, the group works together relatively well, considering that past installments like “Saw II” pitted characters against one another.

There are occasional outbursts of anger and stupidity from Ryan, who causes issues for the group with his rash decisions.

This has been a consistent issue for the “Saw” series, where even simple riddles are not understood and idiotic
decisions by characters cause problems for the entire group.

With only Tobin Bell returning from the previous films, the creators challenged themselves with the difficult
task of creating entirely new characters interconnected in typical “Saw” fashion.

Overall, the film was more disappointing than horrible, as the characters could be fun and the mystery
of Kramer’s seemingly postmortem involvement in his own tortuous games was intriguing.

The film fails to deliver a strong ending for the interesting ideas it had, seemingly trying to recapture what the first film accomplished, but with too much happening.

“Jigsaw” is now playing at Cinemark Towne Centre in Conway, and is rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture.

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I am a Van Buren-ite who loves video games and movies. When I was younger I used to watch many movies repeatedly and read a lot, and started to see patterns in storytelling. I started making my own story a few years ago, and decided I could use writing through journalism to talk about things I think are important and help people.

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