There was a time when you could count on a new Saw film every Halloween, before the franchise wrapped in 2010 and Paranormal Activity sequels took over the annual fixture.
Now, after a seven year hiatus, the serial killer known as Jigsaw is back along with his diabolical death traps and sinister tricycle-riding puppet – despite having died in Saw III, been autopsied in Saw IV, and with Saw 3D being ‘The Final Chapter’.
But as any horror fan knows, you can’t keep a popular movie maniac down, especially when there are more box office dollars to be made.
A group of strangers chained up in a barn are forced to navigate a deadly new game in order to atone for their sins – an M.O. that points impossibly to the decade-dead Jigsaw killer, aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell).
Those savvy with Saw lore will know that Jigsaw has his acolytes, and the puzzle here is who’s behind all the new slicing and dicing?
What’s more puzzling is reviving this franchise and then not bothering to do anything new and inventive with it. The plot throws up some interesting detours it could have taken, like a dark web site for Jigsaw devotees, but Jigsaw is not so much a reboot as just another sequel content to stick to the formula. Even the talented Spierig Brothers (Daybreakers, Predestination) can’t do much with the lazy screenplay (from the writers of Piranha 3D and Sorority Row, no less).
Jigsaw is like that ageing heavy metal band that doesn’t know when to quit making a comeback – the songs remain the same but are delivered with less enthusiasm. The traps have become rusty and uninspired, and even the gore is tame by this series’ standards (an R-rated DVD perhaps?). It’s not so much torture porn this time around, as torture yawn.
In cinemas: November 2, 2017
Starring: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Tobin Bell
Directed by: The Spierig Brothers