Jigsaw: A new direction for an old franchise that’s been failing the mystery genre
I think it goes without saying that the Saw movies are definitely an acquired taste. It probably also goes without saying that over the years, the series has developed more into torture porn rather than actual horror. In Hollywood though, the only thing that really matters are the numbers and numbers suggest there is an audience out there for these kinds of movies.
With seven films, the Saw franchise has raked in nearly $874 million worldwide, all on a budget of approximately $67 million. And to think, the first one was shot on a low budget in a run-down warehouse, over the span of just 18 days.
Jigsaw, the eighth film in the franchise, seems to be all about the greatest hits. Chainsaws, pitchforks, knives, syringes, tape-recorders and an array of death-traps, are all back and put to gruesome use. Also returning is the titular character and the franchise’s iconic big bad, Jigsaw.
The latest film picks up nearly a decade after the events of the prequel and focuses on the story of a mysterious madman who rounds his victims to play sadistic games of life and death. After much investigation, the police narrow down their suspects to one name – John Kramer, more commonly known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for 10 years.
The trailer begins with screams that shift into these piercing devil red eyes – it sets up the premise for the fear that is to come. Those piercing red eyes stay with you until the end of the trailer. There are glimpses of Jigsaw’s horrid games where people are chained and dragged around. All this gore takes place while the police try to figure out how the serial killer is someone who has been dead for 10 years.
There are instances of light humour displayed in the trailer that provide the viewers a breather from the carnage. The two-minute preview captures the true essence of Saw movies – a slasher-horror movie that will creep out even the most desensitised viewer.
With a new cast, a new duo of directors, and possibly an attempt to meddle with some fresh new ideas, Jigsaw feels like a new direction for an old franchise that has been trying and failing to foray into the mystery genre for quite some time now.
The violence and gore that it’s famous for is still there, according to co-director Michael Spierig, but the film is also less vicious than previous entries and the filmmakers have expressed a genuine desire to inject some fun into the film and adopt a more meta approach to the story.
I think this new approach will do the series some good as many people, myself included, have often shied away from it simply because of the grotesqueness and extremity of the gore. And the fact that they’re trying to go meta with the story seems very much in the vain of Wes Craven’s Scream, which adopted a similar meta approach towards slasher-flicks and did so quite successfully.
Let us just hope the viewers can stomach it.
Jigsaw hits US cinemas on October 27th this year. As of yet, it does not have a confirmed release date in Pakistan.
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