As a writer at the blog HerCanberra I am lucky enough to be sent some pretty cool perks, but this Halloween, with my "resident horror expert" status, I was lucky enough to be sent on an exclusive media screening to the brand new Jigsaw movie.
The media screening was the first ever shown in Australia (so we got to see it first out of the whole country!) and was hosted by Limelight Cinemas in Canberra thanks to Studio Canal.
Now I only started watching the Saw series as part of my 31 Day Horror Movie Challenge throughout October, and by the time we had watched the first and second one, I realised that there was way too many Saw movies in total to watch within the challenge (lest it become the Saw Challenge). But the beautiful thing about going to see Jigsaw is that you don't have to have religiously watched all the other movies to know what was going on.
What Jigsaw is, is a reboot of the Saw franchise. Movie reboots are abounds lately because apparently unique stories are hard to find (hello, Cosmic Decay: Contamination anyone?) but going into Jigsaw you didn't actually mind that they lied to you in 2010 calling the last movie Saw: The Final Chapter, because the reboot itself was actually pretty good. Sure, it has remnants of the old movies to act a red herring and kick start this new Jigsaw franchise, but it actually handled the interweaving of old and new really well.
You do need to know the basics though. You need to know that an old, dying man named John Kramer is the original Jigsaw killer, and that through a series of deranged and grotesque "games" he teaches deadbeats sick and twisted life lessons. If you at least know that, you won't be too far behind.
The movie centers around a criminal investigation as bodies start turning up around the city, each one meeting a uniquely gruesome death that suggests the work of Jigsaw, aka John Kramer, aka a killer who has been dead for ten years. As the investigation proceeds and fingers are pointed towards those directly linked to the investigation, the truth begins to unravel - just as the body count starts to rise.
Starring relatively unknown acting veterans such as Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson and Laura Vandervoort, the acting is exactly what you would expect from interweaving a horror movie and a crime series. The games are as ingenious as ever, but not as disturbing as one would usually find in a horror movie, and while there is tension that builds during the games, the real grotesque parts are the after effects - the bodies in the morgue that get a lot of screen time.
Honestly, they really met the maximum quota for how long you can look at a half-decapitated head.
For a horror movie, it was more crime drama than I would prefer, but there was a twist at the very end of the movie that welded together the old series and this new reboot really well. This successful twist may not have been the most unique, and I am sure more avid movie plot spoilers could easily see it coming a mile away, but I thought it was at least a good mix that ended up making the movie more than what it appeared to be.
Jigsaw is definitely worth watching if you love horror movie reboots and thoroughly enjoyed the twisted games that are played during the original Saw series. I give it two and a half stars.
Jigsaw is in Australian cinemas everywhere on November 2nd.