By Travis J. Klemann
The popular gore-infused horror franchise from the early 2000's keeps on ticking despite the demise of its infamous protagonist, John Kramer, a decade prior according to the story's ever-changing timeline. Australian directors The Spierig Brothers (Michael & Peter) expertly construct the eighth installment of the morality-based splatter film series which keeps your pulse racing for the entirety of its 92 minute duration.
Like previous SAW movies, the story alternates between a group of people with shady pasts enduring elaborate death traps and the ongoing investigation around the discovery of dead bodies led by Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) which fit the modus operandi of the Jigsaw killer. As John Kramer died ten years ago, it's believed that the recent victims were the work of a copycat. Halloran suspects forensic pathologists Logan (Matt Passmore) and Eleanor (Hannah Emily Anderson) based upon interactions with them in the morgue.
Four of the five remaining scared snared strangers are identified simply as Anna, Ryan, Mitch and Carly during their ordeal within the confines of a rustic barn. Little is told of their past until closer to the finale of the torturous tale. Throughout their experience, the captives are instructed to confess to sinful actions from their past.
Moments before the story's climax, Halloran followed Logan and Eleanor to the scene of the gruesome murders where the copycat is fully revealed. In classic SAW form, plot twists unfold and key elements of the past are exposed due to flashbacks of another apprentice assisting John Kramer (Tobin Bell) long before his eventual death.
If you're a fan of the SAW franchise or someone who appreciates interesting twist endings, I suggest you rent or buy Jigsaw very soon.
3/5 Stars - Recommended
PS: Hopefully this film is intended to introduce a new apprentice to the franchise which we will see more of in the future, perhaps working along with a certain doctor that's been there since the beginning.