Full disclosure: I've never been a fan of the Saw movies. In fact, I haven't seen all of them. I know I did see the first two and thought they were pretty crappy. After that it gets fuzzy. I had seen bits and pieces of the endless parade of sequels on cable. So it comes as a surprise to me that I found the eight installment of this series, Jigsaw, to be somewhat watchable.
Chewed up dead bodies begin to pile up and the angry Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie) wants answers. The murders seem like the handy work of John Kramer (Tobin Bell), the original Jigsaw Killer who has been dead for ten years. Is it a copycat? Perhaps former soldier turned coroner Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) and his foxy assistant, Eleanor (Hannah Emily Anderson), can solve the mystery.
We are also treated to a group of five people chained up in an abandoned farmhouse and are forced to play Jigsaw's “games” which usually end in death from a mechanized device that slices and dices.
Like the previous Saw films, or in my case – the first two that I had seen in full, Jigsaw relies on your total suspension of disbelief because the killer seems to be in two places at once, knows when and where to plant fake evidence, and can psychically predict every move his victims will make. It's like the killer had read the screenplay.
But the makers of Jigsaw seem to know that this is all totally ridiculous. The film is directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, filmmakers known for schlock like Daybreakers (2009) and Undead (2003), so they know that this material is absurd, but they also know to take it seriously enough to pull the viewer in. Despite the fact that the filmmakers cheat by the misdirection of time and place through editing, this tale of revenge against the depraved has a gleeful EC Comics feel to it and is a mildly amusing, if very gory, time killer.