Jiggy’s back after nearly a decade, and absolutely nothing has changed. John “The Jigsaw Killer” Kramer (Tobin Bell) has hand-selected another cohort of interchangeable sinners—the only vaguely recognizable performer is Laura Vandervoort, aka Supergirl from “Smallville,” who still might slip by due to her now darkened tresses—to put through his Rube Goldberg torture devices. While the players in Jigsaw’s game avoid spinning saw blades, falling knives and a brand-new meat-grinder device, Callum Keith Rennie’s dirty detective Halloran and bland medical examiner Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) each suspect the other of restarting the late Kramer’s game of moralistic murder.
The Spierig Brothers (Undead, Daylight and Predestination) revive James Wan and Leigh Whannel’s franchise but do little to remodel its plot and twists. Anyone familiar with the series will have no trouble solving the whodunit or predicting its reveals. Passmore leaves less than an impression, but at least he’s not Costas Mandylor, whose toxic Hoffman tainted Saws IV–VII. Only Hannah Emily Anderson’s redheaded pathologist proves a potential killer or red herring remotely worth remembering.
The Spierigs add nothing new to the franchise mythology worth building on in a ninth entry and cherry pick most of their ideas from earlier Saws. The booby-trapped farmhouse calls back to the unfairly maligned Saw II; the final ankle-chained decision could be from the first, groundbreaking entry; the twists have all been done before. Despite its derivative nature and way-too-bright TV lighting, Jigsaw is a mid-tier Saw, ahead of all the sequels from the post-Darren Lynn Bousman era. If nothing else, Jigsaw’s corpse FX are exceptional.
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