There used to be a saying in the month of October. “If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw”. From 2004 to 2010, a new Saw movie was released every October. The first Saw film became an instant hit and launched James Wan into horror infamacy. With each film that passed, the quality seemed to dip but the money was still coming in strong. In 2010, Saw 3D was released and thought at the time to be the final Saw film.
In 2017, Jigsaw was released. Even though it did well financially, it did turn out to be one of the weakest installments in the franchise. In 2021, we got Spiral. A somewhat spinoff of the Saw franchise starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. An interesting concept for sure but this time there were diminishing returns and reviews once again were not good. It seemed that people were finally tired of Saw. Now, in 2023, we get Saw X. The tenth installment in the franchise and it honestly may be one of the biggest surprises of the year.
Saw X takes place between Saw 1 and Saw 2. The story shows John Kramer(Jigsaw) dying of cancer and it seems like it’s getting close to the end. He hears about a miraculous procedure in Mexico that could save him. When Jigsaw finds out he has been duped, he decides there are more games to play and people must be punished.
For a tenth film in a franchise, it is so refreshing how good this movie is in many different aspects. Tobin Bell as Jigsaw is truly the heart and soul of the Saw franchise. Even though he has been here and there throughout recent films, the lack of focus on him has been a mistake. This movie not only focuses on Tobin Bell but this is probably the most focus his character has ever had.
Shawnee Smith returns to the franchise as Amanda Young as well. She has been the best Jigsaw apprentice and bringing her and Tobin Bell back definitely gives fans what they want while still having a fresh story.
This is also one of the most emotionally well-written films of the franchise. The beginning of this film is almost a drama. We see the pain that Jigsaw has gone through and the hope he is filled with. The scenes are more slow-paced but they work so well on making you feel for a man who is a psychopath. When Jigsaw finds out he has been tricked, it hurts. You feel his pain and in a sick way, you want the people to pay for it.
When you see a Saw film, one of the most important things is the traps. It’s what most people talk about after watching a film. Recently the traps have been very lackluster. This movie has some of the most creative and innovative traps in quite such time.
The gore is also top-notch here. This is a nasty film in the best way possible. In other Saw sequels, the only thing audiences seemed to be waiting for was “When was the next trap coming up?” The traps are so good in this but they become even better with the added suspense from the script. We arent just waiting for the next trap because we are invested in Jigsaw and his story.
Saw X is a return to form that gives fans exactly what they want while still finding a way to remain fresh. Tobin Bell as Jigsaw brings a level of acting that lifts the material for sure and the focus on him is exactly what this franchise needed. The traps are great, the emotional beats work very well, and it is highly entertaining from beginning to end. This is by far one of the best Saw sequels ever made and for the first time in a long time, I am excited to see what comes next.