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Arguably the best film in the franchise since the very first – this prequel iteration of Saw actually does something unique.

Instead of rushing out generic 85-90 minutes worth of blood-splattering repetition, it actually takes it time to give a back story to the series’ main protagonist in Tobin Bell’s John ‘Jigsaw’ Kramer – as it’s set between the events of 2004’s original and Saw II.

In fact, it’s comfortably the most screen-time that Bell has received in any of the previous nine movies – as he puts in a noteworthy performance as the cancer-stricken ‘Jigsaw Killer’.

With only months to live, dying of an incurable brain tumour, Kramer gets a glimmer of hope via a radical new treatment from an underground ‘off the grid’ organisation located in Mexico City – led by the daughter of a renowned Norwegian surgeon, Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund).

But when it turns out the whole operation was a multi-million dollar scam, a distraught Kramer looks to exact revenge – with his own form of unique justice – on the devious Cecilia and her conniving staff.

With the help of his new assistant, Shawnee Smith’s Amanda Young (who actually died with him in the third film) the tried-and-tested formula of dastardly contraptions – putting potential victims in perilous traps to try and save their lives – that fans all know and love are all here and present.

Including some new innovations that die-hards will love. Cue ‘eye ball’ sucking machine.

And while this doesn’t reinvent the wheel for the franchise, it at least adds a layer of character enhancement not usually seen in the series.

For once, Saw actually fleshes out a story to become primarily a thriller, ahead of a horror. Which leaves it pretty-much gore free for the slow-burning first hour – which is a good or bad thing depending on your patience threshold/expectations – before the inevitable vengeance sets in.

Which definitely takes this towards the top of the upper echelons of the Saw pantheon on its film pyramid.

Whether this now ignites a series of prequel stories ‘in between’ the previous movies still remains to be seen.

But if they’re as competently noteworthy as this, then most fans would be game – as ‘X’ marks the spot for Jigsaw’s re-birth.

ESP Rating: 3/5

Gavin Miller

Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now

Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Synnove MaCody Lund, Renata Vaca, Joshua Okamoto, Steven Brand, Octavio Hinojosa, Paulette Hernandez, Jorge Briseno, Michael Beach & Costas Mandylor

Running Time: 1 Hr 58 Mins

Director: Kevin Greutert

Go to for all the latest film information & showtimes at Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema De Lux


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