Saw X is the tenth instalment in this popular franchise. It fits (somewhat inelegantly) between Saw (2004) and Saw II (2005). They make some effort to make it feel like the mid-2000s (flip phones!), but I can’t say I was particularly persuaded. It features the return of John Kramer / Jigsaw, played by Tobin Bell, who features heavily in the first two sequels and whose shadow looms over the whole franchise. Saw X eases into the violence, outside of a particularly nasty scene early on, but once things kick into gear it gets vicious. Fans of the franchise should be pleased with how Saw X plays out.
My favourite moments in the franchise are those featuring John Kramer, whether he’s inviting someone to play a game, justifying his philosophy, or revealing a twist, and Saw X gives us this in spades. An older Tobin Bell does a great job reprising his role. As an aside, they did such a good job making it look like he was in death’s door in earlier instalments (like Saw III) that his aging isn’t too jarring. Saw X has some of the franchise’s more entertaining victims. I’m hesitant to talk too much about what goes on, as the twists and turns are half the fun; however, I will say that Synnøve Macody Lund brings an energy that I really enjoyed.
Now, for what people want, the traps. I’m sure many people were as intrigued (and disturbed) as I was when they saw the poster for Saw X. I am pleased to report that the traps are suitably visceral and bloody, oh so bloody. There were a couple that had me fidgeting in my seat. The gore is top notch; I would say this is one of the bloodiest of outings for Mr Kramer.
The Saw franchise has had a particular style since it burst onto the scene with the first movie. It used a specific colour palette, there were ‘interesting’ editing choices, and a penchant for zooming on plot relevant items as well as flashback montages of relevant plot points. Suffice to say, I was not a big fan of any of it. I’m pleased to report that Saw X takes a modern approach to their implementation. It still looks, feels and sounds like a Saw movie, but it suits my sensibilities. Hopefully it suits yours as well.
Saw X is worth seeing in a cinema. You will be rewarded with a generous serve of graphic violence, a wonderfully familiar score and, if you’re lucky, a loud and engaged crowd. My screening had laughs, gasps and even cheers. I had a great time despite only being a modest Saw fan.