For better or worse, Jigsaw is just another Saw sequel. It’s got the same elaborate traps, the same convoluted twist – that simultaneously ‘plays fair’ while making no sense when you think about it for two seconds – the same bifurcated narrative split between torture and cops investigating said torture.
On the ‘better’ side of the ledger, Aussie directors the Spierig brothers do a good job with the material. They ditch the sickly green industrial aesthetic (a holdover from the first film’s tiny budget). They don’t take things too seriously; there are plenty of moments that are so laugh-out-loud silly that they have to be in on the joke. And it’s good to see Tobin Bell back as “Jigsaw”, though I won’t spoil how, exactly, that happens. On the whole, it’s about on par with Saw V and Saw VI in terms of quality – fine but unmemorable.
I can’t help but be disappointed that Jigsaw isn’t more ambitious, though. A decade later, there’s no necessity to stick to established formula; all that’s really mandated is a twist and some torture. By committing to the unnecessarily complicated mythology and contradictory morality within a familiar formula, Jigsaw fails to justify its existence beyond profitability.