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Saw X is the tenth and final instalment of the horror series.
Saw X (R18, 118 mins) Directed by Kevin Greutert ***½
REVIEW: I swear to god, if you walked into Saw X a few minutes late and missed the credits, you might seriously wonder if you had blundered into the wrong cinema and, instead of the gore and terror drenched R18 the poster was promising, you had instead sat down to watch a competent weepie about some elderly bloke heading into hospital in Mexico, looking for a desperate last chance to cure his terminal cancer.
Saw X is the tenth (well, duh) film in a sprawling franchise. The first film turned up in 2004 and immediately became a deserved late-night sensation, for wringing some industrial strength scares and the bleakest of comedy out of a budget that wouldn’t keep a Marvel or DC movie in coffee and teabags.
Creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell have spun that first film into a universe of interlinked sequels – and also carved out some serious careers for themselves, writing and helming many other projects.
The Saw films are notable for hardly ever being simple and direct follow-ups to each other. A Saw film might dive right back into the origins of the series and be set years before the events of the film that preceded it.
There are sequels, prequels and mid-quels littered across the series. But, most people will agree that the first three films are maybe the best, and that the quality has been, to put it kindly, a bit all-over-the-shop since.
Saw X does a lot to right the franchise by positioning itself as an untold chapter in the life of engineer and serial killer John Kramer – aka “Jigsaw”, set between the events of the first and second films.
Saw X screens in cinemas nationwide from September 28.
Which means that Kramer – who died in Saw 3 – and apprentice Amanda Young (ditto, but, it’s complicated) are back as the leads.
If you’re a fan of the series, then Saw X is probably the best instalment in a decade. Once the set-up is out of the way and Kramer can start to wreak his hideous retribution on the people who – spoiler – conned him into thinking they were cancer specialists, the film is inventive, solidly made and well-acted. Tobin Bell, who plays Jigsaw, is as reliably hypnotic and substantial as ever, in what could have been a one-note role.
After the first instalment, I stopped being a fan of Saw. But Saw X is a solid film. Bravo.
Saw X is in cinemas now
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