Saw X Review
By Kevin Hoskinson
The Saw franchise is one that has seemingly done everything it can do with its premise. It quickly became about the traps and how each installment could outdo the next, with each one getting bloodier and more depraved. It’s hard for a franchise ten films in to find a fresh take that is unique and hasn’t been done before. Well, Saw X found a way to do something captivating and exciting while delivering everything we expect from the series.
Without getting into spoilers, the movie tells the John Kramer story in a way we have never experienced. While it constantly reminds you that it’s a Saw movie, the first 45 minutes or so play out as a drama about a man with no hope left. You feel for him, are on his side, and want him to survive. You still root for him even when you snap out of it and realize it’s a Saw movie and what he is capable of as Jigsaw. The journey to cure his cancer takes him to Mexico for an experimental procedure that costs a lot of money, but he’s desperate and out of options. He is taken advantage of at a certain point, and we are pulled into his world of twisted games to get back at those who wronged him.
This isn’t the type of Saw movie that immediately thrusts you into the dark and gritty environment it is known for. It takes its time and builds up to what we know is coming. There are breadcrumbs throughout (a trap here and there, Kramer working on schematics), but the real torture happens at the right time, right when we start to care about him. In that way, he becomes the movie’s protagonist, and you want him to get his revenge. Jigsaw isn’t even the scariest thing in this movie, and it’s an eerie reminder that the world is a messed up place.
With all that said, some of you might be thinking, “Why do I want to watch a Saw movie with a good story and barely any traps?” that is valid. To that, I say that you still get plenty of blood and gore to appease your appetite. While none rank super high in the pantheon of the franchise’s most famous traps, they still pack a punch. There’s one that sucks out your eyeballs that is terrifying. Since all the individuals involved worked in a medical setting, the traps reflect that brilliantly. Surgery and precision are the name of the game, and if you can handle that, good for you.
The film is well made with a passionate group of people working behind the scenes. Tobin Bell performs excellently, and Shawnee Smith is great as the returning character Amanda. It’s weird to say for a series that has been going on for almost twenty years, but the tenth Saw movie is one of the best. The first one still holds a special place in my heart (especially being the feature directorial debut of James Wan), and it’s my favorite, but this is right behind that one. If you are a franchise fan or are interested in it, you certainly need to check it out.