• Jigsaw



    Released by: Lionsgate Entertainment
    Released on: January 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
    Cast: Hannah Anderson, Laura Vandervoort, Mandela Van Peebles, Tobin Bell, Brittany Allen, Matt Passmore
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    2017’s Jigsaw, the first saw movie since 2010’s Saw 3D, opens with a scene where a criminal named Edgar Munsen (Josiah Black) is cornered by police on a rooftop. He’s holding a trigger of some sort in his hand, they assume a detonation device. He calls for Detective Halloran (Callum Keith Rennie), it seems they have a past. Halloran shows up but when Munsen reaches for the trigger, muttering about how this will start something and how he doesn’t want to die, he’s shot not just in the hand but the chest as well. Munsen winds up in the hospital, Halloran is more or less left confused by all of this.

    From there we see five people with ‘buckets’ over their heads chained to a wall. The chains are able to pull them towards some circular saw blades that are coming out of the other side of the room. The recorded voice of John Kramer (Tobin Bell), the notorious ‘Jigsaw Killer,’ tells them that not only do they have to confess to survive but they have to make a blood sacrifice too. Four of the five manage to make it out of the room, the fifth person does not.

    From here, Halloran and fellow detective Keith Hunt (Clé Bennett) are called in to investigate a body found in a park with a bucket welded to its head. They enlist the aid of forensics workers Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) and Eleanor Bonneville (Hannah Emily Anderson). As they examine the body they find evidence that points to Kramer’s return – which would seem impossible, as he was killed ten years ago. Soon enough, a second body from Jigsaw’s latest game, a woman named Carly (Brittany Allen), shows up, the victim of a nasty acid injection.

    With three people left to play ‘the game’ - Anna (Laura Vandervoort), Ryan (Paul Braunstein) and Mitch (Mandela Van Peebles) – Halloran and Hunt do their best to figure out if Jigsaw really has come back or not and if so… how.

    Removed enough to work as a stand-alone entry but simultaneously very much connected to the films that came before it, Jigsaw manages to do some wonky things with the series’ timeline but still tell a decent enough story. granted, if you’re not a fan of the series this latest entry isn’t going to win you over. While it’s fair to say that the movie features a few decent twists, some very creative kill scenes and some genuinely impressive gore effects it still very much adheres to the ‘Saw formula’ in every way you’d expect it to. It also suffers from some of the same flaws as the earlier films – the characters aren’t as well written as they should have been, and there are some fairly massive logic gaps that can be a little hard to swallow.

    Still, this is a decent enough sequel sure to appease the series’ fan base. Those murder set pieces – they’re impressive in their depravity, the various traps that Jigsaw has come up with this time around are pretty gonzo. There’s a lot of nice practical effects work here that makes these specific sequences work rather well.

    But again, it’s a Saw movie. You kind of know where a lot of it is going before you get there, at least in terms of the ‘games’ that we see. A few subplots do a decent job of keeping us guessing about what’s really going on here, but any of the thrills we get out of the film are no more than surface level. At ninety-two minutes it feels overly long, which is not a good thing, and there are times where things feel padded, if not flat out bloated. While hardly a disaster, the end result is that Jigsaw winds up feeling like nothing more than ‘just another Saw movie.’ How much you’ll get out of it will depend entirely on how much you’ve enjoyed what came before. Directors Michael and Peter Spierig don’t reinvent the wheel here at all, but they do give fans of the series pretty much what they’d want out of another run through John Karmer’s twisted world.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Jigsaw arrives on UHD in an HEVC/H.265 encoded 4k/2160p transfer from Lionsgate that includes both HDR and Dolby Vision treatment and it looks fantastic. Framed at 2.40.1 widescreen, the image shows excellent fine detail throughout – it’s frequently very impressive - even in the film’s many dreary and dark interior scenes. Stubble on a character’s face, a bit of rust on a trap piece, the paint flaking off of a certain puppet ‘character’ – it’s all here to take in, the enhanced resolution really showing off both the cinematography and the design work in the picture. Skin tones look nice and natural, black levels are superb and color reproduction is spot on. There’s really strong depth to the picture, it pops in the way that a great UHD image should, and there’s loads of texture here too. As this was shot digitally there’s obviously no grain, dirt or debris to discuss – the image is spotless.

    Audio options are offered up in English Dolby Atmos, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 51 Surround Sound, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo ‘Optimized For Late-Night Listening’ and in an English Descriptive Audio option. Removable subtitles are provided in English SDH and Spanish.

    The Atmos mix on this disc is strong, particularly when there’s action involved or during the scenes where the traps kick into high gear. There’s plenty of surround activity here and the rear channels are used quite well throughout the movie. Bass response is quite powerful but thankfully it doesn’t overpower the performers. The score sounds crystal clear and there’s impressive accuracy in the effects placement. Dialogue remains consistently clean, clear and easy to follow.

    Extras begin with an audio commentary with producers Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Peter Block. They talk about how and why the Saw franchise was brought back after a fairly lengthy hiatus, tying this latest entry into what came before, the importance of having Tobin Bell back onboard, working with Lionsgate, their thoughts on the Spierig brothers’ directing, the script and plenty more.

    Additionally, the disc includes a seven-part feature length documentary entitled I Speak For The Dead: The Legacy Of Jigsaw that clocks in at eighty-two minutes in length. This is a ridiculously in-depth look at what went into making the film that is made up of newly shot interviews as well as interviews and behind the scenes footage capturing during the making of the film. As we see all of this play out we get a feel for what the filmmakers were trying to do to differentiate this entry from the earlier chapters in the Saw saga, the complexity of the effects feature in the picture, the sets and locations used for the shoot, what the different cast members brought to the project and loads more.

    Last but not least, there’s a six-and-a-half-minute long piece called The Choice Is Yours: Exploring The Props which is just what it sounds like – a brief but interesting look at what went into creating some of the more memorable traps and props that play such a big part this picture. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    This release also includes a standard Blu-ray disc featuring the same extras as are found on the UHD disc, as well as an insert card for a digital HD version of the movie. Both discs fit inside a black keepcase that in turn fits inside a cardboard slipcover.

    The Final Word:

    Jigsaw isn’t going to win over those who aren’t already fans of the franchise but those who do dig the Saw series should appreciate what the Spierig brothers have done with this latest entry. As to the disc itself, the presentation is top notch. Lionsgate has given this release a gorgeous transfer, impressive audio and a pretty nice selection of supplements as well.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray (not UHD) screen caps!