The Saw franchise, notorious for its mind-bending traps and twisted morality, is back with Saw X, a semi-prequel that finds its place snugly between the first and second films. Directed by Kevin Greutert and crafted by writers Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, this chapter promises a fresh, albeit macabre, spin on the series.
We’re thrown back into the twisted world of John Kramer, and who better to lead us than the brilliant Tobin Bell? His return is a real treat, a silver lining to the franchise that had to say goodbye to him way too soon. Bell isn’t just back; he’s delving deeper, giving us more layers to John Kramer than we’ve seen before. Saw X takes a slightly more cinematic route, allowing us a peek behind the curtain. Instead of just the menacing voice behind a tape recorder and the architect of deadly traps, we see a closer look at the mastermind. Bell nails it, adding more shades to his character and making the whole journey a heck of a lot more interesting.
Now, every Saw film has its twisted turns, and Saw X is no exception. Kramer’s quest for a cure leads him to Dr. Cecilia Pederson (Synnøve Macody Lund) and a groundbreaking, experimental cancer treatment in Mexico City. But as we all know, in the world of Saw, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. And boy, does this journey have its share of bumps (and blades) along the way.
The supporting cast in Saw X shine, each bringing a unique duality to their roles. From the energetic taxi driver Diego (Joshua Okamoto), to the gracious hostess Gabriela (Renata Vaca), and the totally-real nurse Valentina (Paulette Hernández), their performances are versatile and ripe with conviction …especially once the traps get turned on. Yet, it’s Shawnee Smith’s portrayal of Amanda Young that notably stands out. Her character’s evolution, hinting at her future significance, reveals a series of internal battles and moral ambiguities.
A unique dynamic in Saw X is the more visible presence of John and Amanda. Unlike previous films whereJigsaw lurked in the shadows, here he’s very much in the foreground. However, with most of the game’s mechanics being automated, the duo often find themselves with little to do. This leads to some peculiar moments where, despite Jigsaw’s proximity and a perfectly functional intercom, it’s Billy the Puppet who ends up delivering his messages. One can’t help but chuckle at the sheer theatrics of it all.
But let’s talk traps. They’re the bread and butter of the Saw franchise, and Saw X doesn’t disappoint. These early contraptions, while less intricate (but understandable in the timeline of it all), pack a visceral punch. The rawness of these challenges, from the bone marrow extraction to the harrowing radiation exposure, will have even the most hardened horror fans squirming.
“The rawness of [the traps] will have even the most hardened horror fans squirming.”
Dr. Cecilia Pederson’s character arc in Saw X is a complex one. Initially introduced as a potential savior with her experimental treatments, her character takes a darker turn as the story unfolds. The film positions Dr. Pederson as a villain, transitioning from a scam artist to displaying a pronounced sadistic streak by the finale. This transformation, while serving the narrative’s twist, can feel somewhat abrupt, leaving viewers with mixed feelings about its execution.
In Saw X, there’s a noticeable shift in how John Kramer is portrayed. Set against Dr. Pederson’s escalating villainy, the film tries to recast Kramer in a more heroic mold. This portrayal, which paints him as an honorable vigilante, might feel jarring, especially for those deeply familiar with the series’ trajectory, and body count.
To sum it up, Saw X is a rollercoaster of a film. It has its highs and lows, but it undeniably carves out its own niche within the Saw saga. Tobin Bell delivers a tour-de-force performance, and the ensemble cast, spearheaded by Shawnee Smith, is on point. It might not be the crown jewel of the franchise, but it’s a solid outing. If you’re in for a mix of gore, thrills, and ethical conundrums, Saw X is your ticket.
[Review] SAW X is a Gruesome Game of Scams and Schemes
Saw X is a rollercoaster of a film. It has its highs and lows, but it undeniably carves out its own niche within the Saw saga. Tobin Bell delivers a tour-de-force performance, and the ensemble cast, spearheaded by Shawnee Smith, is on point. It might not be the crown jewel of the franchise, but it's a solid outing. If you're in for a mix of gore, thrills, and ethical conundrums, Saw X is your ticket.
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