Jigsaw’s back and if you thought pig vats, shotgun carousels and reverse bear traps were bad, wait until you wrap your eyeballs (excuse the pun) around Saw X.
Set between Saw I and II, director Kevin Greutert’s blood-soaked plot follows murderous escape room extraordinaire John Kramer (Tobin Bell) as he ventures to Mexico in search of an experimental medical treatment he’s told can cure his terminal cancer.
As it turns out, the entire thing is a scam, sparking a twisted tale of revenge jam-packed with some of the goriest scenes in the franchise’s history, with one in particular pushing cinemagoers to their limits.
Just how twisted are we talking? Well, some people’s faces spent more time buried in jumpers than facing the screen. Make of that what you will.
But anyway, but to that eyeball pun. Saw fans will have no doubt noticed that in recent weeks a poster illustrating a particularly grim trap has been plastered across London buses.
Depicting a screaming man with two tubes affixed to his eyes, the image suggests one unfortunate subject finds themselves hooked up to a device that sucks out their eyeballs unless they complete one of Jigsaw’s grisly games before a timer expires.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, for all the sadists out there) said eyeball-sucking machine is one of Saw X’s more laid-back traps.
You see, before Kramer realizes that he and other terminally ill cancer patients have been defrauded while at their most vulnerable, he poignantly decides to shed Jigsaw – his serial killer alter ego – having himself been given another chance at life.
Alas, Kramer soon discovers the procedure was concocted by crash-grabbing con artists and claims vengeance via a whole new host of horrific traps that result in severed limbs and heads galore.
With a little help from old pals Amanda (reprised by Shawnee Smith) and Billy, the bike-riding ventriloquist puppet, Jigsaw delivers his most blood-curdling turn yet.
The flick’s aforementioned prize stomach-turning moment comes in the form of a contraption designed to decapitate the subject if they aren’t able to slice off their leg and drain marrow from their bloody stump quickly enough.
Sitting in the trap is Valentina (Paulette Hernandez) one of the crooks who helped swindle money out of Kramer.
What unfolds as Valentina desperately fights for her life might just be the most ‘what the f**k’ scene in Saw’s entire encyclopedia, which is really saying something.
Although a little long and – believe it or not – fluffy at points, Saw X finesses the existence of an introspective man behind all the blood and guts, no thanks to Bell’s killer performance and a relatively nuanced origin story of sorts.
Synnøve Macody Lund, who plays central villain Cecilia Pederson, is also deserving of a special shout-out, but there’s certainly no humanising a baddie of her proportions.
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