For its 10th instalment, it’s fair to say this one will surprise you. It comes with all the expected gore and games but with a hint of humility, heart and a little bit of the feels.
Director: Kevin Greutert
Writers: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger
Editing: Kevin Greutert
John Kramer is at a crossroads mentally with his battle with cancer. He is following through with the treatments despite being given only months to live. And while it exhausts him, he continues. It’s by a chance meeting John crosses paths with a fellow cancer battler, Michael, who seems to be a lot perkier, all things considered.
It turns out Michael has undergone some experimental treatment, which has completely cured him; motivated by the news, John contacts the company providing the therapy and attends a hidden Mexican site to undergo surgery. Meeting a fellow patient who also survived and is thriving, John embraces the experience and takes a liking to Gabriela, whose home it is John’s staying at prior to the surgery.
In a show of appreciation, John returns to Gabriella’s house to gift her some Tequila. Only to find the house has been abandoned and the screen John thought he was seeing the live surgery on, was, in actual fact, a DVD and had nothing to do with John’s surgery. Removing the bandages, it turns out there were no incisions, not even his hair shaved where it would have happened.
Naturally, John sees this as an act that requires his unique skills to teach them a lesson and goes about creating his famous Jigsaw contraptions with the help of Amanda Young.
The Owner of the cancer-curing technology, the Dr, the Nurse and the fake patient all find themselves in a situation that requires them to sacrifice a part of themselves to survive. Against the clock, they drop one by one until the tables are turned, and John and Amanda find themselves part of the traps John designed.
There’s no denying the storyline is very similar to the nine other films that have come before it. Someone with questionable morals is put to the test in a Jigsaw trap and must find themselves without a body part to survive. That’s if they survive the removal or within the allotted time. What this film does a little differently is with the addition of some humility.
John takes a liking to Gabriella, and all the while, she is part of the trap. He still debates whether she should be there or not. Amanda constantly asks John if this is something that needs to be done. There is an element if they are doing it for the greater good, or not.
There is also the ending where John has included the son of the grounds caretaker as part of the game. John sees the boy’s innocence, and even in the trap, the boy shows compassion towards John. John rewards that innocence and kindness—something unexpected and, at the same time, curious. The introduction of humility to the Saw franchise begs the question of what will come of it.
Visually, there are plenty of moments you’ll need to look away for those with a squeamish stomach. The camera doesn’t hold back, showing you exactly what’s happening, from the intestine being pulled out to a leg being cut off. But it’s the editing that plays with you. After the gore becomes too much and you look away, you find yourself glancing back to see the shot has changed, and you can start watching it again. But as quickly as that happens, the editing has you intimate with a suction device removing bone marrow from a freshly cut leg.
Saw X has everything you’ve come to expect from the Saw franchise. It does feel like they are trying something new with this curious humility element. It works for a small part, like when Amanda confirms this is what John wants. But overall, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Maybe this is for future instalments to build on.