Review of ‘Saw X’: A Surprisingly Touching Bloodbath

Saw X

The latest installment in the Saw franchise, ‘Saw X,’ brings a refreshing twist to the familiar gore-filled narrative. It stands out not for surpassing its predecessors, but for its unique style and substance that demand attention.

This film offers both thrills and a nostalgic dive into the Saw universe, filling in backstory gaps you didn’t even know existed. Positioned between the first and third movies, ‘Saw X’ builds on established relationships that set the stage for previous traps and surprises. In an unexpected turn, it portrays the notorious Jigsaw/John Kramer (Tobin Bell) not just as the antagonist, but also as an unlikely hero in a story that blends elements of a cancer drama with vigilantism through graphic torture scenes.

Acknowledging the complexity of a heroic Jigsaw, the film embraces this contradiction rather than attempting to reconcile it. ‘Saw X’ provides an unapologetic cinematic experience, ensuring viewers won’t leave with mixed feelings. Whether it engrosses you or prompts unexpected laughter, or ideally both, this latest entry caters to Saw enthusiasts.

Exploring the Plot of Saw X

‘Saw X’ diverges significantly from its predecessors, a testament to director Kevin Greutert’s deep understanding of the franchise. Having been involved since the inception, Greutert guides the film’s evolution from a confined escape room premise to a sprawling narrative driven by interconnected flashbacks. This time, what could have been a mere flashback in a linear sequel is transformed into a standalone narrative. The film opens not with a gruesome trap, but with a vulnerable moment as Jigsaw contemplates his mortality during a CT scan.

While the film offers a signature self-mutilation game, it does so with restraint in the first 45 minutes, immersing viewers in Jigsaw’s perspective. ‘Saw X’ takes us through a pivotal period in Kramer’s life, as he grapples with the acceptance of his impending demise due to brain cancer. Desperate for more time, he embarks on an experimental surgery in Mexico, led by Dr. Cecilia Pederson and a group of fellow patients. It’s a journey that ultimately leads to unforeseen consequences.

With a renewed lease on life, it seems Kramer might be ready to leave his dark past behind. A poignant scene on a park bench beautifully symbolizes this transformation, though in true Saw fashion, things are destined to take a dark turn.

Balancing Old and New

‘Saw X’ maintains the franchise’s signature visual style, yet with a noticeable refinement in color grading. From cold, sterile hospital scenes to the warmth and hope found on the outskirts of Mexico City, the film’s palette evolves with the narrative. As the games commence, the colors intensify, heightening the tension.

While the film’s structure and narrative perspective mark a departure from the typical Saw formula, it skillfully weaves in familiar elements and callbacks for devoted fans. ‘Saw X’ delves into Amanda’s character arc with unexpected empathy, shedding light on her descent into envy and ego. Additionally, it revisits key imagery from the first film, offering a fresh perspective on Jigsaw’s mission.

The film tackles the series’ perplexing ethical code, exploring the complexities of Jigsaw’s brand of justice. What if there were a more malevolent force deserving of Jigsaw’s methods, but not his twisted sense of righteousness? Or worse, what if an innocent became entangled in his sadistic games? These moral quandaries lead to some of the series’ most captivating moments, culminating in a trap that blends dark humor with audacious sentimentality—a quintessential moment in ‘Saw X.’

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