After the first UK premiere screenings of Saw X the embargo has been lifted and we can now bring you our thoughts on the tenth instalment of my favourite franchise. Here is our official Saw X review for you guys right here on Back to the Movies!
Hoping for a miraculous cure, John Kramer travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure, only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable.
Armed with a newfound purpose, the infamous serial killer uses deranged and ingenious traps to turn the tables on the con artists.
After rolling up at a fancy hotel for the basement screening of Saw X I was blown away to see the effort they had gone through for the event.
Laid before me were horror themed drinks, a photo-op area and even Jigsaw’s monitors where you could be on the Saw monitors yourself in your very own Saw trap experience.
Billy the puppet sat at the front of the stage before our screening began and instantly there was a queue forming to have a photo with the horror icon.
I believe it was a replica puppet as it looked nothing like the screen used doll you see in the movie but nevertheless the queue was long as influencers all clambered on Billy like he was the next Justin Bieber.
The photo ops scattered around the themed lobby included a Saw X backdrop with a wheel chair and a medical table packed full of all sorts of weird and wonderful equipment for sawing into ones brain.
Naturally being the little old man I am, I took a seat in my wheelchair whilst the others decided to torture me for a photo!
The excitement was building up to boiling point and after film critic Alan Jones introduced the movie to a whole audience of Saw fans it was time.
We popped our phones in little bags before the film started and with complimentary Saw X branded sick bags in hand, we let the games begin.
Saw X Review
Saw X is a film completely unlike anything that has been seen in the franchise before.
It’s crazy that even now ten films later the writers are still finding a way to create a unique storyline whilst fitting it in and around the franchise.
Saw X takes place between Saw 1 and 2 (Saw 1.5 if you will) and focuses on John looking for treatment for his cancer before being deceived and defrauded out of money for a treatment that isn’t real.
Let the games begin.
As John says himself it’s not retribution, it’s a reawakening. Just one of many incredible lines written by Josh Stohlberg in this powerhouse of a Saw masterpiece.
Saw X sheds light on John Kramer as a character and almost for a large portion of the opening 40 minutes of the movie shies away from being a horror movie.
The film opens itself up to a complete character profiling as we come to grips with what makes this horror icon tick.
Many people jump to the torture porn genre when labelling Saw and fail to see the intricate stories that are woven between the fibres that link them all together.
Saw X is a dissection of character as we explore John Kramer’s motives, beliefs and his own will to survive. A strong motto that he bestows on those he has chosen to rectify their past mistakes in very elaborate traps designed to hurt those within in whilst giving them a sense of reawakening, a second chance.
There’s an emotional depth and range to this movie that just hasn’t been possible in any other Saw film.
Newcomers to the franchise will be a little lost watching Saw X as their first movie. Be warned, if that’s you, this film just isn’t for you (just yet).
This film has been written with the fans in mind to the point where there are even dark comedic moments that would only resonate with diehard fans of the franchise.
Tone is a stark contrast from any other Saw movie or even the spinoffs including Jigsaw and Spiral. The colour palette’s feel like a Saw movie of old as we sit and witness John’s struggle and in a strange way almost connect with him on a deeper level.
The last time I connected to a ‘bad guy’ in a movie like this was Thanos in Infinity War. Yes, what they were doing was wrong but you could almost see why they were doing it and whilst it wasn’t entirely justified (in parts) for a split second or two you can see their motives and can almost understand (to a degree) why they are doing the things they do.
This sympathy or understanding you have for John is purely just a Tobin Bell acting masterclass. There’s not many people off the top of my head that I can think of that can go from sinister and genuinely terrifying to someone you feel sorry for.
At times John looks vulnerable and at unease with a certain predicament but in the next scene he’s a pillar of strength. It’s this contrast between good and evil, weak and strong and it’s absolutely captivating to watch Tobin’s range with utter admiration.
Traps are a big part of the Saw franchise and there are some really good traps in this particular instalment that fans will not be disappointed by. The eye trap is a key feature of all the movie artwork but funnily enough doesn’t feature the way you think it may in the movie (no spoilers here) which is a shame.
I feel as though the traps in Saw X whilst good are similar to others that have come before them (to a degree). There are only so many ways you can torture someone with mechanical devices so of course you’re going to get similarities but whilst appealing on the eye (and gruesome in equal measure) there’s a slight deja vu to a few of them that I just cannot explain.
Shawnee Smith reprises her role as Amanda in this movie and seeing her relationship with John after her own encounter within one of his traps is something fans have wanted to see for a while.
Saw 3 briefly explores the bond they share but Saw X really dives into the core of John’s wish to have Amanda continue his work after he dies.
It’s crazy that both John and Amanda are out here putting wrongdoers in traps and watching those chosen few severing limbs left right and centre yet the writers can still find time for heartfelt moments within the movie.
The script has been perfectly balanced between gore, lore and emotional floor that grounds us and reflects on these characters we all know and love.
Approaching the film for your first Saw film experience just wouldn’t hit the right notes. This has to be seen after all of the others, you need to be invested in the franchise to care about the story Saw X is portraying and without that investment you’ll find Saw X rather dull, lethargic and a little lost on you.
Saw X is a film made by fans and custodians of the franchise for the fans and I’m so damn glad they went down this route with the story whilst still maintaining those gory seat flinching, stomach churning moments the franchise is famous for.
Hang on tight after the film as there is a post credits scene in a Saw movie that once again drives home that fan service and something tells me already that there is more to come after this one.
Saw X has banished the memory of Spiral from my mind, it’s rectified the wrongs that have occurred throughout certain points of the franchise and in a way it feels rejuvenated.
Saw is back and the missing pieces of the puzzle that have been lost on the franchise are now complete.
It’s easily one of the best films of the entire franchise. a film that explores John Kramer. The man, the human who feels emotions, the person who wants to help to change the ways of those who have done wrong in their lives and the man who will protect innocence no matter the personal cost.
I’m absolutely over the moon the creators have put this on the table for us all to witness.
As a whole it really is something quite bloody yet quite beautiful and hopefully there’s plenty more to come.
It’s just not Halloween without Saw!
Thanks to Lionsgate for the invite and the goodies for the Museum of Horrors in Stoke (Opening Oct 7th)
Saw X review by Sean Evans
A complete rejuvenation of the franchise as we dive deep into John Kramer’s character. We feel his pain, we relate to his emotions and we join him and Amanda as a whole new game has been set out before us. The missing pieces of the puzzle that have been lost on the franchise are now complete resulting in one of the best films of the entire franchise. An absolute home-run!