Movie: Saw X
Production Company: Twisted Pictures
Director: Kevin Greutert
Producers: Mark Burg, Oren Koules
Scriptwriters: Peter Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg
Main Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Synnove Macody Lund, Steven Brand, Renata Vaca, Michael Beach
Release Date: September 29th 2023
Running Time: 118 minutes
Well, who saw that coming? After so many mediocre entries, Saw X is actually a decent entry into the franchise. And yes it’s mostly because of Tobin Bell but I’ll touch on that later… Anyway, there’s no expense spared when it comes to the traps which is a sight for sore eyes after some lacklustre entries. Also, SPOILER and gore warnings in effect which should be a given considering the twisted mind of John Kramer. Anyway, enough with the saw puns here is my review of the film.
Saw X follows John Kramer (Bell) between the first two Saw films as he tries to adjust to his terminal cancer diagnosis. That is until he meets another member of his cancer support group, Henry (Beach), who tells him about a definitely not suspicious operation which cured him of his cancer in Mexico. I mean you may as well have used a Nigerian prince email scam…. Anyway, after realising he’s been conned, John sets out to get even the only way he knows how: incredibly convoluted death traps to make people appreciate life and what they took from him. So there’s not really too much of a difference between any of the Saw screenplays other than the titles which is to be expected…
Tobin Bell’s Performance in Saw X
I mean did anyone expect Tobin Bell to still be giving a damn about Saw? Because he’s really the only redeemable performance in the film. Just look at the scene where he finds out the operation was the most obvious scam since Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk. Here, we see him go through the stages of grief as he plays a video which shows him that nothing was actually done to cure him. Another great example of Bell’s performance is when he’s spouting exposition about all the traps he’s put his tormentors in.
Despite how they used his hope against him, he still seems conflicted about how he’s also using their slim hope of survival against them. It’s absolutely brilliant as he slowly debates about whether or not his weird moral crusade is actually going to be worth it. Also, see how he desperately tries to save Carlos when they’re both trapped in a trap of his own making. That little moment really humanises John from the murderous.
The Traps in Saw X
Now there’s probably only one thing bringing in audiences to Saw X. And no it isn’t the very seesaw plot… I’m referring to the traps which are a sight for saw eyes. Just take that aforementioned trap which really sucks for the orderly who John sees stealing from a patient. While the editing is borderline schizophrenic during the scene to artificially increase drama, the actual trap is very good and does reassure fans that while the film is exploring Kramer’s routes he’s lost none of his violent streak. Though the trap is a bit of an eye saw….
Also, the theme of good traps being ruined by rubbish editing continues when John and Amanda (remember her?) set up the ‘doctors’ in their traps. Actually trying to pay attention to the characters while the camera seems to be placed inside a washing machine is quite difficult, surprisingly… Also, it doesn’t really help that all the traps are virtually the same: remove a certain amount of a body part and you survive. I get why Kramer is doing this but it does all sort of blend together into a cacophony of screams, blood and death. And that last sentence really sums up the franchise…
To summarise Saw X, this is a fine enough return to form for the Saw franchise. This is welcome after some very forgettable entries. But at least it wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever saw which is a definite positive. So in spite of a good performance from Tobin Bell and some decent traps, Saw X will always be beneath the level of Saw and Saw II. Now that is something I never saw coming….
Overall Rating: 5.5/10 – Above Average
Target Audience: 18+
Content Warning: Mild Sex and Nudity, Severe Violence and Gore, Severe Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Severe Frightening and Intense Scenes