Movie Review: Saw X (2023)

Synopsis: Given only one year to live because of his brain cancer, Jigsaw Killer John Kramer travels to Mexico for an expensive experimental procedure with proven results. At first, he believes he is cured. Then he realizes it was all an elaborate scam being used to bilk people like him out of millions of dollars. With the help of his assistant, Amanda, he gets his revenge the Jigsaw way.

Who's in it? The movie stars Tobin Bell, Shawnee SmithSynnøve Macody Lund, Steven Brand and Renata Vaca.

Review: My wife and I talked about seeing Saw X when it came out at theaters around my birthday. We are both fans of the franchise, especially her, and were intrigued by a film that would feature the original Jigsaw Killer. That didn't happen however, due to schedule conflicts, and we've been waiting patiently for Saw X to be available to stream on one of our movie channels. It finally happened last night and, after seeing it... well, let's just say I'm glad I didn't see it at the theater after all.

I guess the best way to describe this movie is it wasn't the worst Saw sequel we've seen but it also wasn't the best. There were plenty of elements in the film (which apparently takes place between the first two movies) that were enjoyable because they were familiar. This includes the elaborate traps/tests Kramer (Bell) sets up for his victims and the various little plot twists, including the big one at the end.

I also liked his nemesis in this film, Cecilia (Lund). Movies like this are only as good as their antagonist and she made a great one. She was clever, she seemed to have zero empathy and times at least, she seemed to be dangerous enough to possibly outwit Kramer in the end.

That said, the movie just didn't quite seem to have the same magic as the earlier films. Part of this is because there is so much backstory and build-up, it seems to take forever for this film to become a Saw movie. In fact, for a while there, I was beginning to wonder if anyone would die or if this was going to secretly be a movie with an alternate reality where Kramer doesn't kill a bunch of people.

Another thing that was missing was the mystery. Most of the good Saw movies create added suspense by not knowing who the real villain or accomplice is. There was nothing like that in this one, making the surprises a little less impactful.

The other part of it was the fact the movie essentially makes Kramer the hero, or at least an anti-hero. For me at least, it kind of made him seem like a weaker character as a result. Good people (in movies at least) are trusting and easy to take advantage of. Kramer should never fit that category and that includes falling for the scam to begin with and essentially relying on luck for his main plan to work. In other words, if he's not the main bad guy, then what's the point of the film?

Final Opinion: I didn't hate the movie and as I said, there are things about it I truly enjoyed. However, due to the long time before the first kill (not counting one he imagined) and the decision to make him the protagonist, I just wasn't as big of a fan as I thought I'd be.

My Grade: B-


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