Jigsaw (2017 film)
|Directed by||The Spierig Brothers|
|Edited by||Kevin Greutert|
|Music by||Charlie Clouser|
|Box office||$103 million|
Jigsaw is a 2017 American horror film directed by the Spierig Brothers and written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger. It is the eighth installment in the Saw film series. The film stars Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, and Hannah Emily Anderson. The plot follows a group of people who find themselves forced to participate in a series of deadly "games" inside a barn. Meanwhile, the police investigate a new series of murders that fit the modus operandi of the eponymous Jigsaw Killer, who has been dead for almost a decade.
2010's Saw 3D was originally deemed the final installment of the series, before Lionsgate commissioned the production of Jigsaw from a pitch by Stolberg and Goldfinger. Filming began in November 2016, with post-production following in January. The film was released by Lionsgate in the United States on October 27, 2017. Jigsaw received mostly unfavorable reviews from critics, but was a commercial success, grossing $103 million worldwide against a $10 million budget. A ninth installment in the series, Spiral, was released in 2021.
Nearly a decade after the death of John Kramer, criminal Edgar Munsen is pursued by the police. After being cornered by Detectives Brad Halloran and Keith Hunt, he claims that he must start another "game" in exchange for his own survival, and activates a remote trigger before it gets shot out of his hand, but a shot hits Edgar in the chest and he collapses.
Five people – Mitch, Anna, Ryan, Carly, and an unconscious man – awaken inside a barn with buckets on their heads and chains around their necks. A tape recording from John Kramer explains that they have all sinned and must sacrifice some blood to survive before the chains begin pulling them towards a wall of buzzsaws. Most of the group survives by cutting themselves, except for the unconscious man, who awakens too late. Their next test reveals that Carly is a purse snatcher, who accidentally caused the death of an asthmatic woman. To save the others from being hanged, she must inject herself with one of three needles – one containing an antidote to a poison in her system, another one saline, and the last one acid. She refuses, so Ryan stabs her with all three, killing her and saving the others.
Halloran and Hunt investigate the discovery of corpses that appear to be the unconscious man and Carly, whose deaths fit John's modus operandi. Halloran becomes suspicious of pathologists Logan Nelson and Eleanor Bonneville. Later, Edgar is abducted from the hospital, and his corpse is found inside John's grave when it is exhumed by the police. Meanwhile, Ryan attempts to escape the barn through a door with the words "No Exit" on it, but his leg falls through loose floorboards, and is ensnared by wires. Another tape recorder reveals that he will be punished for breaking the rules and must pull a lever to be "set free." Anna and Mitch enter a silo and are trapped inside, forcing Ryan to pull the lever and sever his leg to rescue them.
Eleanor reveals to Logan that she is a fangirl of Jigsaw and has built replicas of many of his traps in her studio, but now fears that this might incriminate her. Hunt follows them and informs Halloran. In the barn, Mitch is revealed to have sold a motorcycle with a faulty brake to John's nephew, resulting in his death, and is tested by being lowered into a funnel with a spiral-shaped blade powered by a motorcycle engine inside. He attempts to stop the blade by reaching a brake at the bottom of the funnel but is ultimately killed. Halloran finds a corpse appearing to be Mitch in Eleanor's studio and calls for her and Logan's arrest. Logan convinces Hunt to let them go after telling him that the bullet which hit Edgar was fired by Halloran, whom he and Eleanor suspect is the new Jigsaw Killer. Eleanor deduces the game's location and she and Logan depart for the barn, with Halloran in pursuit.
Meanwhile, Hunt finds jigsaw-shaped pieces of flesh in Halloran's freezer, further incriminating Halloran. In the barn, Anna and Ryan are shackled to pipes at opposite ends of a room. John Kramer, apparently still alive, confronts them and reveals that Anna suffocated her baby and framed her husband, who eventually committed suicide, and Ryan caused his friends' death in a car accident. For their final test, he leaves them a shotgun loaded with one shell and departs, saying that it is the key to their survival. Anna tries to shoot Ryan, but the gun backfires and kills her. Ryan finds the keys among the debris, hidden inside the shell and destroyed in the blast; with no way to free himself, he is left to die. Logan and Eleanor are ambushed by Halloran at the barn. Eleanor escapes, while Halloran is drugged by an unseen assailant.
Logan and Halloran awaken in collars rigged with laser cutters, and are told to confess their sins to survive. Halloran forces Logan to go first, and he confesses to mislabeling John's X-rays years prior, causing his cancer to go undiagnosed; despite confessing, Logan is apparently killed. Halloran then admits to allowing criminals to walk free for personal gain and his collar deactivates. Logan is revealed to still be alive, and also the unconscious man who apparently died in the first barn game, which occurred ten years prior.[N 1] Realizing Logan dying would undermine the point of his traps and deciding that he should not die over an honest mistake, John saved him and recruited him as his first apprentice. Logan then reveals that he framed Halloran as the new Jigsaw Killer as revenge for releasing Edgar, who killed Logan's wife, and that he recreated the barn games using other criminals that Halloran let go as victims.[N 2]
Claiming that he and Halloran were the final participants and that Halloran broke the rules by forcing him to go first, Logan reactivates the collar and slices Halloran's head open.
- Matt Passmore as Logan Nelson
- Tobin Bell as John Kramer / Jigsaw
- Callum Keith Rennie as Detective Brad Halloran
- Hannah Emily Anderson as Eleanor Bonneville
- Clé Bennett as Detective Keith Hunt
- Laura Vandervoort as Anna
- Paul Braunstein as Ryan
- Mandela Van Peebles as Mitch
- Brittany Allen as Carly
- Josiah Black as Edgar Munsen
- Edward Ruttle as Matthew
- Michael Boisvert as Lee James
- Troy Feldman as Officer Palermo
- Shaquan Lewis as Officer Solomon
Saw 3D was intended to be the final Saw film. The film was set to be split into two parts, but Lionsgate only allowed the filmmakers to make one more film after Saw VI under-performed at the box office. According to Saw 3D writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, because of the change, "the big reveal of Dr. Gordon was a bit underserved ... perhaps creating more questions than answers. There were several ideas [we] never quite figured out. But [I] don't want to say what they were, because you never know what might happen in the future."
After the intended conclusion, Lionsgate ceased making Saw films, while waiting to hear a pitch that they thought made it worthwhile to resurrect the series. In December 2011, while speaking with CNBC, Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns revealed that a new Saw film was being discussed and would eventually be made. In August 2012, it was reported by some sources that Lionsgate was considering rebooting the original film. In November 2013, it was reported that Lionsgate was actively developing an eighth Saw film. Jigsaw was conceived when writers Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, who had spent two years pursuing the opportunity to write a Saw entry, proposed their vision. Stolberg and Goldfinger, both longtime Saw fans, had been called by their agents that Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate were considering reviving the franchise and if they were interested in pitching an approach. According to Stolberg, Saw producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules called them months later and hired them to write the film, as unlike other takes they had heard from, their pitch contained one particular element they really liked.
The original pitch Stolberg and Goldfinger took place in an oil derrick in the middle of the ocean, so when the players escaped from the room they were trapped in, they ended up finding themselves in the middle of the ocean with no way out, but that element didn't convince Lionsgate and the duo had to present several different pitches until they settled on the idea of telling the story through a time shift storyline like in previous Saw films, but in a different way. It was at that point that Jigsaw was greenlit, so Stolberg and Goldfinger spent the following months rewriting and polishing their script. Their first draft for the film originally took place outside entirely, taking place in a new world unusual to that from the franchise instead of the usual claustrophobic environment, but the idea didn't work out and they resolved to set the plot in a barn. In regards to the story, Lionsgate was adamant to make the film a stand-alone sequel which could work out for viewers unfamiliar to the sequels which followed Saw III.
In July 2016, it became known that brothers Michael and Peter Spierig would direct the film. Burg and Koules, who produced previous Saw entires, were announced to produce. Composer Charlie Clouser has described the film as a "reinvention" of the series, opining that "the Spierig brothers can deliver a fresh take on the material that will establish a new story line and new characters that can carry the saga into the future". The directors further detailed their approach as being "Saw for 2017", and Michael Spierig explained, "It's perhaps not quite as vicious, and more fun. But it's still full of gore, that's for sure. It's got a really great mystery, and there are very interesting twists".
On January 25, 2017, Variety announced that Laura Vandervoort and Hannah Emily Anderson had joined the cast. On January 30, Mandela Van Peebles joined the cast. On March 2, Bloody Disgusting revealed the first plot details and a full actor list, confirming that Tobin Bell would return in the role of John Kramer and that Brittany Allen, Callum Keith Rennie, Matt Passmore, Josiah Black, Shaquan Lewis, Michael Boisvert, and James Gomez had joined the cast along with Vandervoort, Anderson, and Van Peebles; the website also confirmed that Cary Elwes and Costas Mandylor, who previously appeared in the series as Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Mark Hoffman, would not return for the new film. On July 13, it was confirmed that Paul Braunstein had also been cast in the film. During filming, it was reported by a Bloody Disgusting reader that Jon Cor, who previously played Ryan (not to be confused with the character of the same name Braunstein plays in the film) in Saw 3D, would be appearing in scenes along with Bell, but the character didn't appear in the finished film.
Passmore had to audition for the role of Logan Nelson. He got the role after Koules and Burg requested him to come to lunch with them and it turned out they were fans of a television show Passmore starred in, liking the script they gave to him and finding it reminiscent to the first film due to its lack of gore. To prepare for his role as a police coroner, Passmore watched some police-focused shows and was aided by an adviser expert on the matter while filming. Vandervoort was drawn to playing Anna due to the character's flaws, aside her love for the Saw franchise and the horror genre, wanting to make a thriller or horror film and to work with the Spierig Brothers. Allen auditioned for the role of Carly determined to get it, feeling immediately that she would get it before being hired. After his manager offered him to do an audition, Van Peebles was cast as Mitch, which was the last role the film needed to cast. Coupled with his love for horror films, Van Peebles found the role as physically and emotionally challenging, prompting him to make his own horror scream by practicing it in the shower or in the car until he got the scream.
In October 2016, production was confirmed to have commenced under the working title of Saw: Legacy. The film was shot in Toronto in November 2016, and entered post-production by January. In June 2017, the Motion Picture Association of America listed the film under the official title of Jigsaw, rating it R, for "sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language". On August 14, 2017, the film passed uncut in the United Kingdom with an 18 Certificate by the BBFC. In regard to the new title, writer Josh Stolberg clarified that "when a writer is writing a movie, they put something on the cover page to separate it from other films. [...] So when we were writing this film, the title read Saw: Legacy but it was never official or 'decided'."
Charlie Clouser, who provided the score for all previous entries in the Saw series, returned to score Jigsaw. Clouser re-imagined the music of the Saw franchise, following the six-year hiatus between Saw 3D and Jigsaw. Clouser stated in 2016, "this will be an opportunity [for me] to re-imagine how [I] approach the score, and [I] will be trying a more stark, bold, and stripped-down approach that will be more in line with the strong vision that the Spierig brothers are bringing to the table". The soundtrack of the film was distributed digitally on October 27, 2017. Some tracks from the film can also be found on Volume 2 of the Saw Anthology Collection.
On September 16, 2017, Lionsgate released five posters to promote Jigsaw. The posters show off people in the traditional Billy the Puppet makeup, captioned "He is Everything. He is Everywhere. He is Everyone". The release of the posters was Lionsgate's way of reasserting the series' dominance over the Halloween season.
The Annual Blood Drive is the series' tradition, where before the release of the films in October, mobile blood stations are set up around the United States, where fans who donate blood receive a free ticket to see the respective film of that year. The tradition started in 2004, after the overwhelming success of Saw, and continued for each of the sequels until it stopped in 2009 before the release of Saw VI. Due to the arrival of Jigsaw in October, the blood drive was revived for another year, promoting the film with eight posters released by Lionsgate, featuring "Nurses" Grae Drake, Dan Rockwell, Susanne Bartch, Nyakim Gatwech, Shaun Ross, Mosh, Mykie, and Amanda LePore.
As of September 25, 2017, 120,000 pints (57,000 L) of blood had been donated, which has led to over 360,000 lives being saved.
Jigsaw was released in the United Kingdom on October 26, 2017, and in the United States theatrically on October 27, 2017. It was featured in IMAX screenings for the first week of its theatrical run.
Jigsaw has grossed $38.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $64.9 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $102.9 million, against a production budget of $10 million.
In the United States and Canada, Jigsaw was released alongside Thank You for Your Service and Suburbicon, and was projected to gross around $20 million from 2,941 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $1.6 million from Thursday night previews at 2,400 theaters, just below the $1.7 million Saw 3D made from midnight screenings seven years prior, and $7.2 million on its first day. It went on to open to $16.64 million, finishing first at the box office but marking the second lowest debut of the franchise. In its second weekend the film dropped 61% to $6.56 million, finishing third behind newcomers Thor: Ragnarok and A Bad Moms Christmas. In its third weekend, the film dropped another 47% and made $3.43 million, finishing fifth.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 33% based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 4.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Jigsaw definitely won't win many converts to the Saw franchise, but for longtime fans, it should prove a respectably revolting—if rarely scary—diversion." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported women under 25 (21% of the film's audience) and older males (30%) gave it a 76% and 70% overall positive score, respectively.
IGN gave the film a score of 4.5/10, writing "The good news is, Jigsaw is not the worst horror movie of the year. The bad news is, it's still bad enough that that's the good news...[It] doesn't capture what made the Saw franchise work in the first place." Darren French of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C", calling it disappointing and overly long. Bloody Disgusting gave the film two and a half out of five, saying the film "while being a fun ride, fails to justify its existence with a story that is overly familiar and a twist that doesn't live up to most of its predecessors".
Variety's Owen Gleiberman found the film "garishly rote" saying "For 92 minutes, it more or less succeeds in sawing through your boredom, slicing and dicing with a glum explicitness that raises the occasional tingle of gross-out suspense but no longer carries any kick of true shock value." Germain Lussier of io9 largely panned the film saying "[it] is one of the better films in the franchise. Unfortunately, that's not saying much."
The ninth installment of the Saw franchise known as Spiral, directed by longtime Saw series director Darren Lynn Bousman, stars Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella, and Marisol Nichols. Production took place in Toronto from July to August 2019. Lionsgate Films planned to release Spiral in theaters on May 15, 2020, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was moved to May 14, 2021.
In April 2021, a direct sequel film was confirmed to be in development with Twisted Pictures. However, Bousman stated that it was a premature announcement that surprised him and the film's producers. He said, "Just because we made Spiral doesn't mean Saw ceases to exist. Just because Spiral is here, that doesn't mean there won't be a Saw IX. This is not the ninth film in the Saw franchise. There easily could be a Saw IX that follows Jigsaw. I think they're waiting to see how [Spiral] goes and how audiences respond to determine what happens next." In May 2021, Bousman confirmed that Saw 9 and an eventual Saw X were separate project from Spiral 2 and 3, with all four films as well as a television series being in active development.
- This means that the barn game occurred before the events of the first film.
- Who were the corpses found by the police in the present, and died similarly to the original barn game's victims.
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