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Film Review: The Strangers: Prey at Night

“Is Someone Else Staying Here? I Thought We Were Alone..?”

With it being an entire decade since the release of Bryan Bertino’s mildly successful 2008 American horror, The Strangers, the follow up sequel, subtitled Prey at Night, finally hits the big screen under the direction of English filmmaker Johannes Roberts, whose previous credits include 47 Metres Down and The Other Side of the Door, with Bertino still attached to the project by supplying the screenplay for the movie alongside American pen pusher Ben Ketai. With the original film based on a culmination of the infamous Manson Family murders and a personal experience of break-ins in and around an area to which Bertino lived within, the 2008 release was nihilistic oddity with a genuine nasty streak which paid tribute to the likes of famous video nasties including Straw Dogs, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Last House on the Left, and what Prey at Night offers is a very familiar, ultra violent slasher flick which overcomes a wide array of weaknesses thanks to a stylish, retro tone and various interesting and well orchestrated set pieces which offers the case for Roberts’ movie being a case of a sequel which improves upon the basis set by its’ predecessor.

With an opening act which introduces the quartet of leading familial victims including Christina Hendricks’ (Drive) mother figure, Cindy, Martin Henderson’s (Everest) Mike, and the two teenage children played by Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman, the attempt to flesh out any reasonable characterisation within the first twenty minutes fails pretty spectacularly, with the reasoning behind the families sudden venture to the most vacant of caravan parks not really expanded upon, resulting in a complete absence of empathy for when the inevitable violence eventually occurs. Thankfully however, once the action begins, Prey at Night continues the overly hyper-violent tone of the original to impressive means, utilising a surprising early character death to set the pace for remaining hour or so of the piece, and with the aid of the creepy masked killers, the iconic image of the series so far, the murderous rampage which the film embarks upon is surprisingly entertaining. Central to the film’s success however is a strangely ironic and satirical undertone, one which is beefed up by a wholly comedic and off-kilter 1980’s jukebox soundtrack, and one which allows individual set pieces to blossom with a heavy sense of style, particularly a latter act scene involving a superbly manoeuvred confrontation at a swimming pool which for me, took the film to a higher level than it possibly should have ever been, and although Prey at Night does indeed fall into a realm of cliche and predictability when looking back as a whole body of work, its’ the film’s style and nasty streak which makes the sequel work to an entertaining degree.

Overall Score: 6/10

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Film Review: Truth or Dare

“The Game Is Real. Wherever You Go, Whatever You Do It Will Find You…”

With Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions obtaining worldwide popularity after the critical success of Jordan Peele’s Oscar winning horror, Get Out, last year, it very much seems that the company are willing to tackle anything and everything with a slight horror genre infliction, no matter how weak the subject matter, with a penchant for prioritising quantity over quality as well as gaining a reputation for being the physical manifestation of a paint-by-numbers horror conveyor belt. With Truth or Dare therefore, directed by Jeff Wadlow of Kick-Ass 2 fame after apparently “spitballing” an opening idea with the hierarchy at Blumhouse, it’s fair to say that Oscar success is not exactly on the horizon any time soon, with the movie akin more to the likes of Blumhouse disasters such as The Gallows and Sinister 2, and even with a somewhat interesting premise in which our leading horny, social-media addicted and majestically beautiful college “teens” are sucked into a murderous entity’s sick game, Truth or Dare fails entirely as a work of horror to the extent that if sold as a comedy, it perhaps would have been much more successful.

Predictable from the outset, Wadlow’s movie begins in terrible and perfunctory fashion, following Lucy Hale’s (Pretty Little Liars) Olivia and her merry band of followers including Tyler Poser’s (Teen Wolf) Lucas and Violett Beane’s (The Flash) Markie as they make there way across the Mexican border in order to experience their final spring break. Cue visit to creepy dwelling, the discovery of satanic rituals and exposition galore, the next sixty minutes moves into a Final Destination territory as we witness each of the friendship group take their turn in the titular game which is forced upon them by an evil entity who breaks free in the form of whacking great smiles, a laughably awful effect which is even coined as “the worst snapchat filter ever” by one of the victims and forces them to adhere to the rules with a punishment of death if anyone rejects to playing. With the jump scares weak, the sense of threat non-existent and one of the biggest cop-out resolutions ever seen on the big-screen, Truth or Dare is unsurprisingly terrible, even with a somewhat likeable leading lady in the form of Hale, but with tacky genre tropes, a rafter of cliches and a dull, overly repetitive narrative, Wadlow’s movie is a game really not worth playing.

Overall Score: 3/10

Film Review: A Quiet Place

“Who Are We If We Can’t Protect Them? We Must Protect Them…”

Utilising arguably the most basic and fundamental element of horror cinema since the inception of the genre at the turn of the twentieth century, John Krasinski (Detroit) stars, writes and directs A Quiet Place, a thrilling and genuinely unnerving apocalyptic creature feature which mixes survivalist adventure with threatening terror and one which is held together by a key and tightly held plot point regarding the use of silence and the deadly consequences that arise whenever the rules of such an element are broken. Transferring their relationship in the real world into the landscape of the film, Krasinski is joined by Emily Blunt (Sicario) as two grief stricken parents, Lee and Evelyn Abbott, who attempt to survive in the treacherous, ambiguous world that now homes vicious, unrelenting and seemingly indestructible alien creatures who hunt primarily by responding to sound, no matter how small the disturbance may be. Beginning with a gripping opening act which sees the Abbott family scour the dredges of a The Walking Dead inspired future wasteland for resources and goods, the ground-rules for the drama is delicately set, with silence the overarching soundtrack and communication limited to close-quartered whispers and sign language whilst movement too limited to bare foot expeditions and a handy stock of sound reducing sand.

Whilst Krasinski himself has declared a complete rejection at horror movies in the past, the co-written screenplay from himself, Bryan Woods and Scott Beck is undeniably inspired by classic examples of not only the genre of horror but classic monster thrillers too, and with an opening act concluding in a manner which bears similarities to Stephen King’s famous opening tragedy in his magnum opus It, the thrills and spills throughout A Quiet Place are indeed recognisable but still highly effective in to an alarming degree. With post apocalyptic landscapes a common theme in contemporary cinema with the likes of Mad Max: Fury Road and The Road two very different movies at either end of the spectrum in terms of what the genre can offer, the survivalist tendencies shown in A Quiet Place are never lingered upon in attempt to shove the notion of desolation completely in your face, with the narrative instead brilliantly glossing over such in a blasé fashion which makes the audience accept the surroundings in which our heroic family are based without getting solid answers on the cause or what the murderous monsters at the centre of the peril really are. With Noah Jupe (Wonder) and Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck) as the Abbott children, the former’s deafness (something of which Simmonds has in real life) offers in itself a brooding sense of peril, with the soundtrack switching from the background noise of the wild to complete and utter silence whenever Simmonds is on-screen, something of which works particularly well later in the action when her character is somewhat unaware of the power of her unfortunate infliction.

With Blunt undeniably the standout performer of the piece, her own attempts to balance the preservation of her family with the upcoming arrival of a new life results in a standout set piece involving a wince-inducing injury and the worst period of child labour in the history of cinema. With Blunt originally suggesting to partner Krasinski that someone else should take the part, her decision to be involved continues her ability to convey superb performances in a wide range of differing genres ranging from comedy (The Devil Wears Prada) to action thrillers (Edge of Tomorrow, Sicario) and now creature feature horror. Clocking in at a healthy ninety minutes, the pacing of the movie is brilliantly measured, with a hearty, white-knuckle build-up leading to a concluding act which mixes Jurassic Park style set pieces with 28 Days Later inspired terror all happening at a lighting fast paced that come the final credits, you can’t help but feel an extra course would be lapped up more than generously. For a movie which relies on the element of silence and resorts to having dialogue reduced to an absolute minimum, A Quiet Place could be praised on its’ own for just being a superbly brave mainstream exercise, but with top-notch performances all around, a wondrously creepy premise and come the end, a strangely heartwarming familial tale, Krasinski’s movie is a resounding and genuinely unnerving success.

Overall Score: 9/10

Film Review: Ghost Stories

“Things Are Not Always As They Seem…”

Adapted from their very own play of the same name which premiered back in 2010, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson swap the stage for the screen with Ghost Stories, a Hammer Horror inspired creeper which mixes a mock-documentary style narrative with elements of the portmanteau cinematic medium which has worked incredibly effectively before in the horror genre with the likes of V/H/S and it’s juicier, more experimental sequel arguably being the more contemporary standout examples. With Nyman himself assuming the lead role of Professor Phillip Goodman, a single minded debunker of the supernatural who is tasked with solving three individual and unexplained cases designed to test his ignorance of the paranormal, Ghost Stories takes the audience through an exhausting check list of every classic horror trope in existence as we move from one case to the next, with each investigation creepier and weirder than the last, and whilst most movies which form a narrative around very well-worn and rusty horror cliches more often than not tend to be complete and utter disasters, take Winchester this year alone for example, Ghost Stories works impressively due to a ripe and over-the-top sensibility which is simply too much fun to disregard.

Supported by a variety of tip-top British talent including Paul Whitehouse (The Death of Stalin), Alex Lawther (Black Ribbon – “Shut Up and Dance”) and the mighty Dr. Watson himself, Martin Freeman (Black Panther), their respective characters each provide the details of their own individual supernatural experiences including a haunted Session 9 inspired mental institution, a meeting with evil and an interaction with the freshly dead. With manically timed and alarmingly impressive jump-scares throughout, the horror elements are wickedly managed and at times, unrelenting in nature, and even when the film does suffer terribly in its’ opening quarter due to a wandering direction and lack of grounded involvement, as soon as we begin to interfere in our leading character’s draining investigations, the haunted house of a thrill ride adequately begins. Concluding with a final act which twists the film on its’ head and forces you to gasp at the sheer absurdity of where and how the action ultimately unfolds, Ghost Stories is a stellar success and a future British Halloween classic, one which both will please mainstream audiences and aficionado horror audiences who although are used to the thrills the movie offers, will lap it up in spades.

Overall Score: 8/10

Film Review: Unsane

“He’s Here. Or Maybe, It’s All In My Head…”

Returning from a self-imposed early retirement last year with the rather entertaining Logan Lucky after a four year hiatus, director Steven Soderbergh returns once again to the cinematic fold with Unsane, a delightfully kooky psychological thriller starring The Crown’s Claire Foy as the equally wacky named Sawyer Valentini who is forced into mental despair from a stalker whom she believes has followed her into the confines of a mental institution which is seen to be holding her illegally against her will. Whilst comparisons to the standout genre examples when it comes to the notion of asylums and the mentally ill are wholly inevitable, Soderbergh’s latest undoubtedly revels in a familiar B-movie sensibility prevalent in films of a similar ilk, with the likes of The Ninth Configuration, Shutter Island and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the main ball-park areas the film can be aligned against, but with the added hysteria caused by the threat of Valentini’s stalker figure, Unsane is closer to Patrick Brice’s 2014 independent chiller, Creep, more than anything else, with the narrative’s uncertain ambiguity resulting in a sense of not truly foreseeing where the film ultimately is heading.

Shot from start to finish by use of an Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the FiLMiC Pro application which allows video to be stored in 4K, Unsane bears more of a tonal similarity to that of a found footage horror, and whilst at times the cinematography is radically subversive and riotously unconventional, the wider ratio aspect and grainy image does aid the claustrophobic nature felt by Foy’s Valentini, particularly with continuous Sergio Leone style close-ups and the jolty movement of the picture whenever the camera follows her character in a deliberate attempt to mimic the continuous threat of being watched. With Side Effects in Soderbergh’s back catalogue, the Hitchcock-esque thriller type is something in which the American is more than capable at portraying, and whilst Unsane does conform to the more wacky end of the genre spectrum, there is no denying that Soderbergh is arguably at his best when offering more of a challenging, unconventional set-up. Whilst at times the many ludicrous plot holes and questionable narrative choices do weaken the final product as a whole, Unsane is a thoroughly enjoyably and viciously wild cult piece which is gelled together by a Claire Foy on cracking form, and with a concluding act which is genuinely freakish and oddly unsettling, Soderbergh’s second return is another rousing, off-beat success. 

Overall Score: 8/10

Film Review: Annihilation

It’s Not Destroying. It’s Making Something New…”

Wowing audiences and critics alike in the past with screenplays for works of brilliance including 28 Days Later, Dredd, albeit unaccredited, and of course his masterful directorial debut in the form of 2015’s Ex Machina, the breath of fresh air which is Britain’s own, Alex Garland, returns this week with Annihilation, yet another hotly anticipated release which uses Netflix as its’ chosen distributor in the UK after somehow failing to secure a deal for a nationwide cinematic release. Whilst Ex Machina was essentially a low-key, claustrophobic comment on the notion of artificial intelligence which always settled for brains over brass idiocy, going against the ilk and financial safety net of many contemporary sci-fi blockbusters, Garland’s latest expands the film-making horizons of which genuinely interesting science fiction can be explored, a movie which although at times seems to not entirely piece together as smoothly as one would ultimately like, powerfully blends thought provoking notions of unidentified alien contact with nightmarish surrealist terror which both takes cues and evolves on from classic genre pieces of which the movie undeniably takes reference from.

Based upon Jeff VanderMeer’s 2014 novel of the same name, the first entry within the well received “Southern Reach Trilogy”, Garland’s movie focuses on Natalie Portman’s, Lena, a former soldier turned biologist who after the mysterious year long absence of Oscar Isaac’s (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) husband figure and current serving member of the U.S Army, Kane, embarks on a high risk expedition into the unknown phenomenon known as only as the “Shimmer” in order to find both an explanation behind its’ origins and answers regarding Kane’s sudden disappearance. Teaming up with Jennifer Jason Leigh’s (The Hateful Eight) Dr. Ventress, a straight-faced terminally ill psychologist who takes lead of the group, and Tessa Thompson’s (Thor: Ragnarok) somewhat timid and “damaged” physicist, Josie, among others, Annihilation explores a mode of discovery as we venture into the ambiguous “Shimmer” with Portman’s Lena taking point as the audiences access into the surrealist undertakings our heroine witnesses through her journey into the unknown. With an opening thirty minutes which leans heavy on background details regarding Kane and Lena’s unfaithful relationship and the apocalyptic nature of the “Shimmer” itself, the remaining runtime hands forth a narrative which keeps the audience on edge, forever guessing the threat which ultimately will be discovered as the cards reveal themselves come a Under the Skin inspired final act.

Aided by an uncertain, uncomfortable sensibility, a tonal cornerstone which is completely rife from beginning to end, Annihilation is at times genuinely unnerving in nature, with minimal use of jump-scare tactics and a tendency for a complete lack of resolution regarding particular plot threads resulting in a Blair Witch style behaviour pattern in which the audience builds up tension ready to be alleviated but is instead left stranding and unsure of what to expect next. With the movie at times resorting to handheld footage in order to explore the outcome of previous expeditions within the “Shimmer”, the Blair Witch similarities are abundantly clear, whilst it comes not much of a stretch to see the likes of the monster effects of The Thing, the surreal science fiction beauty of Arrival and the nihilistic low-key apocalyptic themes of the little seen mind bending Coherence within the DNA of the piece too, and whilst at times dialogue does seem a tad on the nose and the special effects not exactly pitch perfect, a surprising weakness considering the Oscar winning work of Ex Machina, Garland’s latest is a wonderful work of science fiction cinema, one which will please genre fans from the outset and one which too leaves a lasting impression like all the best experimental works of art do so well.

Overall Score: 8/10

Film Review: Winchester

“I Feel Their Presence. In The Air, In The Walls. He Has Found Us…”

With last year’s Jigsaw not being as terrible as one might have thought and Predestination still being a particularly mind-bending and wholly entertaining guilty pleasure, The Spierig Brothers aren’t exactly renowned for airing on the side of caution when it comes to their movies, and returning this week with Winchester, starring Dame Helen Mirren (The Queen) as the famous titular true to life figure of Sarah Winchester, the mould doesn’t exactly stop here. Setting the narrative within the confines of Winchester House in San Jose, California at the turn of the 20th century, Winchester follows Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) as the drug addicted doctor, Eric Prince, who is tasked by representatives of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to medically assess Sarah Winchester’s mental state as she pours her inherited income into constant construction of her isolated mansion in order to fulfil the wishes of the dead through her interaction with a medium after the passing of her late husband. Part The Haunting, part every single generic horror movie release ever made, The Spierig Brothers’ latest is uncharacteristically dreadful, a movie so woeful in its’ construction that you fail in your attempts to nod off thanks to a wide-set reliance on ridiculously loud jump scares which become worse and worse as the movie moves along, and even with a straight-to-video temperament surrounding it, Winchester can’t even be defined as so bad it’s good; it’s just trash.

With each of the performances rivalling Gods of Egypt for the title of worst ensemble cast performance of recent times, the narrative dwindles its’ way through a The Cabin in the Woods and, more specifically, a Thirteen Ghosts-esque setup, utilising the pull of being based on “actual events” to inspire a sense of horror at the sight of witnessing all hell breaking loose on-screen, ranging from high-pitched screaming hell demons to murdered psychopathic waiters who every now and then feel the need to explode onto the screen, screeching musical accompaniment in hand, in order to enforce a cattle-prod sensibility in which the lost art of actual horror and spine-tingling tension is unfortunately replaced with tedious, never-ending jump scares. With the plot ludicrous, the horror elements distastefully stupid, and even Mirren’s portrayal of a better financed Jennet Humfrye, AKA, The Woman in Black, being totally ridiculous, not even a Dame can save such a hot-steamed mess of a movie, and whilst many may enjoy the chance to jolt out of your seat every ten seconds thanks to an immensely setup surround sound system in your local screening of the movie, The Spierig Brothers have landed on their first cinematic calamity, with Winchester a movie which not only pokes fun at its’ claims of fictional inspiration but sticks needles in the eyes of all horror audiences who by now have learnt that not all horror is created equal.

Overall Score: 2/10

Film Review: Insidious: The Last Key

“I’ve Faced Many Evil’s In My Life. This One Is Different Though…”

Acting as the latest entry within the ongoing Blumhouse Production line of horror releases, Insidious: The Last Key, the fourth and supposedly final picture within the rather drawn out Insidious franchise, is the first big screen jump-fest to hit multiplexes this year, and whilst there is a lack of consideration, particularly from myself, in regards to why yet another sequel is necessary to a franchise which suffers from a bruising sense of unmemorability, aside from its’ rather creepy first entry back in 2010, The Last Key is a somewhat acceptable, time-passing affair. Directed by horror stalwart Adam Robitel, whose previous releases in the form of The Taking of Deborah Logan and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension acts as confident evidence for his directorial appointment, The Last Key primarily focuses on Lin Shaye’s psychic ghost hunter, Elise Rainier, as she returns to face the fears of her childhood in order to help Kirk Acevedo’s Ted Garza who calls for aid after experiencing strange hauntings within the house Rainier and her long lost brother grew up in under the watchful eye of their monstrous father.

Suffering in a way which most contemporary horror sequels, prequels and spin-offs ultimately do by feeling just a little bit worse for wear in terms of the freshness of the narrative and overall surprise factor, Robitel’s movie ironically begins in impressive fashion, heading further back in time to explore Rainier’s childhood in order to lay the groundwork for the story ahead, and with two mightily timed jump scares to start off proceedings, The Last Key was in danger of becoming much better than one might have expected. Unfortunately, yet not exactly surprisingly, however, the swift move back to the somewhat present day then brings about the middling return to a horror blueprint which covers everything from screaming dead entities to an overkill sensibility regarding the use of cliched horror tropes, tropes which become tiring as they finalise by simply resorting each and every time to the cattle prod horror cinema audiences seem to lap up. With comedy which doesn’t always work coming from the Chuckle Brothers of horror in the form of Rainier’s bumbling assistants and a concluding reveal which is unsurprising and hokey, The Last Key is pretty much your substandard horror sequel, but for the impressive first ten minutes, a committed performance from Shaye and a sense that finally the series has been put to bed, Robitel’s movie isn’t a classic but it at least works in a audience pleasing kind of fashion which for many, is all that you need.

Overall Score: 5/10

Film Review: The Shining

“I’m Sorry To Differ With You Sir, But You Are The Caretaker. You’ve Always Been The Caretaker…”

In a year where the works of Stephen King have seemed to have taken siege upon both the big screen and the small, the re-release of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining ironically seeks out to remind how much the horror masterpiece differs from its’ ghostly source material, and whilst King himself has famously distanced himself from the 1980 classic on a moral level, the haunting ambiguity and off-kilter tonal essence of Kubrick’s classic once again reminds why such a movie is always part of the conversation when discussing the greatest and most influential horror movies of all time. Published in January of 1977, King’s third novel quickly followed the breakout successes of Carrie and Salem’s Lot, and whilst the story on the surface primarily focuses on the horrors of the Overlook Hotel and the toll it takes on the Torrance family, the underlying notions of alcoholism and regret mirrored the struggles of the novel’s own during that period of time, resulting in The Shining being arguably King’s most personal work up to that date, creating an understandable air of indifference from King to a movie released only three years later which decided to focus primarily on the supernatural elements of the novel rather than the subplots regarding familial tensions and the conflicted leading character of Jack Torrance to a larger extent portrayed on film. Thankfully for Kubrick, his version of The Shining is arguably more terrifying than one could have envisioned when adapting King’s story from page to screen, thanks primarily to a typically maddened performance from Jack Nicholson whose portrayal of the writer’s block inflicted father will arguably go down as his most iconic and memorable role within a career which goes down with arguably one of the greatest ever.

Whilst the casting of Nicholson seemed to many at the time to be one of ease over exploration, with Nicholson’s Oscar winning performance as Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest already showcasing Nicholson’s penchant for portraying the slightly insane, the guidance of Kubrick as the film’s master of puppets resulted in a live-action Jack Torrance which seeped with uncertainty and ferocious ingrained rage from beginning to end. With Shelley Duvall as the repressed, doe-eyed Wendy Torrance on Nicholson’s arm and the youthful appearance of Danny Lloyd as son, Danny, a child afflicted with the titular mysterious power as coined by Scatman Crothers’ Dick O’Halloran, Kubrick’s take on the already well established horror genre is arguably his most auteurist within a filmography which puts most recent filmmakers to shame, and whilst the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr Strangelove proved the widening spectrum of Kubrick’s work, his OCD-esque tendency for frame-by-frame perfection and famously subverted workings of actors, sets and camera usage is no more apparent than in The Shining, a film, which not unlike the book, has a surface narrative regarding one man’s descent into darkness but underneath is filled with famously hidden notions which ranged from everything from Kubrick’s stance on the moon landing to a comment regarding the massacring of native American indians.

Of course, the discussion regarding the hidden elements of Kubrick’s masterpiece is not exactly hot topic for most, and when reviewing the movie on just cinematic grounds, The Shining is near flawless, a ice-cold spook-a-thon which although was aware of previous examples of the genre such as The Haunting and more obviously, The Amytiville Horror, broke new ground in its’ ghostly balance between psychological horror and flat out slasher, one which is all helmed together by the performance of Nicholson and arguably the most impressive batch of iconic set pieces to ever grace the genre of horror. Whether it be Danny’s meeting with the mysterious visitor in Room 237, the image of two deceased twins or of course, the legendary, improvised line of “here’s Johnny”, The Shining is a rare case of a movie which although is a shadow of the source material of which I am undoubtedly a huge fan, is undoubtedly a masterwork in its’ own way, and with the chance to see Kubrick’s movie on the big screen for the very first time this week, such an opportunity is one which film fans in general cannot pass by.

Overall Score: 10/10

Film Review: Jigsaw

“Now The Games Are Simple. Best Ones Are. You Want Mercy? Play By The Rules…”

It’s Halloween guys, and the return of the sadistic rampaging murderer with a moral compass known as Jigsaw returns after a few years hiatus, and whilst the Saw movies were the epitome of a series which died a slow and painful death after every subsequent release following the undeniably impressive first film directed by James Wan and released all the way back in 2004, it seems the audience’s thirst for blood continues to be a factor in the return of such an undying horror franchise. Continuing with Jigsaw therefore, Predestination directors, The Spierig Brothers, take the helm of an entry which although is still retrograde in terms of its’ complete lack of originality, minimal levels of substance and a penchant for leary comments regarding the movie’s leading female characters, is undeniably not exactly the worst Saw sequel to embrace the big screen, and with the inclusion of a major franchise character and some rather gooey death scenes which encompass the exploitation goodness of the series, Jigsaw is passable in the sense that it really isn’t worth remembering after you evacuate from its’ relatively harmless ninety minute runtime.

Featuring a brand new handful of relatively pointless cannon fodder to act as instruments of subverted play for our titular serial killer, Jigsaw spins its’ narrative round and round in a sickening twisting motion, one which seems dead keen on keeping the audience guessing in regards to what truly is happening and who is really behind such elaborate, murderous schemes, and whilst the depth or shock value of previous entries make the latest entry pretty pointless on the face of it, the inclusion of Tobin Bell is always a pretty remarkable bonus, whilst the concluding twist was extravagant enough to overcome the gaping plot holes, resulting in a sensation which allows you to just ride with it, culminating in a final death scene which reminds everyone just how stupidly fun the franchise can be when not taking itself too seriously. With the sounds of hysterical screeching becoming unbearable at times however and the rather silly, B-movie budget holding it narrowly together, Jigsaw is complete trash, just not trash that has been as harmless as similar movies which have preceded it in the past.

Overall Score: 4/10