Saw X: Another Review

Saw X: Another Review

Saw X: Another Review

While it may not be Halloween yet, Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures are sure to remind us that the time for spooks, scares and even blood is here with the new entry into the ‘Saw’ franchise. 

Set between ‘Saw’ and ‘Saw 2’, ‘Saw X’ follows John Kramer, aka Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) as he travels to Mexico City after finding out about a miracle cure for his cancer. But, after discovering that the company responsible is a scam, he lays out a new game for those involved to play. 



After 2021’s ‘Spiral: From The Book of Saw’, I was hoping the franchise would continue from there and was initially disappointed to find out that ‘Saw’ would be taking a U-turn and going back to the past. However, if the writers involved feel that there is a story to be told in the past then I am intrigued to know what that is. And, after seeing ‘Saw X’, it’s very clear that there was not only an interesting story to tell, but characters that could be explored more than in previous entries. And, in that, fans are treated to an enjoyable entry that is one of the best in the ‘Saw’ franchise. 

What makes ‘Saw X’ stand out from the rest of the franchise is the way it’s executed (no pun intended!). The protagonist role has been reversed so that John Kramer is the main protagonist, not the victims who are forced into his creative games. This means that the film is not only a Saw film, with the iconic traps, but it’s also a character study on John Kramer as a person, which is one of the film’s strongest aspects. By now, Tobin Bell has become extremely familiar with his role as the killer and his acting here is a testament to that. While Tobin does steal the scene as John, it is in ‘Saw X’ that he truly shines, making this one of his best performances. But the writing is also fantastic; what has always made John Kramer interesting is the franchise’s way of reminding fans that he is human and was, at one point, a good person who was witness to some of life’s harshest obstacles. And, here, that is just as clear as the perspective is pushed onto him as he desperately tries to find a cure. At times, the film is surprisingly emotional because it treats him as a human instead of an evil villain, showing him at his most vulnerable due to his search. 

His humanity is also shown through his friendship with Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith). With this being set in between the first two films, ‘Saw X’ is able to explore her character more especially given the change in perspective. And, while she may have seemed confident, and even sassy, in ‘Saw 3’, here, she is still new to being Jigsaw’s apprentice and so has doubts about how his work functions. She even starts to question whether the victims involved truly deserve a chance, a theme that is continued in the third instalment. With ‘Saw X’ being set in between the first two films, it has the challenge of staying consistent to a recurring character’s mindset and behaviour, but this entry carries this out brilliantly. While John’s broken morale compass stays intact throughout, Amanda’s questioning and uncertainty at times would perfectly carry over into ‘Saw 3’. It’s clear the writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (Piranha 3D, Spiral: From The Book of Saw) have looked at how the timeline would work and taken great care to make sure it’s consistent. 

As the film goes on, it is discovered that John Kramer is ultimately scammed by the company he seeks out, which kickstarts a big aspect of the ‘Saw’ franchise: the traps and the game itself. Just like ‘Spiral’ and ‘Saw 6’, the traps are symbolic. They all carry the theme of a specific medical procedure, e.g.: the Brain Trap or Radiation Trap referencing the work that the company pretend to have expertise in. Not only are they visually interesting, but it’s refreshing to once again see a game that has a meaning as well as symbolism to the victims involved. But the traps are also, of course, very gruesome! As a huge fan of the ‘Saw’ franchise, I consider myself desensitised to the gore that’s on display but even I had to look away a couple of times. There’s definitely imagery in ‘Saw X’ that has never been seen before in the franchise. This breathes new life into the near 20-year-old series, but it also tests the limit on what a horror fan can handle to witness. But as gruesome and as gory as it is, it’s also impressive purely due to the practical effects on display. Most, if not all, of the traps, gore and prosthetics have always been practical and ‘Saw X’ is no exception. The effects and the way the films have been made are the main reasons why I got into the franchise and love it so much, and it’s incredible to see the new effects, locations and props on display. 

Despite revisiting the past, ‘Saw X’ shows fans that there’s still an untold chapter left to tell in John Kramer’s story. The film gives Tobin Bell a chance to truly shine by making him the protagonist and it works beautifully. The traps are fantastically gruesome as well as being symbolic to the supposed doctors who have betrayed him, making those even more of a character than usual. And it was wonderful to see Shawnee Smith return as Amanda Young, giving the film a chance to delve more into her character. ‘Saw X’ is not only a gruesome wild ride but it’s also a character study into one of the most iconic horror villains and it works perfectly as both. ‘Saw X’ is refreshing, interesting and definitely one of the best entries in the franchise. 


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Megan’s taste in films are interesting: her favourite films are ‘Space Jam’, Studio Ghibli’s ‘The Cat Returns’, as well as horror films ‘Saw’, ‘Drag Me To Hell’ and ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’. When she’s not watching films, she’ll be spending precious hours playing ‘Crash Bandicoot’.

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