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Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts | 501 S. Sapodilla Ave, WPB, FL 33401

THE MUSE

You’ll Never Believe What I Just SAW: “Saw X” Review

The newest installment in the “Saw” series is a wonderfully gory and entertaining addition
Saw+X+movie+poster+from+Lionsgate.+%0A
Saw X movie poster from Lionsgate.

Spoiler Warning: Initial review includes mild plot spoilers for “Saw X” and the “Saw” series as a whole. Major plot spoilers for “Saw X” are only included in the “Trap Ranking” Section.

In 2004, the first “Saw” movie was released. Then, America was introduced to the fictional serial killer named John Kramer. In every addition to the “Saw” series, Kramer, also known as “Jigsaw,” traps people into elaborate and complicated machines and puzzles designed to torture them and “teach them a lesson” about their past “sins.” 

Released on Sept. 29 of this year, “Saw X” follows John Kramer as he travels to Mexico to try an off the books treatment to cure his cancer. Unfortunately, this “treatment” turns out to be a scheme by a group of con artists (Cecilia, Gabriella, Mateo, Valentina, and Diego) who Kramer then kidnaps and puts through a series of saw traps to teach them a twisted lesson of his own.

“Saw X,” despite being the 10th film in a nearly 20-year-old franchise, feels just as fresh and entertaining as ever. At 81 years old, Tobin Bell returns to reprise his role as John Kramer, despite Kramer’s canonical death in “Saw III.”

This return of a deceased character is nothing new for the “Saw” franchise, as Bell has continued to reprise his role in the Saw series despite being dead since “Saw III”, whether it be in flashback form, or a recording from the past, or, in the case of “Saw X”, the entire movie taking place in the past, sometime after the original “Saw” film, but before “Saw II.”

Getting to what I actually thought of the film, I think it was incredibly entertaining, and probably among one of the best in the series. It’s not perfect and definitely falls short of a masterpiece, but I had a fun time watching. 

The writing wasn’t impeccable and the dialogue in many scenes kind of dragged on, restating the same basic idea over and over without end. Some scenes could’ve been so much shorter and better if they cleaned up the clunky dialogue. Then again, at times the dialogue is soap opera-esque and campy in a fun way that the “Saw” series is known for. 

As a self proclaimed “film kid” (and Film Association Assistant Creative Director), I can say the cinematography in the film is what I would describe as occasionally entrancing. Some shots and sequences really stood out, such as the opening scene of Kramer getting a medical scan; the lighting made for interesting shot composition, and the differing colors are striking.

Now let’s get to the part of the movie everyone really cares about: the traps. They were equal parts terrifying and creative. I wanted to look away from the horrifying pain the characters were going through on screen, but I couldn’t because of just how visceral and realistic the effects were. I’ll talk more about my specific thoughts on each trap towards the end of the review.  

The story does a pretty good job at staying engaging all throughout, it seems to speed up and slow down at fairly random intervals.

The film has one fast paced trap scene with all sorts of gore and intense music, and then immediately afterwards cuts to a long conversation between Kramer and his assistant/protege, Amanda, played by Shawnee Smith. This doesn’t hinder the film too much, however, as it has occasional moments of high energy excitement to keep you interested. 

While it is a horror film, I wouldn’t describe “Saw X” as particularly scary. The film is incredibly gory, violent, and at times painful and hard to watch due to the gruesome things the characters go through. There are moments of suspense, but I found that during most of the film’s dialogue (of which there is a lot), I was just anxious for the next chillingly disgusting trap. 

I think one of the film’s biggest strengths is how it’s equally enjoyable to “Saw” fans and nonfans alike. I saw the film with a friend who had never seen a “Saw” movie before, let alone any horror movie, and he seemed to enjoy it. As a fan of the entire series, the return of characters from the previous films like Amanda, and Detective Gordon in the post credit scene, really had me excited, although these characters’ stories are already done, it was still fun to get to see them again.

Overall, “Saw X” is an enjoyable film and a welcome addition to the series. It keeps what works about the other movies, but adds just enough new traps and ideas to avoid seeming repetitive. I would highly recommend seeing this film, especially during the current Halloween season. 

SAW X TRAP RANKINGS!

  1. Brain Surgery – This trap is horrifically brilliant. The close ups of the skull and skin from the top of Mateo’s head being ripped off and the traumatic visuals of him having to cut out pieces of his own brain made me want to throw up, just like Gabriella did in the film. Then, just when you think it’s finally over, Mateo fails the challenge and Kramer burns his face off with an iron mask. Truly sickeningly surprising. 
  2. Eye Vacuum – The movie’s first trap and one of the most promising, it starts the movie off with a revolting bang. The painful imagery and sound design of the janitor getting his eyes sucked out is horrifying, and is not relieved at all by the trap apparently being just in Kramer’s imagination. 
  3. Bone Marrow – Such a painful trap to watch. I can’t even imagine how someone would come up with a trap like this, it was incredibly disgusting. This trap was slightly aggravating for me though, as I felt like Valentina definitely beat this trap, she put a lot of bone marrow into the machine like she was supposed to, but she still died anyway. Seems kind of unfair. 
  4. Arm Scalpels – Just as creative, gory and innovative as the top three, but all traps aren’t made equal, and some have to be higher than others. 
  5. Radiation Lamp – Very terrifying to watch. The idea of being burned by a radiation lamp and having to break your own bones to escape is a creepy one.
  6. Blood Boarding – This definitely unlocked a new fear I didn’t know I had, but it just seems somewhat less creative compared to the other traps we had seen at this point in the movie. 
  7. Gas Room – While very creative and a climactic plot twist to end the film on, this simply doesn’t feel like a satisfying way to kill off the two main villains of the film. It feels less painful and difficult than the traps for the other victims, even though I felt Parker and especially Cecilia deserved more punishment than the other con artists.
  8.  “War Scars” – This is going at the bottom for obvious reasons: it isn’t really a trap. While it’s a cool piece of continuity used to explain that Henry was also in on the con, the movie ends before we get to see how the trap really plays out or what the rules even are, so overall, very anticlimactic, as it’s just not a finished trap. 
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Gavin Leser, Content Team Editor
Gavin Leser is a 2 year staffer and Content Team Editor on The Muse. He loves playing with dogs and watching WWE, and hopes to be a filmmaker one day. He loves writing opinion pieces and reviews, and joined The Muse because he loves writing. He looks forward to managing his team this year, Team Goobers.
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