Rarely in recent years has a series of films divided audiences in the way the Saw franchise has managed. To some, the films are cult classics that have helped define the modern horror genre, to others, the seemingly endless run of sequels have tried but ultimately failed to recreate the brilliance that was the first, and widely regarded, best Saw instalment. Billed as ‘the final chapter’, we were intrigued to discover if this would indeed prove to be the final piece of the jigsaw.

As a teaser of the new series of torture devices to come, the films’ two key storylines are briefly held back whilst for the first time, a ‘moral test’ is played out in front of the public. Following the inevitable bloodshed, the film is poised to release onto its audience more traps than ever before seen in one Saw instalment. Herein however lies our first issue. Having seemingly challenged themselves to cram as many traps as possible into a 90 minute window, the time needed to develop both the storyline and the characters is lost.

Saw Final Chapter film review PlayEject

This won't end well…

Picking up from the end of Saw XI, The Final Chapter finds Jigsaw’s Widow Jill running to the police to save herself from her husband’s former partner, Detective Hoffman. In exchange for immunity, Jill is willing to share all she knows of the Jigsaw murders. Sensing the police to be closing in on him, Hoffman appears intent on seeking revenge on Jill, a character many will feel saddened to see reduced to the role of a seemingly weak and frightened individual, having previously been portrayed as the strength behind Jigsaw.

Whilst consumed with revenge, Hoffman (who sadly, can never truly fill the Jigsaw role) still finds time to put in place the pieces for one last game. The Victim? Bobby Dagen a best selling author and motivational speaker who tours the country sharing his story of hope having survived at the hands of Jigsaw. His Crime? Bobby was never a victim, merely an opportunist profiting from the suffering endured by others.

Saw Final Chapter

I wanna play a game

Somewhat predictably, Bobby finds himself facing a series of tests which incorporate those individuals close to him that have helped hide his lies. Only through his own suffering can Bobby save the lives of others and ultimately save the life of his much-loved wife (from whom he has also hidden his lies).

For the purists, the film frustrates in failing to follow the basic rules of the game. Jigsaw’s twisted ideology was always one of testing his victims to the extreme. To live or die however still remained a choice. By putting Bobby in control of the lives of others, this choice is removed and the tests become an exercise in killing, with the lessons of valuing life lost.

Whilst the unexpected yet welcomed return of Dr Gordon (last seen at the end of the very first Saw) brings with it the opportunity to provide answers to many of the Saw story’s unanswered questions, this seemingly neat and tidy end feels a little underwhelming for a franchise that has always looked to shock and terrify its audience.

Guest reviewed by @dallasdavies

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