Saw X

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any streaming offers for Saw X.

The best “Saw” sequel in years was produced as a result of the failure of “Spiral: From the Book of Saw,” which is unusual for the tenth installment of a lucrative franchise to atone for. By narrowing its focus, getting rid of some (but not all) of the convoluted plotline, devising a few clever traps, and really putting Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith in the spotlight, “Saw X” resolves many of the issues of other films in this franchise.

They both perform better here than they ever have in any other movie in the series, bringing these characters back to life in a way that feels more emotionally impactful than the majority of the string-pulling they’ve done in previous movies. And compared to some of the earlier chapters, where it occasionally seemed like the Jigsaw Killer was going to great lengths to punish those who might have only had a terrible day or didn’t call their grandma enough, this chapter’s punishments appear to better reflect the offenses.

It’s more intimate this time. In the opening sequence of Kevin Greutert’s movie, Jigsaw imagines a trap for a possible killer as if a producer had written, “We can’t go half an hour without something gnarly.”

The opening act describes John Kramer (Bell) receiving the heartbreaking news of his impending death. If you’re thinking, “Wait, didn’t that happen already?” and “Hold on, John Kramer is dead,” you should know that this one takes place between “Saw” and “Saw II,” so Kramer has already turned into the Jigsaw Killer but isn’t, well, dead yet.

Bell gets a chance to portray the drama of accepting an early death in the first act of “Saw X,” which fans know ironically won’t be the thing that kills him in the end. He meets a man named Michael Beach at therapy who likewise has a limited amount of time remaining on Earth.

Later, when he runs into the group member, he is astonished to discover that the now-healthy man had received a life-saving procedure. Kramer becomes entangled in the web of Dr. Cecilia Pederson (Synnove Macody Lund), who performs brain surgery there because she has to conduct her experiments in a remote location. Of course, Cecilia and the group of experts surrounding her are complicit in a terrible swindle, defrauding the dying of the wealth they had hoped to leave to their loved ones and giving them the worst kind of false hope. They messed with the incorrect person this time.

We watch these guys do something terrible to John Kramer, and then he puts them in a room to play his games. In contrast to the convoluted and confusing setups of earlier “Saw” movies, this one is refreshingly straightforward. And Amanda (Smith), a fan favorite, is there to help things get appropriately nasty by using some of Jigsaw’s most intricate tools. Before you know it, someone is using an intestine as a rope while another victim is performing brain surgery on themself. At least the first few traps have a nice synergy in that the folks who pretended to do surgery now have to execute it. The designs and implementation of every trap are more intriguing than those of the majority of the sequels.

However, Kramer and Amanda’s open participation in the action is what actually makes the majority of “Saw X” compelling. As Kramer explains his goals and the stakes—two things that have frequently been hazy in this franchise—there is a lot less “man behind the curtain” activity. Bell can now devote more screen time than ever to the part, giving John Kramer more sympathy while still hurting people thanks to that decision. Smith doesn’t have as much to do, but she still manages to sell a couple excellent beats because she is familiar with the franchise and its requirements.

That was the issue with so many recent “Saw” episodes. By being crowded with characters that no one cared about and teaching teachings that seemed to be badly taught, they veered away from what worked. There is something more grounded about this movie than any of the other sequels, however it is hard to claim that “Saw X” returns to the fundamentals because that would require only two individuals in a room with a real saw. John Kramer’s purpose is once again at its core in “Saw X,” which asks viewers to reflect on what it really means to be alive while also exposing society’s shortcomings. A few amputated limbs along the way are merely a bonus.

Currently showing in cinemas.

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