ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

Do you want to play a game?

Any fan of the Saw franchise knows that question has less than desirable consequences, and thus the sensible side of your brain should already be peddling away faster than you can say "ventriloquist's dummy." Yet lurking in the shadows of your darker side is a demented little voice whispering, "Oh come on, come back. It's Halloween. What's more topical than a few fucked up games between friends?"

I think we all know which side you'll be listening to. Luckily for you, fucked up games are what you're going to get. The ghost of John Kramer is back, baby, and it is honoring a tradition 13 years in the making. Like its seven predecessors, number eight on the Saw franchise train — Jigsaw, directed by The Spierig Brothers (Undead, Predestination) will hit theaters this Friday, just before Halloween. That's October 27, giving you a tidy four days to get that Billy cosplay updated just in time to spook the bejesus out of your entire neighborhood once again.

Billy 'Jigsaw' [Credit: Lionsgate Films]
Billy 'Jigsaw' [Credit: Lionsgate Films]

Jigsaw picks up one decade after the death of its titular killer, Jigsaw, a.k.a. John Kramer, and takes place during an investigation that leads police back down a familiar path. A mysterious madman is rounding up victims to participate in his sadistic little games — like sticking metal buckets over people's heads and dragging their bodies towards a wall covered in saw blades, for example — and evidence points towards the cloaked maniac who passed on 10 years previously.

Check out the official trailer below:

Running scared? More like running to the theater!

With the throes of terrifying tormentors that have taken the 2017 box office by storm, Jigsaw is in excellent company. The reboot of Stephen King's It, a tale of a shape-shifting, balloon-toting, child-snatching clown by the name of Pennywise, banked big bucks last month. The movie scored a worldwide take of $631 million and counting, and earned its place in horror history. Similarly, the latest addition to the Conjuring universe, Annabelle: Creation, scored an impressive $300 million, propelling the Conjuring franchise to the upper echelon of horror success. That puts it right alongside its James Wan-spawned brethren (you guessed it) Saw. This means that not only are you, the demented horror fan, in good company, but that the Hollywood overlords have heard your pleas for good revivals of modern horror classics and they are delivering. And we are absolutely loving it.

Yet while it's certainly true to say that Jigsaw is similar to the aforementioned titles in that its content is as twisted as you'd expect for a horror movie dedicated to offing its participants in the most deplorable situations imaginable, one element elevates it to a far more disturbing level: the motivation of John Kramer, and the influence he holds over people who won't let his memory fade.

While Pennywise jams around in the sewers, popping up every 30 years to make neighborhood kids float in his weird gravity-free lair, and Annabelle chooses to haunt a bunch of orphans, there's nothing supernatural about Kramer, which makes his character infinitely more believable.

[Credit: Lionsgate]
[Credit: Lionsgate]

Although his contraptions ranged from the ridiculously simple to the plain ridiculous, Kramer's horrifying appeal is that he's the kind of twisted dude who bases his torture in morality. He's hellbent on making his wayward victims appreciate their life by making them face the idea of losing it. And he's not an impossible to kill monster type, either. Hell, he's already dead — he died getting his throat slashed by a circular saw like five movies ago.

Kramer's methodology, which requires only ingenuity, willpower, and a couple trips to the hardware store, also makes it easy for copycats to spring up in his wake. So we have the world of Jigsaw, where Kramer is hailed by cultish followers as a moral guide, even a messiah of sorts, and his acts may be continued not just by one crazed follower, but many.

So all-encompassing was Kramer's plan to make people face the precious nature of existence that he pre-recorded a whole catalogue of grim messages to play to his victims from beyond the grave. Talk about prepared. And psychotic. So not only does this movie promise to scare the living crap out of you, but it has the potential to make you appreciate your life, too! For me, that kind of believable, reflective horror is so much scarier. It's also the nope-giving kind of creepy I'm ready for this Halloween. How about you?

Jigsaw is coming to a theater near you this Friday. Get ready to play the game!

(Sources: Rotten Tomatoes, Box Office Mojo)


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