Considered. Heartfelt. Human. Three word you wouldn’t normally associate with the Saw franchise but SAW X is exactly all three and more. You see, this tenth entry is an emotional journey into the trauma John Kramer suffered and examines the reason why he became even more compelled to right wrongs in his own twisted fashion. This review does contain some small spoilers.
Set between the events of SAW I and II, a sick and desperate John (Tobin Bell) travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer – only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable. Armed with a newfound purpose, the infamous serial killer returns to his work, turning the tables on the con artists in his signature visceral way through devious, deranged, and ingenious traps.
Although the twist in the plot was well documented in the trailer and any sort of PR, this doesn’t take any power from the movie. The sympathy you have for Kramer is huge and the script gives Bell the chance to truly flex his acting muscles. We have never seen Kramer this fragile, even when he was bed bound and gives us the strongest performance of Kramer yet.
The supporting cast do a great job of trying to justify their actions and motives to be part of the global fraud. The movie stays true to the SAW legacy and doesn’t water down the violence or gore, in fact this is probably one of the most vicious of the entire run. The return of Shawnee Smith is smartly done giving the character of Amanda more depth and understanding as why she chose Kramer as her “life coach”.
The score from series composer Charlie Clouser adds so much delicate tones to the movie during the first forty minutes or so, with piano and electric strings floating in and out, truly wonderful.
The transfer on the Blu-ray is solid, bright and gives great depth to the darker moments of the movie. It is a light and shade movie, and it handles both perfectly. The surround sound mix keeps the dialogue clear and at the front with letting the more bombastic moments drown out what’s being said. The aforementioned score sounds incredible ad when the track Zepp X kicks in the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. And you have to stay for the post credit sequence.
Extras wise we get and Audio Commentary with Director/Editor Kevin Greutert, Cinematographer Nick Matthews and Production Designer Anthony Stabley, Reawakening is a superb collection of documentaries looking at how the movie brought the sags back to life, Drawing Inspiration: Illustrated Scene Breakdowns with Director/Editor Kevin Greutert, Make-Up Department Trap Tests, 13 Deleted Scenes and Theatrical Trailer.
SAW X is a triumph, a smart way of continuing the series and stands up to repeated viewings.