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REVIEW: “Saw X” — John “Jigsaw” Kramer makes a harrowing return to the cult franchise

REVIEW: “Saw X” — John “Jigsaw” Kramer makes a harrowing return to the cult franchise - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Billy the Puppet in Saw X (2023). Horror fans will welcome the stomach-churning gore throughout the film with open arms. Photo courtesy of Alexandro Bolaños Escamilla/Lionsgate

This review was updated Oct. 19 at 10 a.m. to change a subheading. 

Warning: some spoilers ahead. 

The highly anticipated “Saw” franchise returned late last month and had fans excited to see what Jigsaw has in store for his new victims.

Even in its tenth installment, “Saw X” varies wildly from all other previous “Saw” movies.

From the production design, and the setting, to the traps and even the scenes that give the audience some sliver of hope, only for it to be ripped from them like the infamous angel harness of death — “Saw X” is adrenaline packed into a two-hour long movie.

The movie follows John Kramer, dedicatedly played by actor Tobin Bell, as he travels to Mexico to undergo an experimental procedure that could potentially cure his brain cancer. After his surgery, Kramer finds out he’s been scammed. 

The audience can’t help but empathize with Kramer after the dramatism of the revealing scene.

Driven by revenge, Kramer tracks down the con-artists who defrauded him and the tables turn. 

The crooks are shackled and tied up in the same warehouse where they had pretended to perform Kramer’s surgery. 

The actors did a good job in displaying their raw-like emotions and the special effects makeup made for believable depictions of gore. 

Scenes where blood, guts, and limbs are thrown at viewers will make the audience want to look away in repulsion, yet remain intrigued by the chaos.

Seeing Bell in his leading role as Kramer is fulfilling, as his character ‘Jigsaw’ has persisted as the center of the beloved horror series. 

Shawnee Smith also reprises her role as Jigsaw’s apprentice, Amanda Young.

Young’s character development throughout the franchise has also been notable and definitely worth mentioning. 

In earlier “Saw” films, Young seemed to be struggling, lost and apparently dealing with mental health issues.

“Saw X” revealed that Young is just as capable and frightening as her male counterpart. 

Smith’s character remained cold-blooded as she witnessed the games unfold throughout the story, regardless of how gruesome they were. 

While only a brief cameo, we also see Costas Mandylor reprise his role as detective lieutenant Mark Hoffman.

The intensity of the film continued into the post-credits with a scene that returns to the story of one of the forgotten con-artists, who we see restrained with some sort of torture device attached to his chest. 

Lt. Hoffman then says to the con-artist “Of all the men to cheat, you picked John Kramer?”

Cleverly placed at the very end of the movie, this fear-inducing line serves as a reminder of the truly sadistic nature of Kramer and his ‘Jigsaw’ alias.

Ultimately, horror fans will welcome the stomach-churning gore with open arms.

Whether viewers are long-time fans of the franchise, or just checking in, audiences are sure to enjoy “Saw X” and may even be left wanting more.

About the Author

Victoria Arredondo
Assistant Editor
Victoria Arredondo is a senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio majoring in English and communications and minoring in psychology. Victoria received her associate degree from Palo Alto College along with her high school diploma in 2018 from Frank L. Madla Early College High School. In her downtime, Victoria enjoys reading, writing poetry and short stories, watching horror movies and spending time with friends. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

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