Saw X Review: A Gory New Approach to Jigsaw

Review: Saw X boldly explores the internal psyche of Jigsaw, offering a fresh perspective on a character synonymous with unrelenting horror and gore. Director Kevin Greutert approaches the material in a new fashion, often compounded by a great central performance from Tobin Bell

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Tobin Bell in Saw X (2023)

Saw X Review

Saw X emerges from the twisted mind of director Kevin Greutert, delivering a surprisingly refreshing take on the notorious Saw franchise. In this tenth installment, the filmmakers, led by writers Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, shift the focus to a more sympathetic exploration of the series’ iconic character, John Kramer, played wonderfully by Tobin Bell.

The film opens with some table setting before the kills get underway: John Kramer, the headlining Jigsaw killer, is diagnosed with advanced brain cancer and given only months to live. This unexpected vulnerability in the character sets the tone for a unique journey that ventures into the psyche of the infamous torturer. It’s a daring move that pays off, allowing the audience to witness a side of Jigsaw rarely explored in previous entries.

Jigsaw’s Revenge Tour becomes the central theme, as the movie unfolds with a swift and effective pace, courtesy of Greutert, who serves as both director and editor. The synergy between direction and editing is noticeable and effective, contributing to the film’s seamless flow. The cinematography by Nick Matthews maintains the signature Saw aesthetic, complementing the franchise’s gritty and grim atmosphere.

The character depth provided to John Kramer elevates Tobin Bell’s performance to new heights. Bell, a stalwart for much of the series, delivers one of his best acting performances, injecting layers of emotion and complexity into a character that has, at times, felt rigid. The decision to dive deeper into Kramer’s backstory adds a multi-dimensional richness to the character, making him more human than ever before.

Shawnee Smith’s return as Amanda, Jigsaw’s apprentice, is a welcome reunion, adding continuity to the narrative. The chemistry between Bell and Smith brings back a sense of nostalgia for longtime fans while still introducing fresh dynamics to the story. Synnøve Macody Lund as Cecilia, the mastermind behind a twisted plot against Kramer, holds her own among the established cast.

The traps, a hallmark of the Saw franchise and are ultimately where each movie lives or dies, are as gruesome and inventive as ever. The filmmakers strike a delicate balance between the visceral and the symbolic, creating scenarios that feel like a form of retribution for the character of John Kramer. The violence is relentless, eye-popping (sometimes literally), and occasionally shocking, satisfying the gore enthusiasts while maintaining a strong narrative purpose.

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Saw X succeeds in expanding the franchise’s lore, unraveling insightful details about John Kramer’s past. The movie adds depth to a character who has often been defined by his ominous presence and cryptic messages. The incorporation of the movie’s lone post-credits scene not only ties up a few loose ends but also hints at potential future developments in the Saw universe.

While the film excels in many aspects, there are moments where it harkens back to the classic Saw formula, potentially deflating the tension for seasoned fans familiar with the series’ conventions. However, the movie’s adventurous spirit, inventive traps, and the unexpected vulnerability of its central character make it stand out among the later entries in the franchise.

Saw X is a unique and singular addition to the Saw legacy. It boldly explores the internal psyche of Jigsaw, offering a fresh perspective on a character synonymous with unrelenting horror and gore. Greutert, Stolberg, Goldfinger, and the cast deliver a film that not only pays homage to its predecessors but also ventures into uncharted territory, making it one of the standout horror movies of 2023.


Genre: Horror, Thriller

Watch Saw X (2023) on VOD here

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Saw X Movie Cast and Credits

saw x movie review 2023


Tobin Bell as John Kramer

Shawnee Smith as Amanda

Synnøve Macody Lund as Cecilia Pederson

Steven Brand as Parker Spears

Renata Vaca as Gabriela

Joshua Okamoto as Diego


Director: Kevin Greutert

Writers: Josh StolbergPete Goldfinger

Original Writers: James WanLeigh Whannell

Cinematography: Nick Matthews

Editor: Kevin Greutert

Composer: Charlie Clouser

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