JANUARY 12 ― I pride myself on being able to figure out twists in films but when The Sixth Sense first came out in 1999, I was totally fooled.
This is nothing to be ashamed of as most viewers were as well but I vowed to myself that no other film would get the better of me again.
I did succeed in figuring out some films after that but in 2004, one film again totally fooled me from beginning to end.
That film was Saw. The original one which spawned several sequels. There will be spoilers ahead for the entire Saw series so please stop here if you wish to remain unspoiled!
Saw is more of a thrill ride than a film. Because there is always a clock involved, the viewer is constantly on the edge of his seat waiting for the inevitable consequence.
The first Saw film back in 2004 opened with two characters trapped and chained in a public toilet. To escape they would have to use a saw (hence the name of the film) and amputate a leg.
Needless to say, they try other means to escape but ultimately fail.
However, the best part of the film is the fact that the killer (John Kramer or Jigsaw) was there watching them all along without them knowing it.
He is the “dead body” holding the gun! That was a stroke of genius and no one I know predicted that twist. I was certainly taken in!
When Saw 2 came out, it had me wondering ― how on earth were they going to top the first film?
This time, there was a whole group of people trapped in a house and as usual, there are all sorts of tests for them to overcome.
There is even one person who was a former victim in the original film and therein lies the twist! You see, there cannot be a repeat victim in the saw test!
Once you pass the test, you are free for life. This young woman was a plant ― she was a disciple of John Kramer who was planted to manipulate the rest of the victims!
That again caught everyone out and while less impactful that the first film’s twist, I was satisfied with my viewing experience.
The third Saw was entertaining but again, the impact of the twist was less and the inclusion of various other characters did nothing to help.
Subsequent films were clearly just money makers and for a terminal cancer patient, John Kramer had a surprisingly long life.
2017 saw the revival of the franchise after seven years (2010’s Saw 3D) in a sequel called Jigsaw. I was of course sceptical until a really popular film guru said it was better than the later sequels of the original series. I decided to give it a chance.
It turns out he was right! Jigsaw, while lacking the sheer force of the original film, had a very clever twist which, yes, did make a fool of this film fan!
I was certainly shocked to see John Kramer alive after 10 years (when Jigsaw was set). There was a very immersive parallel narrative that kept me guessing how the film would logically play out.
I was actually worried that the writers had abandoned logic altogether and decided that it was superfluous! They did not, thankfully, do that.
Rather the twist brought everything together and I was very satisfied with the outcome although the gore at the end was a little cartoonish, if you ask me.
Is Jigsaw the start of another series? I would not mind it if the new one is as clever as this film but it will be increasingly harder to hit the mark. Whatever the case, do give this film a chance.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.