Almost all of the Saw movies share common threads in how they approach the gruesome traps, but Saw X bucks one major trend right away.
Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Saw X.
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- The traps in Saw X are still gruesome but are handled in a more cohesive and story-driven manner.
- Saw X breaks the franchise’s trend of opening with a death trap, focusing instead on John Kramer’s journey and his accomplice, Amanda.
- Saw X succeeds by stripping away the complex plots and unnecessary characters, returning to Jigsaw’s original objective and reviving the franchise brilliantly.
The heart of the Saw franchise has always been its gruesome but ingenious traps, and Saw X makes an impact by breaking one of the noteworthy trap trends seen throughout the franchise. As it stands currently, Saw X has the best Rotten Tomatoes score of any movie in the series, and one reason it’s getting good reviews is how it handles its traps. In past Saw movies, it seemed like sound plot structure and character motivation were ignored in favor of piling on the latest inventive death gadgets. Saw X proves that taking the focus off the traps and placing it on the characters makes for a higher-quality movie.
That’s not to say the traps in Saw X are dialed back. On the contrary, early Saw X reactions saw praise the nauseating nature of the movie’s trap concepts. This time, though, they’re woven into the story in a much more cohesive manner. That tone is set immediately, as Saw X breaks the franchise’s most significant trap trend right away.
Saw X Is The Second Saw Movie That Doesn’t Have An Opening Scene Trap
Unlike almost every other Saw movie, Saw X does not open with a death trap. In a majority of the franchise’s films, before the plot is expounded upon, the viewer watches a victim suffer and die in one of Jigsaw’s traps. The backstory behind it is typically addressed over the course of the movie. Saw X, however, opens with John Kramer being confronted with his terminal diagnosis — a scene that takes place somewhere between Saw and Saw II.
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Saw X is not the only installment to open without a trap, however. Saw IV begins with the autopsy of Kramer, which reveals a tape intended for Detective Mark Hoffman and sets the action of the sequel into motion. Jigsaw opens with a police chase, but that is revealed to be part of one of Jigsaw’s games. Both Saw IV and Jigsaw quickly get right into the deadly games, whereas Saw X leaves the focus on John for quite some time before the first trap is introduced.
Saw X Breaking The Opening Scene Trap Trend Was Brilliant
Breaking the opening scene trap trend is an extremely clever way to set the tone of Saw X, as it immediately establishes how different the sequel is from previous installments. The movie takes on a much more personal nature, centering its narrative distinctly on Tobin Bell’s John Kramer and his accomplice, Shawnee Smith’s Amanda. Because the primary focus is on John’s journey, it makes him a much more sympathetic character — which is no easy accomplishment considering he’s torturing people for most of the movie.
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Most of the Saw sequels suffer from overcomplicated plots and a glut of interchangeable characters, all sloppily working toward the next twist ending with little regard for narrative quality. Oftentimes the “crimes” of the trap victims seem ill-justified, making it appear as though Jigsaw’s acolytes lost Kramer’s original purpose behind the games. Saw X succeeds because it permits Kramer to work right out in the open, punishing people who truly deserve it. By stripping the complex plots and unnecessary characters, Saw X reminds moviegoers of Jigsaw’s original objective was and brilliantly revives the franchise.