Jigsaw in 4DX Review: Franchise Fred Wins

Thank you, Jigsaw for proving my theory that nothing guarantees another sequel like a franchise declaring a final chapter. It’s also my first horror movie in 4DX and proved to be a great match for the format.

The big question on mine and every fan’s mind is the big question of the movie. How can this still be a Jigsaw crime 10 years after John Kramer (Tobin Bell) died? And if it’s a copycat, is that the best you’ve got? Well, Jigsaw keeps that question at the forefront of the entire movie and makes you wait to find out. I was worried for a while that they were under the impression that John Kramer died of cancer. Any fan of Saw 3 knows he did not, but Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger play by the rules.

Jigsaw sets a more ambitious stage for a Saw movie. More than one scene takes place outdoors. Sure, there was always the detective story paralleling the game room, and it would have been easy and inexpensive to make another warehouse movie. The Spierig brothers expanded Jigsaw into a world that people inhabit.

Even the warehouse space for the main game has a different vibe. The traps are much higher tech than John Kramer’s old rusty Rube Goldberg machines, but they remain true to his spirit of anticipating your every move before you even knew you were going to make it. That’s what’s important. It’s a bit of a new exercise too. It’s not how can he make a Rube Goldberg trap with spare parts. Now Jigsaw embraces how elaborate can he possibly make a trap.

In some cases, Jigsaw has upgraded his recording technology, but don’t worry, there are still plenty of classic microcassette recorders. Man, hearing that Charlie Clouser theme again is special, even the new revamped mix, and the word SAW appears on screen before JIG joins it. The iconic imagery of someone shutting the door on a game remains as powerful as it was at the end of Saw.

The greatest 4DX effect is that whenever blood splatters, the water sprays, and spoiler alert, there’s a lot of water. Since Jigsaw is not in 3D you don’t have to worry about water messing up your glasses (unless you wear actual glasses, then I can’t help you.) If you ordered an alcoholic beverage at a Regal, do keep your hand over your cup.

I was worried that a 4DX experience for a horror movie, let alone a Saw movie, would be all aggressive jolts and back punches. I’m happy to report that Jigsaw was the most subtle 4DX I’ve yet experienced, even more than Baby Driver, although to be fair, there’s no dancing in Jigsaw.

The traps gradually ramp up the 4DX effects. Occasionally there is a jump but it’s earned, and other sudden jolts are intuitive to what’s happening on screen. If someone kicks a door in, the seat moves. That makes sense. And the buzzing saws do rumble your seats for you.

The strobe in the Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures logos must be the strobe points to make sure everything’s in sync. It also strobes when a screen flicks on a gunfire. There’s a good use of air jets too.

Just when I thought 4DX was the peak of experiencing a movie, they added more. The 4DX theater at CGV Buena Park is dressed as a haunted movie theater through Halloween night. Jigsaw is playing there if the above sounds like a cool experience. It sounds like a full-on theme park maze on your way into the theater with live performers jumping out to scare you and specially themed spooky concessions.

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