Saw X
The tenth Saw film ultimately doesn’t add much to the franchise and is only recommended for those who watched these films since the beginning.

Saw X

Release Date: September 29, 2023
Runtime: 01:58
A sick and desperate John travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable.

The Jigsaw killer seeks vengeance against those running a fraudulent cancer clinic in Mexico in . John Kramer (), aka the notorious Jigsaw killer, is given at most a year to live from his brain cancer. One day, John comes across fellow cancer patient Henry Kessler () and sees that he is miraculously cured of his pancreatic cancer. John is referred to the Pederson Project, run by Norwegian doctor Cecilia Pederson (), who is carrying on her father's work in providing a miracle crew of a drug regimen combined with surgery. John pays to receive treatment at a top-secret clinic located in an old chemical factory outside of Mexico City. However, soon afterwards, John discovers that the whole operation was a scam and with the help of his associate Amanda Young (), Jigsaw kidnaps those responsible and makes them play his games.

Saw X Synopsis

Saw X is the tenth entry in the long-running horror franchise, following the eight main entries and the 2021 standalone film Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Directed by returning filmmaker Kevin Greutert (Saw VI, Saw 3D: The Final Chapter) and screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger (Jigsaw, Spiral: From the Book of Saw), the film sees Tobin Bell's Jigsaw killer John Kramer move into the protagonist role, with a story that is set between the first two Saw movies.

As part of his plan of vengeance, Jigsaw and Amanda kidnap Cecilia Pederson and her accomplices and chain them up in the very chemical factory where the fraudulent cancer clinic is set up. One by one, the prisoners are subjected to one of Jigsaw's gruesome traps for a chance at redemption. Jigsaw's games are interrupted at one point by the arrival of Parker Sears (), a fellow defrauded patient looking for revenge of his own.

My Thoughts on Saw X

Even though I later caught up with the first film and watched Spiral: From the Book of Saw as a COVID-era curiosity, I was never one to jump on board the Saw franchise bandwagon, which at its peak saw a new entry being released every year between 2004 and 2010. If anything, Saw X proves that I was right about skipping the previous films, since the “torture porn” of the traps is more sickening than horrifying. This film includes everything from vacuuming up eyeballs to sucking up bone marrow from an amputated femur to cutting out pieces of brain matter and I truly got sick to the stomach watching it all.

What makes Saw X interesting is how it refocuses the perspective to make John Kramer more of an antihero than an outright villain, with the film showing his human side and the early days of Amanda Young as Jigsaw's apprentice. The only problem is that nearly two decades have passed since the first Saw and while Tobin Bell looks more or less the same as he always had, Shawnee Smith is looking a lot more wrinkled, despite her sporting a short hairdo to mimic the appearance Amanda has in Saw II.

While Jigsaw takes on more of an antihero stance, this leaves Cecilia Pederson to be the true villain of Saw X. Played by Norwegian actor Synnøve Macody Lund (Headhunters, The Girl in the Spider's Web), Cecilia is a character that you most end up rooting for to fall victim to one of Jigsaw's traps. Most of the rest of the victims end up being fodder with no real character development, though Amanda develops sympathy for the drug-addicted Gabriela (), who was arguably the member of the scam John Kramer was most personally hurt by.

Ultimately, Saw X is a film that doesn't add much to the ultimate mythology of the franchise and only exists to show the original Jigsaw in action again while 81-year-old Tobin Bell is still alive to appear in these films. Those who spent the last two decades religiously watching these films every Halloween are probably the ones who will take away the most from Saw X. Others like me are best advised for less queasy horror film experiences.

Trailer for Saw X

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.