‘Saw X’ (2023) Spoiler Free Review

The tenth installment of the ‘Saw’ franchise is a prequel set between the events of ‘Saw’ (2004) and ‘Saw II’ (2005), using an exchange of dialogue from ‘Saw VI’ (2009) as a jumping off point for its story. It is written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger, whom previously wrote ‘Jigsaw’ (2017) and ‘Spiral: From the Book of Saw’ (2021), and is directed by Kevin Greutert, who edited the first eight films and directed both ‘Saw VI’ (2009) and ‘Saw VII: The Final Chapter’ (2010).

The story follows John Kramer (Tobin Bell) as he pursues the experimental cancer treatment from the Norway-based Pederson Project (first mentioned in the sixth film during a flashback), which has set up shop in Mexico, and is now run by Dr. Finn Pederson’s daughter, Cecilia (Synnove Macody Lund). However, soon after the “procedure”, John learns the true nature of the Pederson Project, and calls upon his apprentices for help. Joining John in Mexico is his newest recruit, Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), and the two set about collecting Cecilia and those who assisted her: Diego (Joshua Okamoto), Mateo (Octavio Hinojosa), Gabriela (Renata Vaca), and Valentina (Paulette Hernandez), to teach them lessons that they’ll never forget.

Saw X’ is absolutely the best of the three films written by Stolberg and Goldfinger, and is definitely one of the best films in the franchise. There is a patience to the storytelling here as it follows John’s journey, and allowing us to get invested in this particular story by taking the time to explore John’s character from a different light. Out of all of the films in the series, this does the best job at letting the audience truly get to know the character; his faulty logic still remains, but this time you’ll end up rooting for him. Tobin Bell gives one hell of a fine performance, carrying the film with ease and is a joy to watch on screen. One of the great things here is how it builds on the dynamic between John and Amanda, whom we also get to see a different side to, and with these two roles being flipped to protagonists, the antagonist this time are those who must endure Jigsaw’s game. But not all involved in the traps are equal in their participation of the scam – particularly one character whom Amanda sympathizes with – and so there’s a bit of moral complexity to group being tested. That said, the leader of the scam, Cecilia makes for a great antagonist in the series, and the first of which who is not a part of Jigsaw’s team, and her evil shines in the films third act.

As far as the traps go, they are pretty damn good. We see one earlier on that is presented in a clever way that highlights John’s genius and is visually unique for the series. The traps themselves throughout the rest of the film are cool and equally gory to any other in the franchise, although there was one in particular that made me squirm.

The score from Charlie Clouser is fantastic, but that should not be a surprise to anyone. In other news, water is wet.

Overall, ‘Saw X’ stands as one of my favorites. It has a compelling story, strong characterization, effective violence, a terrific score, a strong mid-credits sequence, and is a sequel that is both familiar and refreshing. I’m not quite sure where this film will fall onto my ranking, but it is easily one of the top 3 in the series.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel for every single episode of THS DISCOURSE and HORROR MOVIE MASSACRE! Follow The Horror Syndicate on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

About Seth T. Miller 90 Articles
I am first and foremost a proud father of two daughters who may or may not be possessed by demonic entities/deadites -- time will tell on that one, but I am pretty confident that one of them translated the Necronomicon. I enjoy short walks to my movie collection, reading in goddamn piece and quiet, and watching the same movies and tv series over and over instead of discovering new stuff.