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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

‘Saw X,’ the epitome of human torture

A movie poster for the film “Saw X” depicts a person screaming while having tubes over their eyes. “Saw X” is now out in theaters and continues the franchise with more torture traps and thrilling plot-twists. (Photo: Business Wire)

Editor’s note: This review contains spoilers and discusses source material that may be disturbing to some readers.

For those who want to sit in a theater for almost two hours and witness the creativity of human torture traps, “Saw X” makes the top of the list of films to watch. 

The Saw franchise spans over a decade with the first movie being released in 2004 and containing the famous bear trap scene. The movies are scary, but they don’t fall into the horror category. There are no jumpscares or ghosts or evil demon possession; instead, the films keep with the thriller genre due to human torture being the antagonist’s way of killing. 

John Kramer (Tobin Bell) plays the infamous trap-setter Jigsaw who likes to play games with his victims by putting them in near-impossible escape situations. “Saw X” is the sequel to “Saw” and the prequel to “Saw II,” with “Saw X” going into Kramer’s origin story. 

The premise is as follows: Kramer is desperate to find a cure for his brain cancer and takes a chance on The Pederson Project, an organization that tells him that they can take the tumor out of his brain. Kramer flies to Mexico to stay at the organization’s off-the-grid location because that isn’t sketchy at all. 

Kramer arriving in Mexico is where the film changes. This is also when viewers meet the people Kramer will later hold prisoner and murder. The story begins to pick up the pace, and we go from a contemporary style movie to a thriller. 

After his brain surgery, Kramer is told by Dr. Cecilia Pederson (Synnøve Macody Lund), head of The Pederson Project, that the tumor was successfully removed, and he should be in good health in no time.

The next sequence of events seems to happen in a whirlwind of plot twists. Kramer goes back to the Pederson location to find everything abandoned, like everyone who resided there packed up their things and left in a hurry. Equipment was destroyed, and tools were scattered everywhere on the ground. Kramer soon connects the dots and realizes that the tumor in his brain has not been removed. He was put under anesthesia for hours, just for the “doctors” to perform absolutely nothing on him.

After Kramer throws a bottle of alcohol across the room and the music begins to sound daunting, Kramer enlists the help of one of his apprentices, Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), the survivor of the first film, to track down the four people who betrayed him. He then holds them hostage and makes them the victims of torture traps that make me commend the writers for their creativity. 

For example, the anesthesiologist Mateo (Octavio Hinojosa) is restrained in a chair, having an electric collar around his neck. Each victim has to complete their task within three minutes, and Mateo’s task is to dig into his own brain and cut out a piece of it. Being completely awake, he has to take the piece of his brain and put it in a dish that’s filled with a clear liquid that will dissolve the gray matter. Of course, he doesn’t do it in time, and before the viewers know it, a mask clamps over his face, burning him alive. 

The film is incredibly gorey and, at times, will make you wonder how the people Kramer is torturing do not die of blood loss before they die by the traps. The movie made me uncomfortable, and this is a first for having my hands covering my eyes for 80% of the film. 

The horror and thriller genre relies on believable acting, special effects and a fitting film score. “Saw X” executed all three, but the film score is what stood out. Scary movies like to use pause breaks, where everything is silent and where the director wants viewers to be on their toes or leaning forward in their seats. During this film’s breaks, music emphasizes the more dramatic moments. From a fast-paced, piano driven beat to slow, heart dropping sounds, the score made the gore and torture feel more real. 

In the rankings of scary movies, “Saw X” ranks pretty high in my mind, as it gets the job done. Kramer is a psychopath, and the film portrays this through his actions as well as his motivations for doing what he does. 

His belief is that people need to appreciate life more, and the only way to do that is to put them in near-death experiences so that they can be reborn.

“Saw X” delivers both a disturbing and fascinating story that makes viewers question the power of free will and how bad someone can really be. The movie felt like a bigger version of “would you rather,” but both choices doom you, and there’s no right answer.

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