Posts Tagged ‘Tobin Bell’

SAW X: 2 STARS. “an uneasy sensation that something terrible is coming.”

In the world of franchises when a character dies, they’re not really dead until people stop buying tickets to see the movies. Such is the case with “Saw X,” the latest instalment of the nineteen-year-old torture horror franchise.

Serial killer John “Jigsaw” Kramer, played by Tobin Bell, is the main antagonist of the “Saw” flicks. He’s the mastermind behind the ingenious traps, like the elaborate Laser Collar, the aptly named Knife Chair or the self-explanatory Shotgun Carousel, designed to inflict maximum physical and psychological trauma on his victims.

He is a bad man who communicates the bad news to his quarries through the creepy Billy the Puppet, a nightmarish ventriloquist’s dummy with garish red swirls on his cheeks.

Or I should say was a bad man. They killed the character off in “Saw III,” but in the “Saw” Universe, death isn’t enough to keep a good sadistic serial killer down, so he appears via flashback in subsequent instalments, and was the inspiration for a new killer in 2021’s “Spiral.”

Now through the magic of prequels, he’s back in the flesh, picking up the story where the 2004’s “Saw” left off.

The new film begins with Kramer, riddled with cancer, decamping to Mexico in the hopes of a miracle cure. The procedure is risky and experimental but, “The results have been stunning,” says Dr. Cecilia Pederson (Synnøve Macody Lund).

When it turns out the whole thing is a scam, designed to provide hope, but no actual medical benefit to patients, Kramer gets even in his own, terrible way.

“You all pretended to cure me,” he says, “but what I have planned for each of you is very real.”

The “Saw” movies pretend to have a moral, a manifesto driven by Kramer’s twisted sense of finding atonement through pain via deadly games of “Truth or Consequences.” That high minded philosophy is given lip service in “Saw X,” but takes a backseat to the graphic kills.

Put it this way: “Saw X” is less about the moral code and more about using a person’s intestines as a rope or sucking someone’s eyeballs right out of their sockets.

After a drawn out first hour of set up, the ick factor is notched up, making this the juiciest and goriest “Saw” film to date. Trouble is, it’s stomach-turning with very few scares. It’s unpleasant by design, but the dopamine hit you’re looking for, the rush of feeling scared in a theatre where you are safe, is replaced by a queasy feeling.

Each test is timed, and there are countdown clocks galore, ticking away to the end of the games, but there isn’t much tension, just an uneasy sensation that something terrible is coming.

It might be different if there was some kind of inventive symbolism in the games, a sense that there is something happening to stimulate the brain, not just the gag reflex.

For a movie that is all about games—Kramer refers to each of his tests as “games”—the R-rated “Saw X” is all gory games but very little fun.


Richard and CTV NewsChannel morning show host Angie Seth chat up the weekend’s big releases including the Alec Baldwin animated movie for kids “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” the Chris Pratt sci fi action flick “The Tomorrow War,” the crime drama “Zola,” the concert documentary Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) and the young adult horror flick “Let Us In.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with guest host Andrew Pinsent to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including the Alec Baldwin animated movie for kids “The Boss Baby: Family Business,” the Chris Pratt sci fi action flick “The Tomorrow War,” the crime drama “Zola,” the concert documentary Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) and the young adult horror flick “Let Us In.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

LET US IN: 2 ½ STARS. “all the earmarks of young adult horror.”

In the tradition of “Goosebumps” and “Goonies” comes “Let Us In,” a young adult horror film based on an urban myth and now playing on VOD.

Makenzie Moss stars as Emily, a grade seven student who carries around guilt related to the mysterious disappearance of her sister. Her best friend, child genius Christopher (O’Neill Monahan), is working on a device to communicate with aliens, which is well timed, given that their town is overrun with space vampires known as the “black-eyed kids.” They resemble pale skinned, hoody-wearing teens who spend too much time in the basement playing video games, but don’t let looks deceive.

Based on an urban myth, these kids have black, soulless eyes, alabaster skin, the toxic odor of “rotten molasses and pig droppings,” and, as if that wasn’t creepy enough, they harvest human adolescents, sending them away through a space portal.

Like earthbound vampires, the black-eyed kids don’t like bright lights and have to be invited in to your home, hence the title “Let Us In.” Sounds polite, no? Well, there’s also this. They don’t like to be told ‘no’ and will terrorize you until you say ‘yes’ and invite them onto your property.

With kids going missing all over town, Emily and Christopher use their wits to wage war with the aliens.

“Let Us In” has all the earmarks of young adult horror. There’s a creepy old guy (Tobin Bell) in a haunted house, plenty of jump scares, creaky doors and a child prodigy. What is doesn’t have is a lot of thrills. The lo-fi story relies on throwback practical effects, dark contact lenses and loads of alabastrine make-up, but the hair on the back of your neck will never stand up.

Perhaps it’s because the space vampires don’t seem particularly menacing. A stern talking to by any of the adults in the movie and I bet they’d all run to their rooms.

So, no big scares, but it’s fun to see Tobin Bell, who played Jigsaw in the “Saw” series, provide his character’s crazy backstory and loads of exposition in a scene that serves no real purpose other than to allow the veteran actor to have a bit of fun with some flowery language.

“Let Us In” is a generic kid’s horror film with a good idea but not enough scares.