Jigsaw Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
The law of diminishing returns stabs the Saw franchise in the neck with a needle full of acid but hopefully Jigsaw is the last entry in a franchise that further sullies the memory of the original movie.The fast food version of a Saw movie, Jigsaw retreads the same familiar torture porn material that the franchise has been churning out for years now, putting yet another bevy of random characters (literally) through the meat grinder in the name of a vengeful killer who everybody (viewers especially) has known to have been dead for the last decade. Devoid of actual characterisation, the film is just a series of supposedly innovative deaths – playing out like the Final Destination sequels in that all you're basically waiting for is to see what they can come up with next.Gone are the days of having a feeling of genuine stakes – lives you even vaguely care about on the line – people who are placed in impossible situations where the traps laid out for them often have painfully simple solutions that also require a moral component the individuals are just not prepared to commit to. Jigsaw's faceless cast of nobodies are just a bunch of red shirts, and even the colouful deaths are pretty tame when you consider what's come before - the legacy of the titular character himself (and his much-missed presence) reminding you of far better films that you'll wish you had watched instead.
Picture QualityJigsaw tortures us on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presented in 3840 x 2160p with a widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio, using 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range(HDR), encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. The UHD Blu-ray was reviewed on a Samsung UE55KS8000 Ultra HD TV and a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Although shot digitally at 2.8K, both the visual effects and the Digital Intermediate have been delivered at 2K, limiting the overall technical specsifications. However, despite these technical limitations, the end result still offers a nice, subtle upgrade over its 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition Blu-ray counterpart.
A modest, subtle, upgrade
Detail affords us fine object observation; skin textures and background nuances are given plenty of room to shine, with wounds getting perhaps the most pristine detailing and arguably the most noticeable uptick over the Blu-ray. Even the dingy setting looks remarkably polished, with HDR-enhanced black levels affording the piece added shadow detail, and rich wood tones evident throughout. The silvery shimmer of metal buzzsaws and cold blue glow of lasers stand out, the latter benefiting from the WCG implementation, which leaves the colours popping, and, of course there are rather frequent splashes of claret across the palette. It's a typically clean and reasonably perfected modern production, not particularly distinguishing itself from its Blu-ray counterpart but offering a modest, subtle upgrade that, technically, remains the definitive way to enjoy the feature. If 'enjoy' is the right word.
Sound QualityJigsaw secures itself both an immersive HD audio track in the form of a full-bodied Dolby Atmos mix, as well as a 2.0 option which is optimised for late night listening – although even the latter will give the neighbours cause for concern with all the screams resonating throughout the runtime. The preferred Atmos option is founded upon an already impressive Dolby TrueHD 7.1 base that does a very good job with the material itself, rendering demo audio at every stage, and popping with directionality and LFE weight as the imaginative traps tear through the characters.
The dolby Atmos soundtrack is demo quality
Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the frontal array, with only a little nominal normal-level dialogue during the police and autopsy sequences, whilst the actual 'victims' spend the majority of their time screaming at each other in desperation – or just screaming. Effects range from a volley of thunderous gunshots at the outset to a series of increasingly vicious death-traps, sawing through your flesh or even melting your face, with the claustrophobic effects drawing you into the horror of it all.
ExtrasA decent selection of extras, ported over onto the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc itself.
There's actually a fairly decent selection of extra features on offer here, thankfully all ported over onto the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc itself, headlined by an Audio Commentary from a trio of the Producers, but more impressive is the included Documentary, a whopping, feature-length 82 minute multi-part look at the Legacy of the franchise. It's in-depth and comprehensive and makes for a welcome addition to the extras selection. There's also a brief accompanying look at the props.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictLike The Crystal Maze for the morally corrupt, the Saw franchise unfortunately plumbs new depths with Jigsaw, in what would have otherwise been a straight-to-video feature were it not for the current affordability of digital cinematography, and Hollywood's current trend for reboots / sequels with the main character's name as the title (Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan) finding commonality in the horror genre's familiarity with the eventual devolution to the same (Jason, Freddy etc.).
The Crystal Maze for the morally corrupt
Jigsaw's Ultra HD Blu-ray release delivers strong video and audio, and a few decent extras rounding off a solid package for fans of the film. Those who have previously enjoyed the Saw franchise but accepted the law of diminishing returns has affected it rather terminally will know whether or not they can tolerate this eighth instalment.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.00
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