Movie Review: Does Saw X Live Up To The Hype?

November 14, 2023

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

Saw X is making waves at box offices, bringing in more than $100 million. Ahead of its November Blu-ray release, I got the chance to watch it, and I have some thoughts. The sequel is being hailed as  “one of the best installments” by fans of the franchise, but is it really?


Warning Spoilers!


Saw X sees John Kramer participate in a medical trial that promises a cure as he suffers more and more from the cancer growing inside his skull. When he learns it is all a scam, he sets out to play a game with those involved.


Not only does Tobin Bell return as Jigsaw, but so does Shawnee Smith, who has appeared in several installments as Jigsaw’s apprentice, Amanda.


Directed by Kevin Greutert, Saw X is bloody and brutal, with audiences seeing victims doing things like cutting off their limbs and smashing bones to survive. Things fans have come to expect.


Of course, there are a ton of new traps. But some of them left me scratching my head, though. The movie is set over the span of a couple of days. So, how did John and Amanda have time to construct multiple elaborate traps? Most of the new traps are pretty cool and, of course, are customized for each victim as usual to fit their crimes, save for one.


In all, we see seven traps, from a thief getting his eyes sucked out to a victim having to cut off her own leg. If they were just going for gore, they nailed it. I did find myself impressed with the eyetrap. It’s cool and creative and looks really gnarly (in a good way).


One of the several things that irked me is that John has always made traps that gave victims a real chance to survive. Several of these traps seemed to be purposely set up for the victims to fail.  We see the scenario of someone being within seconds of surviving but dying three times in Saw X, a few times too many times if you ask me.


The performance by Shawnee Smith came across as a bit weird, and, for some reason, in Saw X, Amanda reminded me of Dr. Frankenstein’s Igor. Not very bright or strong. Her character is a weak link in the movie as she is wishy-washy. One minute, she is all in to serve John and do what needs to be done, and the next, she’s whining that she doesn’t know if she can do it. I realize Smith’s her last appearance was in Saw II, III, and VI, but she looks very different in Saw X. She’s a lot older. But couldn’t they have done something about her appearance to make it less obvious? I mean, we are expected to buy that Saw X is set earlier in the franchise.


Tobin Bell delivers a good performance. But I will say this. The entire film revolves around one thing: his participation in the drug study. Kramer has always been smart and cunning, and I have a hard time believing he’d fall for such as scam, even if he is desperate to find a cure.


You may be wondering who John was talking to on the phone while getting information on the scammers. I believe it is Detective Hoffman, another Jigsaw apprentice, played by Costas Mandylor, who appears in Saw IV, V, and Saw VI. It would make sense for John to call him. He’s a cop and has access to the information he needs.


The ending kind of sucks. After the scam and everything else that happened to John in the movie, the villain doesn’t die. Seriously? I get that he gives people a shot at life, but there’s no way in hell that she won’t do it again. Some characters just simply deserve to die. I think it was an error in judgment not to wrap up the movie with justice being done. But that’s just me.


So, the question is, is Saw X really the best of the franchise? I’d say no, it’s not. There are several better installments, including the original. Saw X feels rushed and a bit shallow. While there is a nice twist at the end, it just feels off, weak, and disappointing. But you can judge Saw X for yourself. It’s now on Digital and Demand and comes home on 4K Ultra and  Blu-ray on November 21, 2023.

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