‘Saw X’ Gets Franchise’s Best Reviews, First “Fresh” Rotten Tomatoes Score

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A Saw movie is actually getting good reviews.

Saw X — the 10th entry in the long-running gory horror franchise that opens this week — has Rotten Tomatoes score of 84 percent “fresh.”

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While more reviews will be added (the film has 62 reviews so far, including 18 “top critics” like The Hollywood Reporter’s review), the film’s current Rotten Tomatoes ranking is far higher than any other movie in the franchise.

The previous high score was from, unsurprisingly, the first film, 2004’s Saw, which only has a 50 percent freshness rating (arguably unfairly, as the original is now considered a clever and groundbreaking thriller, one that launched the career of director James Wan, co-writer and co-star Leigh Whannell, and a 10-film franchise).

The Saw franchise’s critical low point is 2010’s erroneously titled Saw: The Final Chapter, which has only a 9 percent freshness rating. Even an attempt to take Saw in a classier direction, 2021’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw, which starred Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, only topped out at 37 percent.

Saw X is the only entry in the franchise to get the coveted “fresh” designation. A common thread in the reviews is that Saw X is the strongest since the original, with praise for Tobin Bell (who plays the franchise’s villainous Jigsaw, aka John Kramer). The film is a prequel that takes place between the first two Saw films, with Bell given notably more screen time in the new film than in past entries. Saw X was directed by Kevin Greutert, who previously helmed 2009’s Saw VI and 2010’s Saw 3D.

Here are a few spoiler-free critiques about Saw X:

The Hollywood Reporter: “None of this would work nearly as well without Bell, whose raspy voice and menacing gravitas are so riveting that he makes Jigsaw’s oft-repeated declaration, “I’d like to play a game,” scary as hell. He’s made the character truly iconic, much like Robert Englund did with Freddy Krueger. Accept no substitutions.”

The Independent: “Ten films in and it’s a routine we’re so intimately familiar with that it’d be hard to call any element of Saw X original but returning director Kevin Greutert knows what’ll satisfy his audience: a few buckets of blood and the gag-inducing sound of crunching bone. Here, they’ll get exactly what they want.”

Bloody Disgusting: “Saw X delivers a franchise high, and that’s no small feat ten installments deep. There’s a comfortable sense of awareness and humor found in a sequel that utilizes its pared-back simplicity to showcase the characters and gore.”

DigitalSpy: Saw X has delivered the most effective Saw sequel yet … Saw X might still deliver the gore you’d expect from a Saw outing, yet in attempting to do something new and not just the same-old, it’s potentially injected the series with fresh blood.”

IndieWire: “People have got to stop fucking with John Kramer. … After a decade as Halloween’s most hyped-up annual release in the aughts, Saw is finally back this October to tell Taylor Swift she’s not the only one doing vigilante shit. Congrats, Tobin. You deserve this one. … Most agonizing, suspenseful Saw sequel yet.”

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