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To put it simply, the Saw franchise isn’t for everyone. Each entry is filled to the brim with gory violence and gruesomely twisted storylines that really only appeal to hardcore horror enthusiasts. The original Saw exploded onto the scene back on October 29th, 2004, racking up an impressive $104 million at the box office despite its divisive reception from film critics (it ended up with a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes). Its success kicked off a new Halloween tradition, with a new Saw sequel hitting theaters every year from 2005 to 2010. The franchise proved to be among the surest bets in Hollywood, consistently pulling in $100+ million on microbudgets of $1.2-11 million (save for Saw 3D , which cost $17 million). Financially, the series certainly accomplished a lot during its initial seven year run — especially considering the fact that it’s one of the worst reviewed movie franchises of all time.
With the exception of 2009’s Saw VI , which received surprisingly middling reviews, each subsequent follow-up was a significant step down from the one before it, and the franchise finally bottomed out the following year with Saw 3D . The series’ most expensive entry was ultimately its worst, landing with a beyond-bad 9% on Rotten Tomatoes. Few tears were shed when Halloween 2011 came and went without a new Saw flick, and the series looked to be gone for good until the eighth installment, Jigsaw , was confirmed to be in development early last year.
Interestingly enough, the latest franchise entry looks to be a moderate improvement over the aforementioned sequels. As of this writing, it sports a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, good for second highest in the series. We’ve decided to celebrate (?) Jigsaw’s return in the most fitting way possible: by collecting some of the most brutally negative reviews the franchise has ever received. But don’t worry, we’re only doing this so it’ll learn to appreciate the positive ones.
This serial-killer tale is inanely plotted, badly written, poorly acted, coarsely directed, hideously photographed and clumsily edited, all these ingredients leading to a yawner of a surprise ending … There are no insights into the motivations of serial killers, no perspective on the depths to which the human soul will sink to preserve itself at the expense of others. This movie just wallows in its own unrelenting repulsiveness. — The Associated Press
It’s never a good thing to find yourself laughing during a horror thriller, particularly one with a menacing title like Saw. But laugh, laugh, laugh you will … Elwes’s line delivery is better suited to a junior high school production of The Crucible. And he’s not alone: Danny Glover, Monica Potter and Leigh Whannell (who penned the screenplay) join him for the ride. And what a pathetic, disappointing ride it is. — Metro Weekly
In the long run, “Saw II” is a better film than the original, but that’s like saying being kicked in the groin is better than being punched in the face. — FilmJerk.com
Will they be saved? Will they? God, you hope not. The thing about Saw II is that it’s not only bloody, it’s bloody boring. Jigsaw, for all his long-windedness, has nothing to say. There’s nothing interesting about his philosophy, nothing particularly fascinating about the victims except their shortcomings and nothing to raise the film above new-and-improved slasher shtick. — Sun Sentinel