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Kevin Greutert
Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Synnøve Macody Lund
Writing Credits:
Peter Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg

A terminally ill John Kramer travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer only to discover the entire operation exists as a scam to defraud the most vulnerable.

Box Office:
$13 million.
Opening Weekend
$18,309,301 on 3262 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $42.99
Release Date: 11/21/2023

• Audio Commentary with Director/Editor Kevin Greutert, Cinematographer Nick Matthews and Production Designer Anthony Stabley
• “Reawakening” Documentary
• 13 Deleted Scenes
• “Drawing Inspiration” Scene Breakdowns
• “Makeup Department Trap Tests” Featurette
• Trailer
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Saw X [4K UHD] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 19, 2023)

Anyone else remember when 2010 brought Saw: The Final Chapter? Successful horror franchises often ignore such declarations of their conclusion, and that proved true with Saw, as the seventh film didn’t end things after all.

However, 2017’s Jigsaw and 2021’s Spiral existed more as spinoffs than true sequels. 2023’s Saw X returns to the series’ proper chronology.

John Kramer (Tobin Bell) learns he suffers from terminal brain cancer. With only months to live, he pursues alternate therapies, and these lead him to an experimental clinic near Mexico City.

However, John soon learns that this all exists as an elaborate scam to bilk desperate patients of their money. John uses perverse methods to attempt to get revenge.

Well, yeah – it wouldn’t be a Saw movie without these sadistic stabs at “justice”. I guess that becomes the primary “redeeming quality” for John, as he only involves the guilty in his gory games.

The series killed off Kramer back in 2006’s Saw III, but it brings him back to life here via a timeline choice. Saw X exists as a “midquel”, for the story takes place between the first and second films.

This becomes an interesting decision, even if it seems a bit gimmicky. I guess fans didn’t love the attempts to expand the Saw universe found via those last two films, so Saw X goes back to the source more actively.

This doesn’t mean Saw X offers anything we could call original, however. Ten films into the franchise and no one here seems eager to upset the apple cart.

As such, Saw X tends to feel like a lot of the same old same old, though it does start out more plot-driven than expected. The first act lacks much of the usual gore and instead delves into Kramer’s circumstances.

This seems like a good choice, as it means Saw X gives Kramer much more exposition and heart. In theory, this should mean we sympathize more with him than we did when he existed as little more than a disembodied voice.

However, Saw X undercuts any of these feelings because of the way it executes the violence. While we understand Kramer’s attempts at “justice”, he proves so inflexible that he loses any sense that he does what’s theoretically right.

The series’ gimmick revolves around the manner in which Kramer gives his subjects choices. He never allows for easy options, but he does permit his captives to control their own fates.

However, in Saw X, these scenes backfire because they seem to go too far. Throughout this tale, Kramer’s captives often do what he asks but still die because they miss his arbitrary deadline by a split-second.

I understand that the events require a literal ticking clock to provide tension. However, it simply feels wrong that the characters push themselves to complete Kramer’s demands and wind up dead anyway.

Saw X also loses drama because we know nothing terrible will happen to either Kramer or his helper Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith). Since both appeared in Saw II and subsequent films, we watch their exploits with the understanding they’ll survive to see another day.

Of course, that acts as an issue for prequels, so it doesn’t seem unique to Saw X. Still, it means that this story fails to create real zing related to those roles, and the flick doesn’t compensate in other ways.

I guess most Saw fans watch the movies more for Kramer’s grotesque “traps” than other factors anyway, and Saw X probably delivers what they desire. I find these to seem awfully disgusting, but I can’t complain since this form of graphic gore appears to be what viewers want.

Saw X makes these “traps” ever more elaborate, and they show creativity. However, the scenarios also require Kramer to be nearly omnipotent, and that proves problematic.

As the filmmakers point out on this disc’s audio commentary, Kramer does mess up on occasion. He believes the snake oil sold to him, and he doesn’t always read every situation correctly.

Nonetheless, Kramer always remains one step ahead of his captives. This stretches credulity even more than usual.

I really do like that Saw X expands Kramer’s backstory and makes him much more of a three-dimensional person than as seen in prior films. However, the end result tends to feel too much like the same old same old, so it doesn’t live up to the possibilities its character elements imply.

Footnote: an additional scene pops up early in the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus A-

Saw X appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became a solid reproduction of an intentionally “gritty” movie.

Though shot digitally, the filmmakers wanted to give the image a more celluloid/”dated” look. This meant Saw X lacked the sparkle one would expect from a native 4K product.

In any case, sharpness looked fine overall. Some softness stemmed from the desire to add a layer of “roughness” to the movie, but the image became largely appealing in this domain.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie sported a layer of “fake grain”, and it lacked print flaws.

Colors veered toward a standard mix of heavy amber and teal, with some reds/greens/yellows tossed in occasionally as well. Tiresome as these choices seem, the disc replicated them appropriately, and HDR gave them added kick.

Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows offered solid smoothness and clarity. HDR brought extra depth to whites and contrast. Expect a quality reproduction of a semi-challenging image.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack brought a fairly standard horror affair. This meant a lot of ambience punctuated with occasional louder “scare moments”.

Music used the spectrum actively, and general atmosphere fleshed out the room well. As implied, the mix lacked a lot of the kind of action scenes that would create a more dynamic soundscape, but the track seemed more than suitable for this story.

Audio seemed positive, with speech that appeared concise and distinctive. Effects became accurate and full.

Music remained the best part of the track, so the score sounded rich and dynamic. I almost gave the mix a “B+” and it did suit the story, but it felt a bit too limited in scope for a grade above a “B”.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical Atmos audio.

As for the image, it demonstrated the format’s usual improvements, as the 4K seemed better defined and more vivid. However, even though the picture came from a native 4K source, I felt it upgraded the Blu-ray less than I would anticipate due to the intentional “grittiness” mentioned earlier.

I still would opt for the 4K over the BD. I just didn’t witness the big leap I usually find from true 4K products.

As we shift to extras, we go to an audio commentary with director/editor Kevin Greutert, cinematographer Nick Matthews and production designer Anthony Stabley. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, photography, editing and cut footage, music, and related domains.

The commentary starts slowly, mainly because the participants tend to blow a lot of smoke and praise each other. However, matters improve as the track progresses, so this eventually turns into a fairly informative chat.

A six-part documentary called Reawakening fills a total of one hour, 35 minutes, 47 seconds. It involves Greutert, Stabley, Matthews, co-writer Josh Stolberg, producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules, executive producers Jason Constantine and Dan Heffner, prosthetic makeup designer Justin Raleigh, key prosthetic makeup artist Kelsey Berk, stunt coordinator Daniel Salazar, composer Charlie Clouser, and actors Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Synnøve Macody Lund, Steven Brand, Paulette Hernández, Octavio Hinojoso, and Renata Vaca.

“Reawakening” looks at the project’s roots and development, story/characters/challenges, cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography, the “traps” and stunts/effects, editing and music, and the movie’s marketing/release.

With 95 minutes at its disposal, “Reawakening” offers a pretty solid view of the production. Some of the usual happy talk appears, but the program compensates with plenty of good behind the scenes footage.

13 Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 37 minutes, 10 seconds. These add exposition to Kramer’s attempts to pursue treatment as well as more related to the preliminaries before he seeks “justice”.

We also find extensions of existing scenes. At nearly two hours, Saw X already runs long, so I think these would’ve just slowed down the story. Still, some seem interesting on their own.

Drawing Illustration spans 33 minutes, 55 seconds. It presents “illustrated scene breakdowns” with Greutert.

These cover three scenes as Greutert essentially offers additional commentary for them. He also gets to use a telestrator and pause the film to point out details, so this becomes a fun expansion to the full commentary.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we finish with a collection of Makeup Department Trap Tests. These take up 17 minutes, 28 seconds.

As implied by the title, this collection shows video footage of the planning that went into various traps. It delivers a good peek behind the scenes.

A second disc provides a Blu-ray copy of Saw X. It includes the same extras as the 4K.

As the tenth film in a franchise, Saw X finds little room to innovate. Although it concentrates more on character and plot than usual, the final product still revolves around graphic gore. The 4K UHD comes with well-rendered picture and audio along with a solid collection of bonus materials. Expect a strong release for a so-so movie.

To rate this film visit the Blu-Ray review of SAW X

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main