Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pieces of quality missing from 'Jigsaw'

Jigsaw (2002)
Starring: Barret Walz, Arthur Simone, Mia Zifkin, Aimee Bravo, Maren Lindow, James Palmer, Mark Vollmers and David Wesley Cooper
Directors: Don Adams and Harry James Picardi
Rating: One of Ten Stars

A scupture created from a manniquin by five community college students (Bravo, Lindow, Palmer, Simone and Zifkin) and later crucified and burned as a final project devised by their sleazy professor (Walz) is brought to life by the collective darkness of their souls. It then proceeds to kill and dismember anyone it comes in contact with, using its arm-mounted shotgun and roundsaw.

"Jigsaw" is a bit of awfulness that resulted from the collaboration of Charles Band's Full Moon and J.R. Bookwalter's Tempe Entertainment.

From beginning to end, the film feels like only a mininal amount of effort went into making it, or that at least very little planning surrounded the production. This sense starts with the opening scene where the five students are assigned their final project by the professor. From comments made, the viewer is to believe that there is a larger class, but it's obvious that no effort was made to get extras to fill the rest of the seats in the room. This sense continues as the story unfolds with no explanation as to why or how the manniquin animates and one of the worst non-ending endings I've come across in my trips through the dredges of cinematic entertainment. All in all, it feels like a poorly planned production based on a half-finished first draft of a script.

And this is a shame, because the monster (named "Jigsaw" by the sleazy professor, because it was made from plastic limbs and a head modified and decorated by his students) is creepy enough to have deserved a better vehicle than what it got. A couple of the kill scenes are nicely done--and more chilling than one might expect because of the creature involved--and the ending had real potential if it had actually been finished instead of just sort of stopping right when it was getting good. But what chills are here are thanks to the creature, not any particular skills on the part of the actors--most of whom don't seem to have much in the way of film careers before or after this production.

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