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Even though Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), the psychopathic puppet master pulling the deadly strings in this franchise has been dead for a few installments now, something about the trailers for the latest torture-porn extravaganza speaks to a return to grisly form for the series. He lords over the proceedings as if, in death, he has found an even greater moral imperative for the continuation of his rich pageantry of mythic torturous machinations.

Jigsaw was always one for acolytes and their efforts to prove themselves worthy, and this time out he’s still putting the screws to Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor).

But he hasn’t forgotten to include his lovely widow Jill (Betsy Russell) in the mix as well, and it seems she’s a willing student capable of playing the dark chord progressions of his deadly symphonic masterwork.

Hopefully not lost in the easy titillation of violence and mayhem is the sense that the makers want us to question our own morality and social issues (health care and shady business practices are featured in the most topical ways) as we celebrate the devious nature of a good deathtrap. And before everyone gets too concerned, this installments ends (and could be the final nail in the coffin), but don’t ever believe that Jigsaw wouldn’t have more mad schemes to make us squirm. Grade: B