Saw: The Final Chapter (Cert 18, 90 mins)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Horror/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £19.99/The Final Cut Collection DVD Box Set £69.99/Blu-ray £24.99
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Gina Holden, Naomi Snieckus, Rebecca Marshall, Dean Armstrong, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Chad Donella, Laurence Anthony, Tobin Bell, Cary Elwes.
DEVIOUS serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) may have died but his legacy lives on. One survivor, Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) has turned potential tragedy into victory with his harrowing memoir, S.U.R.V.I.V.E. – My Story Of Overcoming Jigsaw. He shares his message of hope with the nation on a book tour flanked by his wife Joyce (Gina Holden), publicist Nina (Naomi Snieckus), lawyer Suzanne (Rebecca Marshall) and agent Cale (Dean Armstrong). However, one of Jigsaw’s acolytes is watching Bobby, ready to test his resolve with fiendish new traps. Meanwhile, Jigsaw’s wife Jill (Betsy Russell) approaches good cop Gibson (Chad Donella) and his partner Rogers (Laurence Anthony) with proof that detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) has been her husband’s accomplice for the slayings. Saw: The Final Chapter opens with three extras feeling the full force of Jigsaw’s might before the convoluted plot kicks in and Flanery’s beleaguered hero stumbles around a house of horrors. There’s a distinct lack of originality to the death sequences – the close-ups of flesh being penetrated by sharp implements get rather repetitive and the throw-backs to old traps from earlier films feels like desperation rather than ghoulish nostalgia. Performances range from screaming and whimpering to louder screaming and whimpering, and director Kevin Greutert doesn’t spare the fake blood or prosthetics, flinging every vital organ and flap of torn flesh at the camera as he cuts his cast down to size. Blu-ray includes the 3D version of the film and a seven-disc limited edition DVD box set, comprising all seven films and copious extras, is also available.
The Kid (Cert 15, 111 mins)
Revolver Entertainment, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD £15.99/Blu-ray £19.99
Starring: William Finn Miller, Augustus Prew, Rupert Friend, Natascha McElhone, Con O’Neill, Ioan Gruffudd, Jodie Whittaker, Bernard Hill, James Fox, Shirley Anne Field.
KEVIN (William Finn Miller) is a punch bag for his volatile mother Gloria (Natascha McElhone) and father Dennis (Con O’Neill) until social services intervenes, placing the boy in a home run by Uncle David (Bernard Hill). No sooner has Kevin settled in than social services returns the boy to his parents. The cycle of violence continues and as Kevin enters his difficult teenage years (now played by Augustus Prew), he arouses the interest of concerned teacher Colin Smith (Ioan Gruffudd). The tutor inspires Kevin to seek a new life with foster parents Alan (James Fox) and Margaret (Shirley Anne Field). Once again, fate conspires against Kevin (now played by Rupert Friend) – the only glimmer of hope is a fledgling romance with a beautiful girl called Jackie (Jodie Whittaker). Based on the harrowing and ultimately life-affirming memoir by Kevin Lewis, The Kid is a shocking portrait of child abuse and neglect set in 1980s and 1990s south-east London. McElhone is almost unrecognisable behind spectacles, bedraggled hair and a mouth full of filthy, crooked teeth. Miller and Prew endure most of the beatings while Friend plays Kevin as a cripplingly shy, wounded soul, who doesn’t seem at all surprised when misfortune comes his way. Actor-turned-director Nick Moran continues to flourish behind the camera, pulling few punches with his depiction of the brutality suffered by Kevin in the council estate house that became his prison. A coda of footage of the real-life Kevin and his wife leaves a large lump in the throat.