Dan Holford’s review published on Letterboxd:
“You wanna play games motherfucker?!”
Cinemas are finally open in the UK! It felt nice to be back actually seeing a film on the big screen, and even better that this film was actually a pleasant surprise. Sure, it still suffers by falling into the same traps (pun intended) that the others do, but it feels like it tries something different. Playing out more like a police procedural than the torture porn of the other sequels. That’s not to say there isn’t gore, the usual traps are never far away, but this time far more brief. It’s got the right balance between that self awareness and trashiness that makes it a fun slice of horror, slotting nicely into a tired and worn out franchise.
The plot is convoluted and a little messy at times, especially with the frequent cuts to flashbacks but overall it manages to work. I think what did work more in this one was having characters with a semblance of personality and development. Sure, Chris Rock’s detective character isn’t the most deep personality we will ever seen on screen but there’s enough to him for the audience to actually feel something. I actually quite like Rock’s performance. It’s a little over the top and hammy at times but it feels self aware enough that it fits the tone of the film nicely. The rest of the cast are all fine, and serve the film well, with Samuel L Jackson being a nice but brief highlight.
There’s still issues with the weird editing that always feels a little off. It does feel better made overall, the washed out colours at least having some more style to them than the dull dark colours in previous movies. I still hate the frequent flashbacks to moments that literally just happened on screen, spoon feeding single every twist and turn, it’s like they don’t think the audience is clever enough to follow what happened moments before. It really undermines any shock value to be had from these turns in the story.
The traps are just as over the top and gory as ever, with a little more tension to be found from the direction. It’s nice that they’re more spaced out snd less in your face. Overall it’s enjoyable but trashy, in a good way. Easily my favourite since the original. A high 3, almost 3.5.