According to James Keech and the article “The Survival of The Gothic Response” the true definition of the Gothic is the response it brings out in the readers, or viewers of the piece. The piece can fall into two categories of Gothic; terror, or horror. The overall feeling of fear is associated with both categories, and it is that emotional feeling that the genre is loved by so many.
The latest film in the Saw franchise titled Jigsaw follows the most important element of the Gothic according to Keech in that it focuses on bringing out an emotional response from the viewer. It doesn’t use the traditional Gothic elements such as ruined castles, and environment to create the experience of fear. It uses fear to bring about the desired response of the viewer. I feel it utilizes both horror, and terror throughout the film to the extreme. Each challenge that Jigsaw presents to his subjects within the barn creates a response of fear from the viewer utilizes the terror aspect, such as when the characters were dangling by the chains by their throats, and the character Carly had to choose a needle with a number that had meaning to her. Throughout the entire scene you can feel the response of terror as you watch unknowingly what is going to happen to the characters, and their safety. The feeling of terror is extreme because watching you know the outcome could be very horrific. The final conclusion of the scene changers from terror to a response of horror when the outcome of what the viewer feared is realized. The terror caused the viewer to fear for the lives of those involved in the scene, and the horror is the result of it, such as seeing the monster movie’s monster for the first time is also considered horror.
Here is the clip of this perfect scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVeKHdr3hD8
Each character in Jigsaw is challenged in a similar manner, a test that is personal to their character. This causes an unrelenting feeling of terror throughout the film anticipating the horrific outcome of each scene. The viewer is in constant response of fear during the journey, making it a prime example of the Gothic. The overall story arc of who is behind putting these characters through these horrific trials is terror in itself since John Kramer who was behind them in the original movies is dead. The horror comes at the final reveal of man behind it all, and in true Saw theme, it is horrific and shocking.
The final horrific reveal from terror of wanting to know who did it to the horror of knowing (Major Spoilers if someone didn’t see it) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ3cwcnsLTY
The use of terror, and fear throughout the film to create an emotional response makes Jigsaw a perfect example of the evolution of Gothic genre. Terror, and horror are used much more intense in this film than in the traditional novels, but the core element of creating a fearful response in those viewing it exists during every major scene of the film, which makes this an excellent film in the Gothic / horror genre.