Tempe/Full Moon regulars should be familiar with the Three AM team of Don Adams and Harry James Picardi's previous release 'Vengeance of the Dead' - a somewhat middle of the road supernatural chiller that although had its moments failed to fully satisfy….well the guys are back once again but this time they're out to show they really do know how to deliver the goods with their latest production 'Jigsaw'.

The jigsaw of the title are the various parts that make up a mannequin doll that each member of a college art class are given, they're project is to each personally form their limb into a piece of art that will then be put back together as a combined complete work. Now how the heck does this make for a good genre movie? Well what if that completed bizarre mannequin comes to life looking to tear its creators apart!

Of course when you see it in writing like this it sure reads like a flawed concept that has no right to work, but you'd be wrong as 'Jigsaw' is a real surprise in quality genre viewing. But how does it work? Well first off the Three AM team of Adams and Picardi have taken to heart the responsibility of their roles as not only producers but as writers and directors making this an obvious labour of love. Key to this is the simple but effective script, each of the characters backgrounds and dialogue is both diverse and believable…and thankfully the casting of each of the lead roles has been perfectly selected with impressive and convincing performances from each of the character roles. While many low budget shockers these days are filled with non consequential characters cast by middling actors going through the motions (just look at recent non events like Demoness and Savage Harvest), 'Jigsaw' is a whole different ball game proudly showing that you don't need Hollywood megabucks to have a good script and an impressive cast (oh and a cool soundtrack) to make a quality movie.

But I digress, I know what some of you will be asking 'but as a horror movie is it any good?' Well as ever, it's a low budget film so odds are that it will go largely unnoticed but the keen budget tolerant genre fan will hopefully derive as much pleasure as I did checking out this wee gem of a movie. Yup, the horror fun is there and once you've warmed to each of the characters (and their individual troubled history) our Jigsaw creature comes to life and starts to take each one of them out in varying entertaining (albeit brief) bloody scenarios (with some nice effects work by Tempe stalwart David Lange).

I could go into detail of each of the characters or some of the Jigsaw retribution but that would only detract from your viewing fun…but if you haven't got the message yet then all you need to know is that 'Jigsaw' is a real surprise treat - stylish, atmospheric and wholly entertaining, a film that all involved should be applauded for their roles in and hence a film that is more than worthy of your attention.

As you would expect from a new production aimed as a direct to DVD release 'Jigsaw' looks and sounds great, the image is vibrant and colourful as is the surround audio sharp and clear. On the extras front is the obligatory welcome trailer (hold off watching this till after you watch the main feature) and a fun 15 minute 'behind the scenes' featurette which while not being a definitive 'making of' (which would have been cool) this has its highly entertaining merits (if only to see the seedy digs the crew stay in or to watch the shady Dravenmeister drop off the films budget from Godfather Bookwalter or any other of the countless moments of hilarity on location…a fun insight into low budget movie making!) Rounding things off is a carefree audio commentary with Adams, Picardi and a whole slew of the crew from the films production that adds to the fun provided by the behind the scenes featurette.

Now to be honest I would have been more than happy if that had that as far as this DVD went but as is the case now seemingly with Full Moon DVD's these days the theme seems to be value for money with yet another bonus double DVD feature - this time round the 'extra' movie on this double bill is the virtually unseen 'Totem' - a very much humdrum run of the mill Full Moon movie about a group of over age teens meeting up in a secluded cabin (this time round they are brought together by an unexplainable urge) only to discover that they're about to fall foul of an unspeakable evil! Now I know my tongue is slightly in cheek here but 'Totem' is in fact quite enjoyable and painless viewing - sure its pairing with 'Jigsaw' is very loosely done (i.e. group of young folk in peril double bill) but 'Totem is a whole different game. The plot is pure Charles Band, flighty and fanciful, the effects are what you have come to expect from Full Moon but the film wastes no time getting into its flow (the short running helps too) and its actually a lot of fun in that purest of Full Moon schlock horror throwaway mindless manner - sure it's trash but its fun trash! And for those of us out there that get a kick from 'Totem' it has its own bonus features, well there's the 'says it all' obligatory trailer and a 15 minute 'behind the scenes' Videozone segment to round things off.

But whilst the addition of 'Totem' makes for a bunkum but fun bonus extra the real deal here is the main feature itself 'Jigsaw' and what a fine movie it is too. Definitely one of the low budget treats of the year, I loved it and I hope many of you will too - check it out!

Review by Alan Simpson

'Jigsaw' can be ordered direct from Tempe by clicking here.

Released by Full Moon/Tempe
Region 1 - NTSC
Rated R
Audio - English
Extras :
Audio Commentary, bonus film 'Totem', Behind the Scenes featurettes, trailers.