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As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.
Before I get started with this critique, let me say up front that I have only seen three of the previous "Saw" films. I watched both "Saw" and "Saw II" in first-run theatres and "Saw V" in the local dollar theatre. I skipped all the others. In fact, the only reason I saw "Saw V" was because there wasn't anything else I hadn't seen already and it was only a dollar. I would have never payed full price for the film. The only reason I went to see "Saw 3D" was because Cary Elwes is back and I was hoping to get a glimpse of the same passionate acting that we saw in the first film (you should know what I mean by that). So I paid a 3D price for the latest "Saw" film.
It would be impossible for me to tell you everything that's going on here because I missed three of the films in the franchise. What I can say is that Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is still carrying out Jigsaw's evil traps and now he has his sights set on both Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) -- Jigsaw's wife -- and Bobby (Sean Patrick Flannery), a 'supposed' former Jigsaw survivor and motivational speaker. There's also Gibson (Chad Donella) who evidently has a part with Hoffman and is searching for him. There's also Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes), the original trap victim, who pops back in every now and again. And let's not forget Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) himself who, once again, just pops up in flashbacks when it's important to sweep the narrative out from under us. What makes a "Saw" film a "Saw" film is that they rely so heavily on the "Dallas" ending where everything you've been thinking becomes the total opposite and it's all right because Tobin Bell looks so darned adorable whilst explaining it.
There was this old advertising campaign for this franchise -- It wouldn't be Halloween without "Saw". Well, thank God this is evidently the final one. This franchise is as tired as a franchise can possibly be. Parts III-VI just seemed to be churned out to make money and nothing more. At least "Saw 3D" has a zeal and a spark that has been missing from the previous entries. Maybe it's because they know this is the last one and they've just decided to hold nothing back. Maybe it's because the script comes from Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the duo behind the "Feast" films. Maybe it's because Cary Elwes is back again -- and it is only fitting that his character be here for the final installment to help tie everything up. Fans of the franchise might be disappointed with the ending but it makes total sense to me -- as much sense as any of these films has ever made.
But the traps are why most people flock to see the "Saw" films and the traps in this film do not disappoint. In fact, this is easily the most gruesome and gore-centric "Saw" film yet. Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington gets the worst death of the film involving something as simple as industrial strength glue. Sean Patrick Flannery's route of terror to retrieve his wife is also equally harrowing. And the final trap (though it's not really as much a trap as a sentence) is the perfect way to end this picture and this franchise. I guess what made this film more enjoyable than the others was that this one just seemed more unrelenting than the others. It seemed more vicious and more desolate. Imagine that -- in defense of a "Saw" film.
All of that said, I can't recommend this to anyone who doesn't like the previous films. It was made for them and must be appreciated by them. I hated the other films. I was surprised I didn't hate this one. I think maybe that's because I know it's the last one (so they say) and that makes me happy to no end. I want my Halloween back! Free of crappy torture porn films featuring second rate actors (minus Cary Elwes). "Saw 3D" also packs no 3D punch and didn't even need the conversion. Another lame 3D attempt. 6/10.
- added 11/01/2010, 03:18 PM
While I agree with your rating, this is another
craptastic review. Don't quit your day job
- added 11/02/2010, 11:43 AM
Hmmmm...it is my day job...thank God I don't get
many complaints from legitimate readers...
- added 11/05/2010, 04:27 AM
How is this a craptastic review? And even though
I'm a fan of the original Saw, I'm not a big fan
of the sequels. I want my Halloween back too! I
don't see the Saw series became a Halloween staple
in the first place. Sure a few in the series are
interesting, but none are particularly scary.
- added 11/15/2010, 01:17 PM
In response to :
"Fans of the franchise
might be disappointed with the ending but it makes
total sense to me -- as much sense as any of these
films has ever made."
think there was no better way to end the
franchise, and I think if you're actually a fan of
the series (you as in the general public), that
the ending would be whatever the opposite of
And in response
""Saw 3D" also packs no 3D
Saw is one of the movies
that does 3D "right" to me, in that it
doesn't pop shit out of the screen at you, rather
it gives the picture depth going back away from
you. The scene where they kept showing the
3-spiked trap "up close" like it was
going to stab you in the face, without popping it
out of the screen, was actually really well done,
and I don't think it would have worked if it would
have been a normal film.
- added 11/15/2010, 01:37 PM
I will give you the first one -- that was some
mis-wording on my part. As for the 3D thing you
are just dead wrong. Very well done? It was
horribly rendered and looked like they put zero
effort into making it look even close to good. I
noticed barely any picture depth. It was a
gimmick just like most other 3D films. A sure way
to know I am right is to look at the technical
credits at the end of the film -- compare that to
a QUALITY 3D film and you will see how little
effort they put into it.
- added 11/15/2010, 09:34 PM
I also have to disagree with "the traps are
why most people flock to see the "Saw"
films." Every Saw fan I know, myself
included, is wrapped up in the story and watching
Jigsaw's ultimate plan. Whether or not you
appreciate it yourself is one thing, but its what
draws us to these films. It's also why a lot of
fans were a bit disappointed to see the series
extended an extra film. Contrarily, denouncing it
as "just showing gore" is the goto
argument for most detractors of the series. The
gore is what defined Hostel, Turistas and all that
other schlock. Yes, it's a big part of Saw, but
not what defines it.
- added 11/16/2010, 08:36 AM
@bm : I'm not saying 3D isn't a gimmick, but
there were two times in the movie that I felt
awkward/uneasy from the movie (in a good way). One
was the fishhook trap, and the other was when the
spike trap was in my face. That makes the 3D worth
it to me, because it made me feel something
The amount of people that
worked on it I think is a poor argument whether
it's "good" or not, as there are tons of
films/video games that are amazing that were made
by only a handful of people.
@385 : I
personally would have felt worse if the series
ended on Saw6 with the ending that had for the
series, rather then then bringing out one last
movie and closing everything.
- added 11/16/2010, 11:42 AM
Well yeah but obviously the ending of VI was
altered so they could push a seventh film. Could
have been as simple as that final trap got him,
which is most likely originally how it was going
- added 11/16/2010, 01:56 PM
The amount of people that worked on it is a
PERFECT judge of how much time and attention were
put into the 3D elements of the film. Some
companies are better than others, and the more
people that work on the 3D elements the more
polished the film typically looks. So it has
EVERYTHING to do with it. Once again, just to
compare it to another horror film, look at how
many people worked on "My Bloody Valentine
3D" -- a ton. And the film (though not
great) has that depth of field throughout.
"Saw 3D" only has it here and there
meaning that they only worked on the scenes they
liked the best and not the film as a whole.
"Piranha 3D" had the same problem and so
did "The Final Destination". Had more
people worked on it they could have spent more
time on scenes they ended up skipping. I dislike
3D used in any gimmicky way and I just don't think
"Saw" did even close to a good job of
going for anything other than gimmicky.
And I am sorry but fans follow the films for the
story? Insane. Hell, most people I know who have
watched every film probably couldn't describe the
story for me if I asked them to. They follow for
the kills and the gore. And I lump
"Saw" in with other torture porn because
that is exactly what it is, except those others
film have a better track record of casting even
pseudo-talented actors. "Saw" has a
tendency to go for the bottom of the barrel
They were always going to make
more "Saw" films until they stopped
being profitable. The completion of the story had
nothing to do with anything for anyone. Luckily
for us, the films stopped performing well because
they kept remaking the same film over and over
- added 01/30/2011, 12:54 PM
I like how you keep making all of these claims
about the franchise and movies when you fully
admit you haven't even seen them.
Really liked the ending on this one, although as
a whole the movie was a bit weak. Mandylor is
nowhere near the villain Bell was. High 6 I think.