All Hallows Eve is upon us, and of course it would not be complete without another game from our friendly neighborhood serial killer. Jigsaw has joined the ranks of Freddy and Jason, and for this generation we need a good slasher, and Jigsaw fits the bill(well most of the time). After the forgettable last few installments, I was pretty sure this series had no more wind left in it’s sails. I was ready to be underwhelmed and snoring by the halfway point, but thankfully from the moment the movie started it gabbed me and didn’t let go until the credits were rolling. It has all you love about the series without a lot of the filler the series has became guilty of in the last few films. Even 7 films in, it still managed to keep me guessing all the way to the end. Finally, when the GOTCHA twist is finally revealed well, goddammit they got me AGAIN! Bloody savages.
Overall the film is very much the same as Saw VI (2009) which was also directed by Kevin Greutert. But that seems to be the structure for the Saw films for some time now. Like many of the sequels it has converging stories. The battle rages on , as Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), Jigsaw’s apprentice who has resorted to out-and-out murder in order to keep his little secret, searches for Jigsaw’s ex-wife, Jill (Betsy Russell). This time around, Jill has gone to the police revealing Hoffman’s secret. The manhunt begins for him as he makes every attempt at finding her for a little bloody revenge. Much of this story involves an internal affairs detective, played by Chad Donella , going from location to location picking up clues here and there that could lead him to Hoffman. And finally we have Jigsaw’s newest torture tested victim Bobby Dagan (Sean Patrick Flanery). Dagan and his family and friends are put through the gauntlet of traps because Dagan, a self help guru lied and about saying he escaped from a trap by Jigsaw–but he never WAS in a trap by Jigsaw.
Sound like a lot? Suprisingly, this is far more simplistic than it sounds. The previous Saw films have far more complexity to their narratives. Part of what I like about this movie is because of the fact that all the other films have tied up many of the loose ends. What is left, is a tight and engaging narrative free of too many bullshit subplots that lead to nothing. There were just enough flashbacks to keep things confusing so you knew you were watching a saw movie, but I never got lost. The simiplicity is welcomed, but the converging stories are unsatisfying. It’s bland, disconnected and unisipired. Mainly because the philosphy of Saw is lost in this one. The motives and intentions of Jigsaw himself have been forgotten. Saw 3D is a revenge story and not a lesson in valuing life.
The acting in the film is typical just like the rest of the series. Some of the acting is really good and some is really bad. Some of the best acting highlights in the film were Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery and of course Cary Elwes. The low acting point would have be a very awkward Chad Donella and a few other other smaller roles in the film.
That traps? They are back and they are as nasty as ever, if there is one thing this movie delivers on, is fantastic gore. Sawing, crushing, dismemberment, explosions, nerve gassing, impaling, skinning, hanging, incinerating, facial mutilation, tooth-pulling. It might be the most splatter-heavy Saw film to date.
A word of caution (although you may be expecting this now): the 3D is a total waste of money, there are maybe one or two cool limb flying effects utilised in the whole 90 minute movie. Completely meaningless usage.
Is Saw 3D the perfect conclusion to the long drawn out horror/torture franchise? It runs down a checklist of required components, delivering mayhem and suspense. It’s predictable, outlandish and head-slappingly silly. Redundant and stale. So, no. It doesn’t even come close to being a satisfying conclusion, but the bottom line is it wrapped the franchise up, answering (most) questions and was a fun film along the way.
Saw 3D has been marketed as the “Final Chapter” in the Saw film series, but whether or not the filmmakers continue the flagship torture porn franchise, as a spin-off, prequel, or yet another sequel, remains to be seen. What a started out as a small psychological thriller, turned into the best horror franchise ever created. It can’t be over. After all “If it’s Halloween, It Must Be Saw!”