I’ve never really been a fan of the “Saw” series. I guess the first one was interesting — but rather badly acted — when it all started out six years ago, but the movies got as repetitive as — if not more — than the slashers of the 1980s. And the “Saw” movies lack the charm of the latter. “Saw” also created the not-so-welcome genre “torture porn”, which more or less removed the fun part of the horror genre.
Torture porn has often a tendency of making the viewer some kind of accomplice to the crime, most of these movies are just about people getting captured and tortured to death; it’s kind of like paying for visiting a torture chamber or an execution. Thrills and entertainment are usually missing — with the exception of the hilarious “Hostel 2” and maybe a few others. The worst example of the genre is the Japanese movie “Grotesque”.
I didn’t remember anything at all from last years entry in the “Saw” suite; part six, so I had a look at my review of it. It wasn’t very positive.
One problem with the “Saw” movies, is that they really do continue the plot from the previous episode, like a gory TV-series. Sure, this could be a good thing, but not when a year passes between each episode and it’s impossible to remember what the hell happened last year; who’s who, what they were up to, and why. I lost track completely during the last two entries.
“Saw VI” made about half the money that part five did, so we were quite a few that thought the series would be cancelled.
…But now Jigsaw is back, and in 3-D. But since it’s a saw movie, shouldn’t it be tree-D? The movie wasn’t screened to the press anywhere at all in the world, according to Lionsgate to prevent the story from leaking, so in my case, I had to attend the regular premiere. The only thing I knew about the movie, was what the Swedish distributor had said: “It’s f*cking disgusting!” – and that it neatly ties up all of the plot threads from the previous movies.
First of all, I have to wonder why 100 – 150 kids seem to think the best moment to enter a theater is just when the movie starts, after the commercials and trailers. Are they just hanging around in the lobby and waiting, trying to look cool? Do they think it’s fun to look for their seats in darkness and force hundreds of people to stand up while the opening credits roll? As usual, I was the oldest one attending the screening. But the theater had at least decorated the entrance, they had torn apart green plastic sheets and hung it like a curtain to give the place a slaughterhouse look.
“Saw 3D” opens with an amazing scene: three poor sods have been chained in a window display in the middle of the city. They’re threatened to get sawed in half by buzz saws. it doesn’t end very well for one of them.
Costas Mandylor and Betsy Russell (who was so pretty in “Bloody Pom-Poms” aka “Cheerleader Camp” in the ‘80s) return as killer and former cop Hoffman and his wife — or whatever she is — Jill; they’ve appeared in the last parts and it’s their story I never really remember. Hoffman is as handy as usual, building far-fetched traps, while Jill visits cop Gibson (Chad Donella) to frame her Hoffman. And no, I still don’t remember why Hoffman became Jigsaw’s lackey.
However, the main bulk of the story this time centers around a certain Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery — yep, young Indiana Jones), who’s written a book about his experiences as one of Jigsaw’s victims. He’s built up a career as a survivor and often shows up in media, backed up by his PR people and his wife. It’s just that Bobby has a secret — a secret he must be punished for. Bobby, the wifey and the PR people are kidnapped and Bobby has to walk through a maze laced with traps to try to set the others free.
A little surprisingly, Cary Elwes returns — he was the guy who played Dr. Lawrence Gordon in the very first movie and who did a horrible job back then; he was awful. Yes, apparently he survived — but now he’s one-legged. And Jigsaw himself as played by Tobin Bell? This character died in the third movie, but Bell still has top billing — and he appears in a couple of scenes lasting a few minutes.
Okay, given how less than impressed I’ve been by the previous installments of the series, what did I think about this new visit to the slaughterhouse?
Listen up, folks. I have to surprise myself and exclaim:
This is more like it! I’ll be damned if “Saw 3D” isn’t the best entry of the the series! They obviously put more time and effort into this one. Sure, the 3D adds a lot to the over all impression, there’s something special about entrails spraying the audience (even if it’s more restrained than in “Piranha 3-D”), but the story is better this time around, and so is the acting. I liked the story about Bobby Dagen and the fact that he was played by Flanery.
The traps are even more insane than before (and of course impossible to construct by one single nutcase). Especially one scene made me want to stand up and applaud: four racists — one of them the singer of Linkin Park — wake up at a scrapyard. They are about to be punished for judging people by the color of their skin. Jigsaw has built a ingenious thing that’ll kill all four of them in a sadistic chain reaction, which involves a car and super glue. Holy shit! This gives a whole new meaning to the word scourge.
So, are all the threads from earlier entries sorted out? Well… A lot of things get their explanations. But at the same time, it’s still possible ton continue the series without problems. This was supposed to be the last part of the series, but I’m pretty damn sure it’ll make enough money (tickets to 3-D movies are more expensive, remember) to demand “Saw: A New Beginning” in a year or two.
The young girl sitting next to me covered her eyes most of the time. Further back in the salon it sounded like another girls was crying hysterically, but maybe she just had a very strange, unusual scream. Anyway, it was really damn cool to see some extreme splatter on a very big screen! I’m surprised I liked “Saw 3D” as much as I did.
Images copyright © Scanbox Entertainment