Director – Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast – Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfayden, Bahar Soomehk, Donnie Wahlberg, Dina Meyer, Leigh Whannell, Lyriq Bent
Release Year – 2006
Reviewed by John of the Dead
As a fan of the first two installments in this franchise, I went into this film expecting to enjoy it, and I did. Director Darren Lynn Bousman solidified himself in the horror genre with another great film, showing this guy has a knack for putting out great horror films. At the time that this film came out I honestly could not think of a better way to end the Saw trilogy. The Saw trilogy was negated when Saw IV was put into motion, but nonetheless these first three installments can compete against the first three installments of many other successful horror franchises, defeating most of them.
The film follows Dr. Lynn Denton, a self-centered pill popping ER doctor with a failing marriage. Late one night she is kidnapped and brought to Jigsaw’s new lair(it changes every film, hah) where she is forced into the deadly game of keeping him alive while he finishes another game. If he dies, she dies. Simple as that. Thrown into the mix is Jeff, a man who lost his son to a moronic driver who’s subsequent punishment by the justice system did not fit his crime. Jeff is kidnapped and thrown into Jigsaw’s well crafted game of forgiveness. If he passes, he gets what he wants in the end. But forgiving those responsible for his anguish is easier said than done. Unfortunately for Jeff and Dr. Denton, Jigsaw and Amanda have a much more sinister plan for the two.
A director’s sophomore effort always seems to be his/her hardest if their first film was a success. Mr. Bousman’s first feature film, Saw II, was well received by the horror community and when we heard he was going to do Saw III the first thought that came to mind was “Can he do it again?”. Well, he did it again alright. His direction in this film is well done, especially during the second half of the flick. The pacing is tight, and never once lets up or drags. He managed to keep the suspense high, and the viewers interest level even higher. I want to say that this film has the most intricate story of the first three installments. Not only do we get the usual character play from the main participants in the traps, but we get a good look into Jigsaw and Amanda, something we did not get much of in the first two installments. I found this to be very enjoyable because by now all of us Saw fans are dying for more info into Jigsaw’s past and how he came about to do the things he does. We can thank writer Leigh Whannel for adding this aspect into the screen play. You may remember him as the writer for the first Saw, and a co-writer with Darren Lynn Bousman in Saw II. As the creator of this franchise, I like the fact that he is still involved and making sure the films run in the right direction(as of Saw III. He has only been a producer for Saw IV, V, and VI).
Not only did this film have the most intricate story of the first three installments, it also had the most gore! The traps in this film surpass the brutality of the traps in two previous films, and on some levels even surpass the creativity of the previous traps. To put this into perspective for you, this film had to be submitted to the MPAA 7 times in order the achieve it’s R rating. The previous 6 attempts were met with NC-17 ratings. How awesome is that?!? You are guaranteed to cringe at the last trap Jeff faces in this film. Have your barf bag ready.
Now because this is a film who’s main star is none other than Jigsaw himself, you are probably wondering about the ending right? I can describe it with one word: awesome. Once again we are left with a shocking ending we never saw coming, but with more at stake this time. The two previous installments had one general story going on during it’s climax. This film had two, and a little extra thrown in that you don’t really see coming. Once again Leigh’s genius writing puts an end to a great film. You always remember how something ends, and that is the best aspect of the films in this franchise.
Overall, this is a great installment to the franchise that I highly recommend all horror fans give a watch to. The direction is good, the writing is good, and the gore is sure to please the gorehounds don’t care for writing or direction. Hah!