Director – Kevin Gruetert
Cast – Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery, Betsy Russell, Chad Donella, Tobin Bell, Gina Holden, Laurence Anthony, Dean Armstrong, Naomi Snieckus, Rebecca Marshall, James Van Patten
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Well here we have it folks, according to the guys at Lions Gate, this is the “LAST” Saw film. The only film series to ever deliver 7 films in 7 years, the Saw series is the biggest horror series since the Friday the 13th and Halloween franchises owned the 1980s, which some found to be a nuisance, but I beg to differ. Saw gave us a different breed of horror film, one blending both creativity and some nice tense gore scenes, and in a day and age where we get few original horror films I will steadfastly say that I appreciate everything that the Saw franchise has done for the genre. I really had high hopes for this film not merely because it is the “last” entry into the series, but because after the horrendous Saw V we were shown some promise with Kevin Gruetert’s Saw VI, so this film was the one to show whether the series would continue in a positive direction, or sink back into despair. Well, while this film was not as good as I wanted it to be, it did deliver a mostly positive watch in the end that is sure to bring on enough of the goods to keep Saw fans satisfied, but barely.
Saw 3D takes place immediately after the events of Saw VI. Det. Hoffman(Costas Mandylor; Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI) is now the primary suspect of the city’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and is being vehemently pursued by Agent Gibson(Chad Donella; Final Destination), who receives the break of a lifetime when Jigsaw’s now-estranged widow, Jill Tuck(the hideous Betsey Russell, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI), makes a deal to deliver all of the evidence required to put hand Det, Hoffman over to them on a silver platter. Meanwhile, a well-known self-help guru, Bobby(Sean Patrick Flannery), is cashing in on a bogus story that he survived one of Jigsaw’s “games”, to the point that he has not only put out a book explaining the ordeal, but is in the middle of filming a lucrative DVD as well. This does not sit well with Jigsaw, and Bobby’s actions have landed him in one of Jigsaw’s traps…for real this time. As Bobby heads from “game” to “game” attempting to save those who have helped him deceive the nation, Det. Hoffman embarks on a deadly vendetta against the only thorn in his side he has left…Jill Tuck.
This being the first Saw film shown in 3D, the look and feel of the film is obvious. From the get-go we get a crappy-as-hell intro from Lions Gate, and we get more CGI in this one than the six previous entries combined. Saw 3D returns Saw VI director Kevin Gruetert, who for the most part did a fine job with this one. The pacing of the film is positive, thanks much to some great traps that deliver some great kills as well, each spaced just right within the film’s runtime. Once again we get some pretty creative traps to watch our characters try and squirm out of, with a few of them being absolutely awesome in their design and in their very gory end result. We also get a few traps that were very similar to one another, which if purposely written, surprised me a bit because for a second there I was thinking maybe the film’s writers had begun to run out of ideas. The gore is highly prevalent in this one, which came with some kills that really had me chucking out loud due to how awesome and gruesome they were. We do get a fair amount of CGI gore in this one, but that is mainly due to this film’s 3D technology, which will naturally require CGI gore if you want the gore to stand out. I will admit though that this CGI gore was some of the best that I have seen. It was definitely an improvement in comparison to George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead CGI gore, although I shall always prefer the live-action goods over CGI, every time. As far as character performances go I did find most of our main characters unlikable, except for Gibson(Chad Donella) and the surprisingly badass Det. Hoffman(Costas Mandylor). I had never really cared much for Det. Hoffman in the previous entries where he has taken over Jigsaw’s role, but in this film I really appreciated his brutality and vengeance, and Costas Mandylor delivered heavily in this role.
I did find quite a few faults in this flick, and nearly all of them come from the film’s story and screenplay. The first act of the film was very unenjoyable for me, mainly because despite getting some awesome kills from some awesome traps, they never felt cohesive to the film. The feeling I felt was that they were lazily written into the film merely as eye candy and to take up runtime. As the film went on a few of these kills began to make more sense in relation to the story, so I will admit to not necessarily pre-judging, but taking things as they are until I am shown otherwise. We do not get as much story regarding Jigsaw as you would think, with this one focusing more on catching Det. Hoffman and being exposed to the chaos he has caused on behalf of Jigsaw. I really enjoyed that we are finally shown what happened to Dr. Gordon(Cary Elwes; Saw, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) after the climax of the first Saw. We were shown what happened to Adam(Leigh Whannell; Saw, Saw III, Dying Breed) after the climax of the first film, but for the next five entries we were left in mystery…until now. What left me with somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth is that aside from the revelation of what happened to Dr. Gordon we really do not get much from him in the film. Once again, it seems he was written in as shock value for the majority of his scenes, instead of really progressing the film with his character. Our main focus on the film aside from Det. Hoffman is the self-help guru Bobby, portrayed by Sean Patrick Flannery. As I mentioned earlier, he is a fraud who claims to have survived one of Jigsaw’s “games”, and is himself thrown into a real life “game” in which he must save those who helped him get to where he is. Personally, I found this idea of a self-help guru posing as a Jigsaw survivor as a bit lame and uninteresting. We do get some cool traps that his associates are thrown into, but just the plain idea of his character alone could have either been better-written, or should have been done away with completely in return for something more interesting.
This being a Saw film, you must be wondering about the film’s climax. Well, I must sadly say that while this entry once again gives us an ending we never see coming, for the first time in this franchise…I was not shocked at the conclusion. This was a bit of a letdown for me simply because the previous entries have raised this standard for these flicks, something made obvious given I do not expect such climaxes from other films, but nonetheless I went into this one expecting a shocking climax and was not given one. I will admit though that I think the final scene is a good one, and a good way to “end” the series, it just did not come in as a shocker as I wished it would.
There are some critics out there saying that despite this being the “last” Saw film we are given a climax that opens the door to another sequel. Well, it does leave an open door, but I do not get the feel that it directly hints towards another entry. I get the feeling that the series is over, especially when you consider what really happens at the end of the film. Jigsaw’s influence has caught on, and society is changing.
Overall, this is what could have been an awesome climax to the Saw series, but instead winds up merely an OK watch in the end. We get good direction and awesome gore and kills, but the story lags and heads in uninteresting directions(WHEN it heads somewhere), which is what kept this film from a great outcome.