Movie Review: SAW IIILions Gate Films

“Suffering…you haven’t seen anything yet…”

Jigsaw has disappeared. Now aided by his new apprentice Amanda, the puppet-master behind the cruel, intricate games that have terrified a community and baffled police has once again eluded capture and vanished. While city detectives scramble to locate him, Dr. Lynn Denlon is unaware that she is about to become the latest pawn on his vicious chessboard. One night, after finishing a shift at her hospital, Lynn is kidnapped by the deranged Amanda and taken to an abandoned warehouse where she meets Jigsaw, aka: John Kramer, who’s now bedridden and on the verge of death. Lynn is told that she must keep the madman alive for as long as it takes Jeff, another of his victims, to complete a game of his own. Racing against the ticking clock of Jigsaw’s own heartbeat, Lynn and Jeff struggle to make it through each of their vicious tests, unaware that Jigsaw and Amanda have a much bigger plan for both of them…

Y’know, I just don’t seem to understand all the criticism the Saw franchise has been getting since it exploded into theaters in 2004. Sure, at first glance the movies just seem to be yet another serial-killer-torture variety, with kinetic ADHD-style editing and washed-out photography. People I’ve talked to about this movie seem to parrot the same things: The acting was terrible, the plot was unimpressive, it wasn’t scary, and the overall effect was either dullness or unintentionally funny. Which leads me to think, “Did they actually watch the movie? And if so, which movie were they actually watching?”

Speculation on all that aside (I’ll just go ahead and assume that my take on the movie is superior), Saw III is definitely the best one of the bunch. From the opening scene, taking off moments after the ending of Saw II, to the “didn’t see that one coming” twist at the end, I loved every minute of this movie. There is a considerably lower death count than the previous entries, for certain, but that’s only secondary to the real star of the movie- the relationship between the Jigsaw Killer and his protégé. Very rare is it that a movie like this can also squeeze emotion out of the story like this has. Also, the game itself is a bit different: Instead of being in danger of dying from the game (well, sort of- there’s a two-hour time limit before the entire warehouse locks down permanently), Jeff instead has to choose between holding onto his rage and vengeance and forgiving and saving the ones who are in the traps- the ones who were involved in the tragic death of his son. Now, how many horror movies like this actually makes you think seriously about forgiveness and the consequences of vengeance? Not many. Mind you, its done in a very gory, twisted and disturbing sort of way, but there is a method to the madness.

What’s sad is, it’s been reported that Lion’s Gate is planning on making more sequels in the Saw franchise. Which is a pity, as Saw works more as a trilogy, and not letting it go out with a bangSPLAT! as this one did, they’re eventually make it into the lame series that others are now complaining it is. I’d also like to see how they’re going to resurrect Jigsaw, as he clearly died at the end (you’ll have to watch to find out how…you’ll love the twisted little ending there). I’m probably going to watch ’em, but only consider the first three as the canon (I am such a geek). Regardless.

Saw III = great movie. I command thee to check it out…