Saw 3D … The Final Chapter, Finally

So to get this out of the way, this movie is pretty terrible, but gets a bonus half of a star because the film was in fact shot in 3D (as opposed to converted) and did feature saws. Anyway, seven years later after the flawed, but only acceptable film in this series, Saw once again opens on Halloween weekend, but this time adding a whole new dimension. While I am aware that the gore-hounds will once again enjoy this film for the most part, the same problems and reasons for why I dislike this series exist: Ridiculous logic, plot, and characters, along with a lack of suspense, instead replaced by ample ways for you to feel dirty afterward. But hey, at least this should be the final Saw we see.

Gibson: She’s as crazy as a bag of cats. 

Who needs a recap? Picking up after the events of Saw VI, we find that the new Jigsaw, Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), is still up to continuing the original’s legacy, setting up all sorts of crazy traps. The main person involved in this new series of horrible mazes is Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery), a man who claims to have been a victim of Jigsaw in the past, but survived his game and has now written a book about his experience. I think many will know where this is going, and soon enough for Bobby, he finds himself trying to escape a new set of traps, while rescuing those he cares about, who are also stuck in his situation.

Meanwhile, Hoffman has some old scores of his own to settle. He is seeking revenge on the old Jigsaw’s wife, Jill (Betsy Russell), who tried to murder Hoffman in the previous film. He decides to do so in the most inventive and convoluted way possible, involving his former police partner, more trap victims, a junkyard, lots of surveillance, etc. It’s nice to know that these Jigsaw killers are putting all of the amazing talents they have to good use. So the traps are set, the pawns are in play, and there may be a few surprises left to keep you occupied with your bloody time.

Again, I understand that there is an audience for this series, which appreciates what these movies try to do, much more than me; however, beyond the problems I have with this movie from a horror film standpoint; I can even point out problems with the film as a Saw movie. Since the film was shot in 3D (which requires nicer and heavier cameras), the film is very bright and pretty, basically ripping away the dirt and grittiness that the Saw series has been known for. Everything looks way too polished, and none of the clever editing feels quite right. Also, as a series that is built around clever story twists, this was the most predictable of all the Saw films. It goes out of its way to tie a lot of plot points together, but judging by what you learn in the early portions of the film, it is not too hard to figure out what may occur or which characters will play an important role later on.

Now beyond those issues, the other things that make this movie terrible are pretty much all logic related. I am not even talking about the traps, I just do not care about these scenes, they do their job with keeping the gore and blood pumping, while the audience squirms. I am referring to all the scenes involving the cops and people outside Jigsaw’s game. Basically a bunch of morons run around the crime scenes with their badges and guns, always two steps behind, despite thinking they are cleverer than they are.

The story is ludicrous and the traps feel tired. Everything is basically a game of connect-the-dots, as the film stitches together reasons that all these people would interact, while horrible things happen to them. And Jigsaw has become very petty. The first trap makes three people suffer because a girl was cheating on her boyfriend with his friend…yawn. I would have hoped that since that trap was set out in public, the stakes could have raised to somewhere interesting, but nope, not the case. We never learn any connection to why those particular people were chosen, and are thrust into the rest of the silly story, which makes sure to stay indoors, with the games located in the forgotten, grimy, soundproof warehouses all over the city.

A major factor that should have probably gotten some fans excited was having both Tobin Bell once again return as the original Jigsaw via flashbacks and the announcement of Cary Elwes returning as the now one-footed Dr. Gordon. Unfortunately, neither of these characters has more than a couple minutes on screen. Bell in particular intrigues me, because he is given top billing in the cast, but literally delivers a monologue and is gone. It’s nice to see Elwes again, but…well I don’t want to spoil anything.

So this film is not good. For being the most expensive Saw film (due to its use of 3D, complete with gore and blades thrown at the audiences faces), it certainly feels kind of lazy (which may have to do with director Kevin Greutert being forced to make this film instead of Paranormal Activity 2, due to contractual obligation). Saw fans may get a kick out of some moments here or there, but even they could agree that they are glad this is the final chapter. I may have been enjoying myself on a silly level while watching the film (anyone would be hard-pressed not to laugh at a cop explaining to a woman the definition of a safe room by repeating the words “safe room” over and over), but it is certainly not one I’d recommend.

“Jigsaw”: Game Over
Myself: I hope so


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

8 Responses to “Saw 3D … The Final Chapter, Finally”

  1. Gregg Senko

    Great review, Aaron! I enjoyed it and the seemingly well-directed sarcasm to a film that sounds like it fell pretty short of being entertaining (especially the last two lines, ha!). The first one was clever to the Nth degree though this franchise isn’t my type of movie. I get the strong impression they all started declining in quality from there.

  2. Brian White

    Here’s my take as I was in the same 3D theater as Aaron was last night.

    The first hour equals a cheesy 1980’s slasher film.

    The last half hour was how SAW should be 🙁

    What happened? I have to agree with Aaron’s statement he made last night. The use od 3D cameras just cheapened the whole production. The filmmakers were forced to do something they just don’t do in Saw films…shoot in bright light 🙁 It wasn’t your gritty visceral performance we are so accustomed to and as a result, effect shots looked super fake 🙁

    I heard a rumor that the writers had a brilliant idea for a Saw 8 that would end the franchise right…I don’t care what anyone says…I want that ending because I severely disappointed and let down here…or my $51…make it happen!

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    They actually had 7 and 8 planned out, but because of 6’s underperformance at the box office the stories for both were blended together.

  4. Brian White

    @Aaron…as Gregg would say to me when he hears something he doesn’t like…BOO!

  5. Sean Ferguson

    I will never understand the appeal these movies have for people. I don’t understand why people pay good money just to see people get tortured. But then again, I don’t like horror movies so obviously I’m not the target demographic. I’m just that this is the last one!

  6. Brian White

    It may or may not be the last one. I hope it isn’t.

    @Sean…have you ever watched Saw?

    There is more than just the torturing of people. Heck, Indiana Jones got tortured many times. As did Han Solo. (I’m putting on my boxing gloves). But, I know what you mean. You don’t like the grotesque side. And that’s fine. These films are not for you. I like realism in my movies so some of this, the filmmaking style, appeals to me. What I can’t stomach is all the medical related scenes.

    Up until part 7, the way they tie everything in between all the films has always been ingenious. The montages at the end were all well worth the wait. So what happened here? Ugh!

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    Sean, I never liked this series, including the first. You’re not missing anything here by not seeing any of these, including the first. I no fan of torture, but that isn’t the stuff that bothers me, the films try to have plots that attempt to seem way more clever than they are, and “ingenious” is never the feeling I get when each one wraps itself up. And the NIN/Se7en-lite filmmaking style these films strive for always bugs me.

  8. Sean Ferguson

    Brian – My wife made me watch the first three or four (hard to remember since they are all basically the same movie) and I didn’t like any of them. The first at least could have been interesting if it hadn’t focused on graphic torture. You should be ashamed of yourself for even daring to equate the level of torture between the saw movies and Indiana Jones or Empire! There is a big difference between having Vader shock you and putting your hand in a vial of acid or cutting of your own leg off or having a bear trap crush your head etc. Give me a break.

    Aaron I agree totally with your last comment. Well said!