| November 1, 2006

“Saw 3” comes out just in time for Halloween for the third year in a row. This mega successful franchise that continues to grow just can’t be stopped. Taking place right where the sequel left off Jigsaw has disappeared and the cops are clueless. Jigsaw’s new apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith) has become the operator and puppet master behind Jigsaw’s vicious games. While detectives continue to get nowhere in locating Jigsaw, Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) is kidnapped by Amanda and taken to an abandoned warehouse where she meets Jigsaw, aka: John Kramer (Tobin Bell), who’s now bedridden and on the verge of death. Lynn is ordered to keep Jigsaw alive for as long as it takes Jeff (Angus Macfayden), another of his victims, to complete a game of his own or lose her own life.
Don’t worry this story formula is paint by numbers compared to “Saw 2” and all the characters are intertwined. And if you miss a thing Saw 3 makes sure to give you the 5-minute overview flashback that has become a device of this franchise for story telling. It’s kind of like an annoying toddler shouting at you during the third act, “Did you get it? Did you? If not let me show you all the plot points again. Oh and here’s some more character background too.” Saw 3 is so gory, so disgusting, just like the other two. If you like that, then you’ll probably like this one as well. The point of this franchise doesn’t seem to be who can write the most enduring characters but who can be the grossest, sickest and most violent. Torture is a definite ongoing theme in these films.
I’ll admit that the saw movies have a lot of flaws but I’ll have to be honest and say I’m a fan. I like what the franchise has done. This franchise started off with the first “Saw” movie three years ago as an independent film made on a little over a million dollars with a writer and director relatively young to the business. After Saw was a huge success grossing mega bucks in the theatre and on DVD, the sequel came out and topped the first and now Saw 3 will top it’s predecessor. What I like about the Saw movies is that for each movie even though the budgets have gradually increased (Saw 2 was made for 4 million and Saw 3 was made for 12 million) they always try and find a new horror director to expose and take a fresh look on the Jigsaw character. As long as each new director and writer play within the pre-developed formula they are allowed to see just how sick that can be.
This franchise reminds me of “The Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise when it was booming in the late 1980’s turning out sequels that all followed relatively the same formula over and over but they were a lot of fun and Freddy Krueger became a franchise and pop culture icon. Saw isn’t as much fun and doesn’t have the humor of Nightmare on Elm Street. Saw is creating the next franchise horror character in Jigsaw and we haven’t seen this is years. “Scream” tried to do this but it was always a different killer under the mask. Let’s see how long it takes the Saw movies to screw it up.
Here’s the Bottom Line: You want to see some violence and gore check out Saw 3. It won’t keep you in suspense and you’ll probably figure out the ending halfway through but you will squirm on the edge of your seat. In fact all I’ll say is the sound design in the opening scene with Donnie Walberg is sick. Just sick. Pig slop. Nuff said.

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