Movie Review: Saw 3D

By Matthew Huntley

November 2, 2010

I'm sure she'll be fine.

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Saw VII, or Saw 3D, or whatever you want to call it, is the kind of movie I hate reviewing because I can’t stand the idea it’s wasting any more of my time. This latest installment of the unsinkable horror series has convinced me it is now a lost cause, that no matter what critics say or how little money the movie makes, the filmmakers are going to continue to churn out garbage because they believe it can’t be any other way. Instead of attempting to be ambitious or flip their own trends upside down, they’ll continue to do the same thing over and over again. My only beacon of hope is to possibly dissuade others from seeing it and help put an end to this miserable franchise once and for all. That would make it worth it. Here it goes.

For starters, the movie is utterly pointless. If you’ve seen any other Saw movie, then you’ve seen Saw 3D. It is a carbon copy of the worst in the series (take your pick) and offers no interesting scenes. As a horror film, it’s not scary, thrilling, exciting, funny or even gross in an amusing way. In one word, it’s boring. Just trying to rationalize the filmmakers’ intentions with this mess incites frustration and anger. Did they really believe they were making something worth watching? Did they expect us to cheer at this nonsense?

Strangely enough, it’s not the movie’s implausibility or porno-level acting or epileptic style that’s irritating (all these can at least be amusing); it’s that the movie offers no possibility it’s ever going to take a different direction than what we’ve seen before. After the opening death sequence, which is just an exercise in shock value, I knew there wouldn't be any surprises, or worse yet, not even the possibility of any. Once again, I was going to have to endure a tired, goofy plot whose only reason for being was to hang elaborate and over-the-top death scenes. When that much is clear so early on, you know you’re in for an hour and a half of hardship and tedium.


As before, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), the serial killer who speaks from beyond the grave via cassette tapes and video recordings, has gone to painstaking lengths to teach someone a moral lesson. This time it’s a fraudulent Jigsaw survivor named Bobby (Sean Patrick Flannery), who has written a book about his faux ordeal with the killer. He’s been kidnapped by Jigsaw’s living right-hand man (Costas Mandylor) and is forced to go through a series of deadly games in order to save his wife and colleagues. If you’ve seen any other Saw picture, you know the drill of the plot, and once again, we can’t believe any one person, or even a whole slew of artists and engineers, could design such lavish death traps and time them so perfectly.

But the implausibility I can take. What fries me is the movie provides Bobby no chance of saving his friends or his wife (oops, did I just give something away?). It doesn’t even entertain the notion. The filmmakers assume the audience has paid for violence, gore and torture and that’s all we want to see. But if there’s no other way the movie could go, what’s the point of watching it? The violence, gore and torture we’ve seen before, and it’s not like it’s gotten any more interesting or innovative. It’s cheap, flashy and derivative of the previous Saw movies.

If you’re a loyal fan of the series, then I guess you’d be interested to know there’s a subplot involving the final showdown between Mandylor and Jigsaw’s wife (Betsy Russell), but that too proceeds and ends without an interesting consequence. One of the characters dies, but there’s no significance behind his or her death, and it feels completely gratuitous.

Saw 3D is the worst kind of movie because it’s clear the filmmakers had no ideas left, but they went and made a movie anyway. It’s like they knew they were doing something wrong but didn’t care because there was money to be made. And don’t let the name fool you. Saw 3D gains nothing by being shot and presented in an extra dimension. All it does is make its existence more desperate and pathetic because you realize the franchise has reverted to visual gimmicks just to stay alive. At this point, it’s not even running on fumes; all it has left to burn is the audience.



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