Film Reviews

Saw 3D Kevin Greutert

Rating - 4/10

Saw 3D might very well be the worst sequel to a horror movie since Freddy’s Revenge. Not content with its humble roots as the little gore flick that could, the plot of this series has grown convoluted to the point of parody, as each successive film not only assumes that you’ve seen the rest, but that you’ve done so five minutes before walking into the theater. Beyond that, Saw actually makes the mistake of assuming you care about what happens to these characters, which is kind of hard to do when they keep killing off any character who might have half a chance at bringing Jigsaw down.

Before the review proper begins, I’d like to take note that Saw 3D does absolutely nothing to justify its 3D premium asking price. For all the talk of whether or not 3D is ruining cinema, Saw 3D is the first film I can remember that decides to take the tactic of calling itself 3D despite containing a grand total of 7 seconds of poorly done effects.

Anyway, the first trilogy wrapped up into a neat little package, and if things had been left there, Saw’s legacy would be unsullied. But why cash in on two sequels when you can have six? From Saw IV out, the process of watching a Saw movie has become like watching three films at once: We get the awful police procedural stuff, Jigsaw’s game in progress, and the ridiculous infighting among Jigsaw’s varying accomplices and relations fighting to succeed him once he’s gone.

Still, one could make an argument that the traps are the only reason people come to see these things. Even on this level, Saw’s “final” chapter falls flat: The closest Saw 3D gets to an “innovative” trap is the first one: a hokey, vaguely misogynistic parable on the dangers of being a lying two-bit ho in a love triangle* which is notable only for being the first time in the series where a game is played outside, in broad daylight, with a gawking audience. As soon as it’s over, we’re right back inside the dark, dingy warehouses with a particularly lazy set of traps. Where’s the junkie crawling around in a pit of needles for her key, or even the simple brilliance of the first film’s chained foot puzzle? These are nowhere to be found, confirming that Saw 3D’s opener was nothing more than a bait-and-switch for the trailer.

* Seriously, Hostel I and II already mixed gender politics with torture porn, and they did it way better than Saw could ever dream of.

If the traps are lazy, then the acting is even worse. Nobody expects the academy to stand up and recognize a gore flick for best anything, but the performances in Saw 3D are bad, even for the low bar set by the genre. Think of the worst acting you’ve ever seen on a daytime soap opera, and you’re in the ballpark. At this point, nobody involved with these things is having fun anymore, and it shows.

Horror movies tend to do well creatively when they tackle contemporary issues, and so Saw VI’s healthcare theme was a shot in the arm for the series, a place from which to rebuild its legacy. Sadly, it didn’t take: The script to this “final” Saw reads like a bad compilation of every poorly written piece of Jigsaw fan fiction to ever be posted on the Internet. As usual, there is a plot twist out of left field in the final moments of the film, and without giving too much away, it would be fairly easy to spot from 1000 yards, except that when your mind initially considers it, you’ll think to yourself that no, not even this series would take things there, deep in the bowels of the 9th layer of retconned hell, but rest assured that they do, and when it happens, your mind initially wants to find it clever in order to let Saw go out on a good note, right before realizing that such a revelation does nothing more than create the kind of time paradox which makes the whole Kyle Reese/John Connor thing seem like a no-brainer.

It’s easy to forget that Saw used to be pretty suspenseful and genuinely shocking with its twist endings. This is such an awful way for The Most Successful Horror Franchise Ever to go out, but at least the pain is over and the bleeding has stopped… until the inevitable reboot.