Review: Saw 3D
PLOT: Picking up immediately after the last instalment, SAW 3D finds Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) the inheritor of the late Jigsaw's (Tobin Bell) legacy. While seeking revenge on Jigsaw's ex-wife, Jill (Betsy Russell), who left him for dead in the previous instalment, he also begins a new deadly game with former Jigsaw victim-turned self-help guru Bobby Degan (Sean Patrick Flanery).
REVIEW: Well, well, another Halloween brings another SAW flick. While one might have presumed that the series had finally run out of steam after the last sequel (VI I believe, I stopped following these after SAW III) underperformed at the box office- the popularization of 3D has inspired the producers to give the franchise another go, so now we have SAW 3D!
As far as I'm concerned, this is a franchise that cannot end fast enough. While I'll admit to having been a modest fan of the first SAW (which remains a clever, stylish horror thriller), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET this is not, and the fact that we've had to suffer through six sequels in as many years is ludicrous.
Alas, they keep making money, so obviously there's an audience for them. If you're a hardcore gore-hound who doesn't really care about storyline, than you may indeed enjoy this outing. There are dozens of gory kills, with the 3D being used to nauseating effect (although it's worth noting only the kills seem to have actually been shot in 3D, with the rest of the film seeming like an up-conversion).
Other than that gimmick, SAW 3D is no different than any of the other films. The trailers are selling this as the final chapter, but there's really no definitive ending here, and the door is left wide open for another sequel. There's virtually no story here to speak of, with this adhering closely to the franchise formula (gory traps for people that have committed morally questionable acts). The acting is strictly direct-to-DVD level all the way. Franchise vets Tobin Bell (who died four movies ago) and Cary Elwes make brief appearances, with them having two scenes each, although Bell still lends his voice to the traps- which of course, makes no sense as he's supposed to be dead.
Sean Patrick Flanery gets the lion's share of screen time, but this is strictly a paycheck role for him, with this lacking any of the energy he brought to THE BOONDOCK SAINTS films. Costas Mandylor chews a bit of scenery, and former scream queen Betsy Russell LOOKS great (the imdb lists her as 47, but she could pass for twenty years younger), but neither gets a heck of a lot to do.
Still, you don't go into a SAW film expecting a lot of depth, so if you liked the other ones, you'll enjoy this. For me it was a bit of a chore to sit through, although I will admit to liking the opening scene, where two buddies are placed in a trap involving two table saws, and their cheating girlfriend. After that, it's all pretty downhill, but the gore effects are good, and Charlie Clouser's score gives the proceedings a bit of energy. All in all it's a slick gore flick, but there's absolutely no substance whatsoever. If you're cool with that (which apparently a lot of people are as this made a bundle this weekend, virtually assuring us another SAW next year), than have at it. Everyone else, stay home and watch a real horror movie.
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