See-Saw: Day Three (Saw 3)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Budget: $10million

Box Office: $164.8million

  • Okay the advertising to this features lots of teeth ripped out of mouths. That shit better actually be relevant.
  • “game over”, weird start to a film.
  • This starts as the second one ends, with Donnie Wahlberg in a room in near darkness. What’s that, it’s been a year since you saw the last film and you can’t remember too much about it, and the lack of light makes it even harder to see what’s going on? Pfft.
  • Like seriously, you can see what’s lit up by a flashlight that never stays still. It would be great as a video game, but this is a film, you kind of want to see the basic layout of what’s going on.
  • Ok from what I can tell he just broke his own foot so he could get out of being chained up. Why the police didn’t follow him there I have genuinely no idea.
  • The police think they’ve found him, but nope it’s just a random guy called Troy. He had eleven chains inside him that he needed to rip out of his body before a bomb went off. You’ll notice this as being quite similar to the traps in the previous films, only turned up to 11.
  • Oh good. Seizure-inducing editing. Why do horror movies hate people with epilepsy?
  • He doesn’t make it and he explodes, then how do they know where the chains were located in his body if the body is now mushy sludge?
  • Okay something VERY clever just happened. They found the tape that was left at the scene (Jigsaw still hasn’t gone digital, hipster). One of the other cops called Mark Hoffman immediately went and grabbed it. Now in a future film he’s revealed as working for Jigsaw (as seemingly everybody in this series does. You either die a hero or live long enough to be a…..okay that’s too much Batman for me).
  • Detective Kerry is caught in a trap, she can’t get out, she can’t believe a word you say. I had to say something here, she’s in 3 films and barely made an impression. That’s an issue with this series as a whole actually, with the exception of Jigsaw himself, none of the other characters are memorable enough. It’s not enough to have a good villain, a horror series needs a great hero too. Nightmare On Elm Street has Nancy, Halloween has Laurie Strode, the Scream movies have Sidney Prescott. If you want to you can do a Child’s Play and not use the hero eventually, but you need to do enough with them before doing so. This doesn’t have that, it tries to provide different “heroes” every film. But there’s nothing to them.
  • Kerry dies, but before she does she says “you” to someone we don’t see as the face is in darkness. The body looks like Amanda from the last two movies, and we already know Amanda is an accomplice of Jigsaw. So why is this being treated as if it will come as a surprise to the audience when it’s finally revealed near the end?
  • Amanda has been setting these traps but making them impossible to survive. Jigsaw disapproves. Yet somehow it’s still his voice on all the tapes presented to the victims.
  • Here’s a doctor, helping people. She’s going to be kidnapped.
  • And there it is, being abducted by Amanda from the last movie. Bought to jigsaw who is clearly in bad health, that’s probably from the cancer. She got abducted from the hospital where she works. Because hospitals are well known for being easy for people to sneak into without people seeing them.
  • “who are you?” asks a character who then says she knows who he is.
  • They force a weird necklace on her neck which will explode if Jigsaw dies. Very Battle-Royale.
  • So the main character is a dude named Jeff who has a dead child, and is very annoyed about that. He’s still mourning his son, so Jigsaw has kidnapped him, like a shitty therapist.
  • Jeff walks into a freezer and finds a naked woman. He also finds a tape recorder telling him the woman was a witness to the hit and run that killed his son, but she didn’t testify, she’ll be sprayed with freezing water until she dies. This is where the film falls apart for me and shows the difference between a great plot, and a great script. Firstly; why did she have to be naked? Once clothes are soaked in freezing water they won’t exactly keep her warm, if anything it will make her colder and will stick to her body causing her more pain. Is it because “booooooobs”? I fear it is. Because even when a woman dies, she has to be sexy, damnit! Now my next point, and the most important one. Why does the tape explain who she is? He knows, he obviously knows. If he’s been obsessing over this court case he obviously knows her, so why does the tape say it? It’s just for the benefit of the audience. It’s the horror equivalent of a character saying “as your sister who you haven’t spoken to properly in a while because of an argument we had years ago” (which I swear is pretty close to actual dialogue I’ve heard in a film). Jeff tries to save her but fails and she dies anyway. I mean you could argue that because she drove away he didn’t know who she was. But then how did Jigsaw find out who she was?
  • And we’re back to Amanda and the Doctor (not the doctor from the first one, this one’s a lady doctor, so she automatically gets hate mail from lonely nerds, her name is Lynn). Her and Amanda are having tense moments, Amanda teases her in a way that would be a lot better if it was a more charismatic character. Telling her about the way she could kill her but it would be pointless as she’s going to die anyway.
  • Amanda: “you’ll be surprised what tools can save a life” then she picks up the torture device she was locked in. Symbolism! Really, really, really unsubtle symbolism.
  • We get another flashback, this time to Amanda being put in the trap. I’m genuinely interested whether all this stuff was filmed at the same time as the first one, or whether they just re-recorded/recreated a lot of it. If they did it all at the start I’m impressed at their forward planning.
  • Now back to *checks notes* Jeff. In his next room: the judge who sentenced the driver that killed Jeff’s son. He’s at a bottom of a vat slowly being covered in liquidised pig bodies. The only way to get the key is to burn his sons belongings. This REALLY should be better than it is. It should be full of emotion and despair, but it’s not. I don’t know whether it’s the acting, the fact it’s shot like a standard horror movie, or the music being completely wrong, but it just rings hollow. You don’t feel the gravity of what’s happening. He does it, and saves the judge’s life. This is the other reason this film doesn’t really work for me, he should have tried to save everybody. He should have gradually come round to the idea of saving people. So there’s not really any “will he attempt to save them or will he not?” as we’ve already seen that he will. It completely robs it of any dramatic tension.
  • And back to the doctors office. Lynn is planning to relieve the tension on Jigsaws head by drilling into his skull. Pretty disgusting but again, it could be better. You see it happen but you don’t feel it. You don’t wince when she cuts it with it a saw, or anything. Compare that to the arm severing scene from 127 hours. You FELT that. When he went through the nerves in his arm, it was uncomfortable to watch as you felt how much it hurt. You don’t get that in this. The only editing tricks they use are the typical “quick cuts and bright lights” they’ve used throughout these movies.
  • And now more flashbacks back to Amanda surviving the first test. Jigsaw points out that the old Amanda is a completely different person and she needs to devote herself to him now. Incredibly creepy the idea that he can have a cult of followers. Never really touched upon though. I mean, yeah, he has a lot of followers it turns out, but never really feels like a cult.
  • We see Amanda abducting Adam from the first movie. I hope you remember the first movie, because if not then a lot of this film will mean absolutely nothing to you. MAJOR problem with these films actually; absolutely none of them stand up on their own. Every film feels incomplete somehow.
  • Oh, we’re seeing the entire preparation for the room in the first movie. Because that’s what this horror movie needed; flashbacks of people moving stuff. It adds to the first movie yes, but it adds NOTHING to this movie. If you take that entire section out it would take nothing away from the narrative, all we discovered from it was “Amanda helped Jigsaw with the room”.
  • A bit with Lynn, and then BACK TO THE FLASHBACKS. This film is attempting three narratives at once, and none of them are working. Amanda kills Adam, I think. It was mostly dark.
  • We’re back with the (I think) main story of Jeff. The judge is alongside him, and seems remarkably well-composed considering. Actually, they both seem really clean considering. Jeff triggers the next trap by kicking something, I think he kicked the door open. A guy (the one who killed Jeff’s son) is tied in what is essentially an iron crucifix. It slowly twists, breaking the guys limbs, but doesn’t start until the end of another recorded message on tape.
  • The judge is smart, he looks at the key to the machine and tries to figure out what to do. Jeff wastes the entire time just staring at the kid being tortured. This is one where time is of the essence, so now he’s realised he’s wasted all that time just standing there when he should have been doing something, and now with a definite time limit, he monologues. Jeff’s a dick.
  • The key activates a shotgun, killing the judge. That entire trap could have been avoided if they pulled the key out and got out the way. Or if they hooked it with a coat-hanger.
  • The trap twists the guys head, killing him, but after Jeff got the key. If he hadn’t dicked about he definitely would have managed to save him, it’s the same for the first trap too.
  • Lynn calls Jigsaw a murderer. His response “I despise murderers”. Really? So you don’t count “rigging 5 shotguns so it kills a police officer when he triggers it” murder? You can’t claim manslaughter as you knew what would happen, and you know what it would cause, and it’s five fucking shotguns.
  • Jigsaw covers a tape in wax, and Amanda freaks out over a letter. Why did either of these things happen? You won’t find out. Not in this movie anyway.
  • More flashbacks! Amanda killed Donnie Whalberg. This scene doesn’t belong in the third saw movie, at least not near the end. It’s not part of the narrative of this film, it’s the narrative of the second one. Yes, it’s about Amanda, who a lot of the narrative of this has been about, but it’s the conclusion to his arc, so it’s more his. He dies because he taunted Amanda by saying “you’re not Jigsaw, bitch”. Which, I can’t explain why, but is just a shockingly bad piece of dialogue. This scene went on way too long, and was so badly lit it was kind of hard to see what was going on.
  • Okay and now we’re back to Lynn etc. Amanda has a kind of monologue about how Lynn isn’t shit, and she’s better and still needs help. She cries, emotes, but…..nothing. The performance just doesn’t work. It’s first-year drama student level of “emoting”.
  • Amanda manages to shoot Lynn. You knew it was going to happen, and you knew Lynn was Jeff’s wife. I think it was supposed to be a twist but the whole “Lynn and Jeff are a couple” was really obvious. The only surprising part is that Amanda shot her without looking at her. Of course, Jeff sees this and shoots Amanda. She lives long enough to hear Jigsaw monologue his motivations to her for a few minutes in a scene which again isn’t needed as we kind of guessed everything he said. More to the point; how did Amanda not realise Lynn was Jeff’s wife? She didn’t realise they shared the same last name? Or look at ANY photos in their home?
  • Just realised Jigsaw uses tapes a lot. Is he buying hundreds of tape players in bulk?
  • Jigsaw makes a reference to Jeff’s daughter, making it obvious she’s been kidnapped.
  • Jeff goes to his wife’s side. She’s in pain but doesn’t seem to make it clear to him that if Jigsaw dies, she dies too. Which would be pretty useful information considering that Jeff then slices Jigsaw’s throat, with a saw, possibly a jigsaw, I’m not that well versed on my saw types. Okay, I get that her voice is wavering due to the blood loss, but she could hit something metal against something else to get Jeff’s attention.
  • Oh, this is the twist. Jigsaw plays a tape as he dies indicating that he’s kidnapped his daughter (was that a twist? It was pretty obvious really). And now he’s dead nobody else will know where Jeff’s daughter is. So, Jigsaw essentially killed a child here. Will she be saved? Find out in another movie! Because god knows this film can’t be allowed to close it’s own stories.
  • And so yeah that’s that over. The main villain of the franchise is dead. So I’m sure they’ll be no more sequels. I mean, it would be stupid for them to do more, right?
  • One final point; why did so much of the promotional material depend on ripped out teeth when there was NOTHING like that in the film?

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