Starring Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flannery and Tobin Bell
Directed by Kevin Gruetert
Written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan
If the producers of the Saw films are to believed then Saw 3D will be the seventh and last in the series, the decision to end it coming on the heels of Saw 6’s underperformance at the box office. That said, should Saw 3D do well this weekend…
Costas Mandylor returns as Hoffman
Now I would never wish ill on a film’s fortunes, but Saw 3D does manage to wrap up the series relatively neatly so there’s really no need for a Saw 8. It all depends on you, people!
Plot-wise, Saw 3D finds Jigsaw’s successor Hoffman (Mandylor) simultaneously stalking Jigsaw’s wife Jill (Betsy Russell) for her attempt to kill him in Saw VI and orchestrating a final (?) set of games, centred around Bobby (Flannery), a supposed Jigsaw survivor who has parlayed his experience into a best-seller. But if there’s one thing Jigsaw (Tobin Bell, making an effective and not unbelievable cameo) can’t brook it’s someone who hasn’t earned their right to live. So as Bobby and his loved ones get put to the test, Det. Gibson (Chad Donella), a cop with a history with Hoffman, is on the psychopath’s trail.
To give long-time Saw writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan credit, they manage to make Saw 3D a less convoluted experience than others in the series. They also bring back original Saw star Cary Elwes as Dr. Gordon. (Elwes, perhaps the weakest element of the first Saw because he never seemed committed to the part, ups his game this time out.) And, yes, the infamous reverse bear trap from the first film gets used, to rather devastating effect.
Criticizing Saw 3D for its violence and logical inconsistencies (for instance, certain innocent people die, against Jigsaw’s strict if perverse moral code) is like criticizing blood for being red. It is what it is, and at this point, the Saw films are about the efficacy of the traps, and Melton and Dunstan have come up with some doozies, with more than enough blood filled to satisfy gorehounds or any remaining torture porn fans.
Cary Elwes as Dr. Gordon
The 3D is fine but not immersive. Body parts get flung at the camera, and it all comes off as satisfyingly gimmicky. This ain’t Avatar.
As for the future of torture porn, there is none. Saw was a key player in that dying genre, and horror has moved on. If Saw 3D is the final chapter (and we’re saying a little prayer), then at least it’s gone out with a bloody bang.