And by “it,” I mean “I can’t publish the first two letters of the word I really mean but it rhymes.”
You know what the deal is here — people wake up to find themselves in traps where they can possibly live (and be horribly maimed) or die in some way referencing the wrongs they’ve committed. There’s one of these that serves as a sort of one-off to reintroduce us to the concept and then a longer “game” involving one guy attempting to outwit several of these to save his wife and then another plot thread about the widow, Jill (Betsy Russell), of the original Jigsaw killer (Tobin Bell) and her cat-and-mouse game with new Jigsaw, Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). The movie starts more or less where the last one (which, I believe, was the sixth in the series) left off.
Also, Cary Elwes, the guy whose sawing-through-his-own-leg climax helped give the series its name way back in the first Saw, appears. Sans foot, of course.
Here are things I considered while watching this movie:
(1) Is this truly the last Saw? Wikipedia says so. Elwes’ appearance gives some bookendiness to the whole thing. And also, according to Wikipedia, Saw 3D’s opening weekend take of $22.5 million, while it may have won the weekend, is less than the previous Saws’. And, like the last Saw, it didn’t do as well as the Paranormal Activity movie that came out a week earlier. So yes, it appears dead, since money is what keeps this rotting zombie animated. However, there is some wiggle room, story-wise. I think I’ll believe the franchise is dead when we pass a Halloween without a Saw movie. Now please, God, don’t let them re-imagine the thing.
(2) What happened to Cary Elwes’ career? He spun off into Val Kilmer territory so quickly. Princess Bride was in 1987, Hot Shots! came out in 1991. The coffin was shut tight with Robin Hood: Men in Tights in 1993. Let us pause for a moment and bow our heads.
(3) Is this movie particularly misogynist? Most of the big gory deaths in this film are of women, helpless tied-up women who die for their sins, even though often times the greater sin was committed by the guy in the scenario. I can’t remember what the ratio was in previous movies. The women do tend to be drips in the Saw movies ways that they aren’t in other horror movies (Hostel 2, The Descent), even extremely violent ones. This bothers me a little but there is such a thick fog of dumbness hanging over the movie (your average porn actor is a memer of the Royal Shakespeare Company compared to the actors here) that I noticed this but had a hard time getting riled up about it anyway.
(4) The Saw movies are ridiculous. So, why can’t they be funny? Just saying.
(5) Actually, Saw VI had some funny moments and then there were the Scott Patterson years? Who, you say. Luke from Gilmore Girls, I say. Right!, you say, he couldn’t act at all here. Nope, I say, and that was kinda entertaining. But his character died like two movies ago.
(6) OK, so maybe “funny” isn’t the point. But why aren’t they scary? The first movie had a question at its core — would you chop off your own foot if it were the only way to save your life — that wasn’t particularly scary but was a bit disturbing. But as the movies continued, there were no “what would you do” questions, no way for your mind to creep you out even if the movie didn’t. What would you do? You would die gruesomely. Where’s the suspense? I can’t have suspense if I know what’s going to happen, even if what’s going to happen involves eye-squishing. And in the specific case of this movie, the 3-D made a movie that’s already rather cheesy look positively Ed Woodian. And if you move your head an inch you lose the picture almost entirely. You can’t be scared of what’s just annoying you.
(7) Is it over yet? Yes. Probably. See question 1. F
Rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language. Directed by Kevin Greutert and written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, Saw 3D is an hour and 31 minutes long and is distributed in wide release by Lionsgate.