Alex's Review: Saw III Best in Trilogy
by Alex Billington
October 28, 2006
The Saw franchise is one of the hottest horror series in recent memory. It brings a very distinct psychological twist to the macabre themes for which the genre is known, and yet also features the exciting "gorific" moments with the unique traps that lead "villain" Jigsaw creates. Saw III completes the trilogy experience and delivers a full-on, dark and horrific film bursting with excitement and energy from its very first scene to its jaw-dropping conclusion. It is undoubtedly the best movie of the trilogy and really shines with some of the most capable and incredible filmmaking ever seen from director Darren Lynn Bousman. Saw III is the best horror film of 2006.
Saw III picks up immediately following Saw II at a very swift pace. Jumping right into the horrific nature that Bousman delivers best, Saw III never stops for a second to allow you to catch your breath. Without divulging too much of the story, as the very intricate and meticulous plot is what makes Saw III so intriguing, it's a close continuation from the first two, often connecting via flashbacks. The two new leads this time around are Jeff (Angus Macfadyen) and Lynn (Bahar Soomekh), whose direct involvement can only be found out by seeing Saw III in theaters. Everything comes together to a shocking climax that no one in the audience will see coming. When it finally hits, you'll feel the chills down your spine as you realize that yet another fantastic Saw movie has baffled you again.
The traps, although not as numerous as most Saw fans may hope for, turned out to be just as enjoyable as those found in the first two films. They are designed well enough to ramp that "gorific" shock-factor right back up to the most appropriate level that horror fans expect in a Saw film. Each one brings all the expected nasty, grotesque excellence that Bousman and his team creates best, and will definitely earn an infamous spot amongst the horror genre's great kills. Squeamish viewers are guaranteed to spend much of the running time looking away from the screen. Saw's strength as a horror movie isn't its cheap jump-scares, but rather its gore and the jaw-dropping "oh-my-god" factor elicited by its many traps and secrets.
Villainous mastermind Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) appeared only briefly in the original Saw and was seen throughout Saw II. This time around he's constrained to a hospital bed, yet every single word he says and every sentence he speaks is full of depth and wisdom. Bell is the glowing personality that makes the entire Saw franchise grow far beyond a series of traps, and in Saw III he turns in his greatest performance yet. Shawnee Smith as Jigsaw's new apprentice Amanda creates an emotional character whose intricate understanding is portrayed perfectly with subtlety and depth. Even newcomers Bahar Soomekh and Angus Macfadyen fit easily into the gloomy atmosphere that makes up Jigsaw's universe.
Although most will have to look away at some of the more intense moments, Saw's incredibly intellectual filmmaking will gain attention in the minds of even those who typically stay far away from horror. Saw III is one of the very few horror films out there that is capable of doing so, and this is due largely in part to the original writing from Leigh Whannell combined with expert storytelling from director Darren Lynn Bousman. It has a very organic and natural feeling, something that is rare to see together in combination with an original, incredibly entertaining, and profound film.
Saw III is this year's best horror film and the best in the Saw trilogy. It lives up to the hype and even provides more gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping, edge-of-your-seat intensity and excitement. The gore presses the limits of an R rating and will force many to look away, but not at the cost of numbing the experience. Everyone in Saw III, from actors Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Dina Meyer, Bahar Soomekh, and Angus Macfadyen, to the filmmaking team of director Darren Lynn Bousman, screenwriter Leigh Whannell, cinematographer David Armstrong, and producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules, embody what make the Saw franchise so incredible and so powerful. They deserve a standing ovation for this collaborative achievement.
Reader Feedback - 20 Comments
I agree with you, it was a great movie. I have already seen it twice and loved it. Hopefully I can win the poster madness contest.
Stephen on Oct 29, 2006
Incredibly intellectual filmmaking? Good God, you haven't seen very many movies, have you? Let me guess: The last film you saw in a theater was "Son of Mask," yes?
Lyle Wallace on Oct 30, 2006
this is a great movie, of course i was looking away most of the time, lol it's too bad LYLE WALLACE, wasn't straped to one of those death traps then i would have never turned my head! lol
savannah on Oct 30, 2006
While I didn't like Saw III nearly as much as Alex did, I can see why the praise has been heaped on this series. Saw 2 and 3 really are the first horror films in quite some time to actually offer some kind of character development and a moving storyline. I really found Saw 2 to be a riveting character piece along the lines of Silence of the Lambs. No, I'm not saying that they are equal films, but they certainly are in the same family. My issue with Saw 3 was that there was what I saw as a crucial mistake at the end of the movie that pretty much went directly against what was established in the previous film. I'm sure Alex doesn't look at 2 and 3 the same way I do, so that's why we give would give it different ratings and it would also explain why I had such a huge problem with it while Alex pretty much let it slide. That is why I love working for this site. Of the five of us who put up reviews or do the podcast, all of us will look at the same film and take different things away from it. If you're going to be critical of our reviews, by all means go right ahead. We're the ones putting ourselves out there as a target for the trolls, but if you're going to be critical, please don't waste everyone's time and not put an actual critical thought in your response to us.
Dave on Oct 31, 2006
I think I caught an error as well... the dr. was cheating with another man, but just before she left for work, didn't the "other man" say he wanted a divorce? This leading you to believe he is her husband... and not someone else...
Jim on Nov 13, 2006
SAW this piece of garbage last night. First 2 were a guilty pleasue but this one was just retarded. Flashbacks reminded me of a stoned college student trying to fill up space in a shitty paper. Completely unnecessary. Do we really need to see 5 minutes of Amanda helping with the trap for the 1st SAW movie? Nope. Lyle Wallace is my hero.
Mike Goldberg on Dec 16, 2006
I agree with Mr Goldberg. Saw III is a bust-out. The first film's major selling point was novelty: it dared to be imaginative with unremitting ugliness, which made for a morbidly compelling piece of work, especially in a mainstream context. The plot twists, ghoulishly amusing as they may have been, really pushed credibility about as far as it could be pushed; as to allegations of "characterisation", I saw little evidence to support this - was I the only one too embarassed to even watch Danny Glover's "obsessed cop" bumbling around up there on the screen? Saw II still had novelty going for it, but it was clearly proud to proclaim itself under the "gratuitous sequel" banner. Again, there was a certain perverse thrill to be had with all those nasty set-pieces, but the bulk of the script was surely just filler in between kills - and, again, there were so many ridiculously far-fetched surprise twists that by the end you were kinda wishing they'd just learned how to tell a story properly, dammit. The third time around proves that Saw has finally lost it's, ahem, edge: with novelty now exhausted, we're expected to care about the convoluted narrative double-crosses. But why? We know they're hiding something from us right off the bat, so you're just waiting for revelations from the start, meaning what story there is never has a chance to develop any momentum before - SURPRISE! The cast do better than I'd expect under the circumstances, but their characters are never 100% convincing - and the only ones you even come close to empathising with are the two sadistic game-masters! The improvised brain surgery aside (my personal highlight - hysterical!), even the latent gorehound inside me was disappointed: the torture traps were more elaborate, but none could hold a candle to the diabolical simplicity (and horror) of those showcased in acts I and II. This film just didn't have any punch to it, emotionally or viscerally. It confirmed every negative thing that any serious-minded critic has said against this franchise: philosophical musings on the nature of loss and revenge went nowhere, and only highlighted just how out-of-their-league the film-makers' were in attempting to bring any depth to what is, essentially, a shameless exploitation-crossover series. In terms of pace, structure, logic, pathos, visual style, and plain old story-telling, Saw III was a mess. And not even a perversely exciting one at that.
james on Jan 15, 2007
Oh, and as to Jim's error: good spotting! Far be it from me to stick up for a movie with such serious loopholes in it's story as this one, but the implication of the lover's line "I want a divorce" could mean that he was also married to someone else, he doesn't state explicitly that he wants a divorce from Lynn. In light of the surprise revelation about Lynn and Jeff, I took this line to mean that Lover-boy was admitting that he is now more in love with her than he is with his own wife - a heavy trip to lay on a girl, especially when you're only the bit-on-the-side she uses as a distraction from her own shitty marriage, which may explain why Lynn seems to be more annoyed and shaken by the statement than legitimately upset.
james on Jan 15, 2007
Well i agree with Alex. Theres so many mixed views about this film but i thought it was great. The best movie ive seen in a long time. I thought the characters were real good, specially Bell and Smith. I didnt look away once im proud too say, i did think it would be a lot more gorey than it turned out to be though! I love this lil trillogy and i hope SAW IV is going ahead, ive heard about people writing it already, and basically it wouldnt be halloween without SAW =] now would it? Cant wait to recive my extreme edition of saw III now, got to wait another month though in the UK. Yea anyways all the SAW's are amazing so stop dissin them and go watch your lil chick filcks!
Livia on Jan 24, 2007
1st off mike goldberg person, they showed the flashbacks to establish the reason why john was testing her in the first place. this doest make sense when your watching but everything comes together in the end which makes for a good ending as well as a great plot twist. to my realization, john was suspecting amanda was really making these people die anyway b/c she was afraid that they would tell authorities. as this was against john's "rules" so he tested her by making her not kill another. remeber when the police said that the door was bolted shut in the man with chains room? and remember when somone walked into the room where one of the police was attached by her ribs? she unlocked herself but it still killed her. thats because amanda bolted the door and rigged the machine to kill her. she was afraid that they would escape with some information or that the police officer would figure her out! plus those weird flashbacks were showing amanda killing those peopel so thats how you knew that john was testing her because he didnt think she wouldve been good enough to continue his legacy. she wouldve just killed everyone or herself without john.
Jessica on Jan 28, 2007
Saw 3 rock
Ray Lerew on Mar 1, 2007
Just saw SAW 3 and am VERY confused. Lynn reunites with her husband at the end, but at the beginning we are shown her with another man (which some of you claim to be her lover). VERY consfusing, his name is chris, while her husbands name is jeff. I think it's a loophole. the writers left a little TOO much for the imagination, the average film watcher would not be able to make such a connection. especially not from a single viewing. Other than that, the movie was great, i DID turn away from the gorey-ness of some scenes, but all in all, it satisfied my SAW hunger... can't wait for SAW 4!
Lina on Mar 2, 2007
Saw 3 is the best it is awsome but the badguys got killed and thats the end of saw. But you guys come with a good one you rock.
Ray Lerew on Mar 2, 2007
I would just like to criticise the people that write in reviews about the small, few mistakes in the saw films. Who cares if the meaning as to what Chris means when he says that he wants a divorce, to Lyn (who we know is already married) is unclear- should we not just be watching this film for the entertainment and scare factor as it is a horror film, rather than picking out these very small bits that dont seem to add up. I totally agree with Jessica with what she says about the reason behind the flashbacks in the film and with James with his idea about Chris being married himself and almost reassuring Lyn that he loves her more than his wife- these are brilliant examples of people who have watched the film and filled in the gaps of it as to what they understand of the ambiguous points of the Saw series. Perhaps you people that have watched the films and say that your in some way negatively affected by the gaps in the plot, have actually just not watched it properly and are too unimaginative to think about it yourself- ask yourself wudnt it be boring to just be told about in the Saw films rather than to be shocked and shaken by the massive plot-twists at the end of each film that (as Jessica says) wraps everything up cleverly. But to everyone that has been enjoying these films- i hope that you watch the 2 or 3 other Saw films that come in the future and that you enjoy these as much as you have enjoyed the first three! I would give this film 9.5/10- just to be picky.
Aaron on Mar 12, 2007
C'mon guys, those supposed "goofs" were the critical plotpoints, the "twists in the tale", if you will. Lynn is married to Jeff. She is cheating on him with Chris (the first guy we see her with). When Chris tells her "I want a divorce", it is an answer to a question she poses to him, namely, "What is it you want of me, Chris?" The meaning is that Chris wants Lynn to get a divorce (from Jeff), so they can be exclusive. She looks fed up with this suggestion, probably because she's just treating Chris as an affair, and misses her husband, maybe subconsciously. I got the import of Jigsaw's revelation (that his apprentice/accomplice had just sealed her own fate by murdering Jeff's wife) immediately - it clicked that the first scene with Chris had been that of two cheating lovers. But when I first saw the scene, I assumed (like everyone else, probably) that they were husband and wife. That ability to surprise - that's the brilliance of this movie. This is by far the very best Saw movie - Saw I was not gory enough, and lacking this level of convolution, while Saw II was just plain old cliched rubbish. But this movie was fantastic.
Deepak on Dec 9, 2007
wow pretty cool that the directer posted a comment yeah im only 13 and im very big in the saw series ive seen all four of them and i love them and got them on dvd and the fourth soon
Andrew on Jan 15, 2008
I think some of you have the wrong idea and saw 3 is truly a great movie that loophole of i want a divorce of is that he wants lynn to get a divorce me as the directer would know and now that saw 4 is out you'll have to go and watch that
Darren Lynn Bousman on Jan 15, 2008
All I know is that I totally agree with you. The first and second were great, and for me the series stopped at the wonderful III. It was a great movie with amazing characters, people I could feel for. The deaths weren't just gory, they were heart wrenching as well as gut wrenching. The only thing I wished had been different was the death of Amanda. Now, the 4th installment was an equally well-made and infectious film, but it just wasn't the same you know? And the 5th...don't even get me started on how unbelievably boring it was. It failed to grab me, with the constant backstory and uninteresting characters...I can't say I'm looking forward to the 6th, but I guess I'll have to watch it. Just to make sure the series is actually dead.
kelly on Oct 21, 2009
Sorry, new comments are no longer allowed.