HT Schuyler: Saw 3D (VII) Review.

Posted: November 8, 2010 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated 18A for grisly, violent traps, graphic language, and disturbing torture scenes…in 3D.

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Sean Patrick Flanery and Cary Elwes.

Directed by: Kevin Greutert.

WARNING: The following review was written by an extreme SAW fan, so this review is intended for SAW/horror fans, and if you are not one of these, by all means read the review and see the movie, but keep in mind it may contain spoilers from the previous films…so go watch them I through VI.

If it’s Halloween, it must be SAW, but this time, it’s in eye-popping, mind-blowing, heart-pounding, money-grabbing 3D! On that note, let’s talk about the 3D first, just to get it out of the way. Is this movie perfect for 3D? NO. Not at all, but it looks decent I guess. I’m not a fan of 3D at all, I think it’s an overused gimmick, but considering this movie was filmed in “state of the art” technology, I was curious on how it would turn out. It works well enough, and THANKFULLY the ridiculous 3D moments shown in the trailer are not present in the film (car crashing threw the screen and landing on the audience, pig-mask picking up an audience member and dragging them into the screen…(sigh)), but they never really do anything that really lends itself to the 3D, besides the odd P.O.V shot of someone in a trap. I think it’s safe to say that one of only reasons this movie was in 3D was so you would have to pay more to see it, so it would end up making more money. Now, some people have been wondering why this movie is called SAW 3D instead of SAW VII. I personally think it should have been called SAW VII then maybe add “in 3D” on the poster or something like that. I think it was called SAW 3D for two reasons, one, so they could cash-in on the 3D gimmick, and two, so they could attempt to cover-up the fact that it was a sequel, so the average movie-goer will be like, “hey, let’s go see this SAW 3D,” without being worried about not seeing the other ones, and because if you were to bring up the fact that it’s the seventh movie, most people will be like “Wow when are they gonna end this stupid series, there’s way to many!” Yet you don’t hear people complaining about how many FRIDAY THE 13TH or NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET movies there are. Now, most people are saying that this won’t be the final SAW, and all I can say is, that question is still up in the air. The writers say it’s the final, but even though the ending wraps everything up (sort of) it leaves it open for another film…or three. Do I think there should be another SAW? Well, the ending does leave a couple questions unanswered, but I don’t think they need to make another film answering them, they could easily just leave them a mystery, or maybe answer them in the next video game installment. Despite my complaints about the 3D and unresolved story-lines, don’t get me wrong, I loved this film. I have complaints, but we’ll get to them later.

This movie has about three plots going on at the same time, but so do most of the other SAW movies. Plot #1 is centered on a man named Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery), who is a self-help guru, and has been doing his best to help survivors of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) move on with there lives, which means there are lots of cameos by survivors of the previous films. He is inevitably captured and put in a game that requires him to try and save the people who have helped him with his success, in order to get to the end and save his wife. Plot #2 involves Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) trying to evade the police and track down Jill (Betsy Russell) in order to get revenge for what she did to him at the end of SAW VI. Finally, Plot #3 involves Jill trying to hide from Hoffman by informing the police about his ties with Jigsaw in return for there protection. Now, the man she goes to for help, Gibson (Chad Donella), is an idiot. I don’t know if he was written this way, or whether Chad Donella chose not to act for this role, but I couldn’t stand his character. He has dumb dialog, pathetic motivations, jerk qualities and not even a satisfying exit. His character felt really out of place with everything else that was going on, but whatever, it didn’t bug me too much, it just felt out of place. But overall it didn’t take that much away from what was good.

The Good:

Besides what I earlier mentioned, the acting is good. A lot of people say that Costas Mandylor is a terrible actor and ruins the SAW movies…I can not understand why they say that. I think he’s a good actor, and is interesting and surprising. For the past three movies we’ve all been wondering how far his character Hoffman is going to go, and whether he is going to stay true to Jigsaw or not, and all I’m going to say is that the last ten minutes of this film took me completely by surprise and left me shocked. Unfortunately Tobin Bell is not in this nearly as much as he has been in the past films, but his one main scene with Bobby is awesome, and well acted, but of course we’d expect nothing less from Tobin Bell. The traps are insanely unique and look incredible when they go off. They’re gruesome, disturbing, and in 3D. Let’s just say they certainly did not disappoint a SAW fan. The story is pretty good, and you get to see some familiar faces, which is nice. One of the best things about this film is the explanation behind Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes), which I won’t spoil, but all I’ll say is it’s great. You can tell that this film wanted to cater to everything the SAW fans wanted (e.g. lots of traps, Dr. Gordon, returning characters), but one thing it finally showed and was indescribably incredible, was the Reverse-Bear-Trap going off and killing someone. I won’t spoil who it killed, but it looked disgustingly brilliant. They also brought back a very important setting that fans haven’t seen since the third movie, and the way they tie everything together at the end is outstanding. I really can’t get into what I loved most about this movie without spoiling it, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, there are flaws in this film. As I stated earlier this film has a lot of traps…too many. John Kramer (Jigsaw) has always stated that he despises murderers and his subjects always deserve a chance for survival…well, it seems like the writers of this movie forgot that, because not only are most of the traps almost impossible to escape, but the victims life is in the hands of another person. This makes it feel like either Jigsaw is no longer true to his word, or the writers simply forgot. Also, there is A LOT of death in this movie. The body count is about 10 times higher than any other SAW film, so it feels like the films have forgotten their direction and are just killing people for the sake of showing the audience violence…in 3D. As I mentioned earlier John Kramer is hardly in this movie, but I didn’t mind it that much, it just felt weird considering he has been the main focus ever since SAW II. Another thing that bugged me was that there is a scene that involves Bobby Dagen in a room with several other survivors, who are talking about there traumatizing experiences with Jigsaw, and they show people that not only were not in any of the other films, but people who don’t even relate to the plot. I don’t know why, but the fact that they introduced the possibility that there are several other test subjects that the viewer is not aware about opens the door for more explanation, which got on my nerves. The only other flaw I can think of is that in the previous films, the traps were creative and gruesome, but they seemed reasonable, and realistic. Now the traps are INSANE. Some of them are so complicated it baffles me that Jigsaw (and his minions) would have even been able to create it. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief, but one of the things I love about the SAW films is that they are generally realistic, but it doesn’t really seem to be the case here. Either way, the flaws are present, but I’m willing to forgive them.

In Conclusion:

The SAW series has always been bashed by critics, most of which I doubt have even seen any of them. Sure some of them don’t follow the Hollywood standard on how films should be made, but they are really great movies. Despite being known for the traps, I’ve always loved the films for the story, it’s scary, gripping, intense and thrilling. It’s sad to think that the series is now over, and as much as I would love to see more SAW, I think it’s good to end them here, it’s a satisfying ending. I don’t care what critics say, the series is amazing, each film is a unique horror experience that will leave you speechless. If you haven’t seen any of them, go see them NOW. SAW, I applaud you, you changed the name of horror, and will be missed, but not forgotten. A must see, no exceptions.

9/10 (SAW/Horror fan).

7/10 (Casual viewer).

  1. lroutliffe says:

    Great review! Having seen all the saw movies I agree with what you had to say.
    Twas entetaining!

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