Saw III (2006) Lionsgate/Horror RT: 113 minutes Unrated Version (strong grisly violence and gore, sequences of terror and torture, nudity, language) Director: Darren Lynn Bousman Screenplay: Leigh Whannell Music: Charlie Clouser Cinematography: David A. Armstrong Release date: October 27, 2006 (US) Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer, Donnie Wahlberg, Lyriq Bent, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Leigh Whannell, Mpho Koaho, Barry Flatman, Debra Lynne McCabe, Niamh Wilson. Box Office: $80.2 million (US)/$164.8 million (World)
As a means of avoiding repetition in this series of reviews, let’s establish a few things. I saw each of the Saw movies on opening day. In most cases, I attended the first show of the day. I prefer the unrated versions of these movies, so that’s what I’ll be reviewing in six out of the seven movies (the last one is the R-rated version). We already understand Jigsaw’s M.O. so there’s no reason to explain it again. Bell does an awesome job as Jigsaw. All that being said, I will now proceed with my review of Saw III. As you know, Amanda (Smith) was revealed to be Jigsaw’s accomplice at the end of the previous installment.
In this movie, she’s full-blown crazy. Also, this third chapter of the gore-drenched horror series introduces us to two characters that will become significant further down the road. I won’t reveal their identities at this time, but fans already know who they are. Once again, director Darren Lynn Bousman hauls out buckets of blood and gore much to the delight of the gorehounds that show up to see these movies. Hey, that describes me perfectly! How about that? Inset evil laughter here.
Once again, the film opens with the gruesome death of a Jigsaw victim. This time, the detectives at the scene are Allison Kerry (Meyer) and Mark Hoffman (Mandylor, Mobsters). Kerry, still guilt-ridden over the disappearance of Eric Matthews (Wahlberg) in the previous movie, finds herself in one of Jigsaw’s traps after being abducted from her apartment. It’s not she who’s being tested however. That would be Jeff (Macfadyen, Braveheart), a vengeful man still grieving over the son killed by a drunk driver some years earlier. He must undergo a series of tests in which he’ll confront everybody he holds responsible (i.e. an uncooperative witness, the judge and, finally, the driver) in an abandoned meat packing plant. Meanwhile, Amanda kidnaps a doctor (Soomekh, Crash) and forces her to perform makeshift brain surgery on an ailing, bedridden Jigsaw (Bell). The doctor must keep him alive until Jeff completes all his tests. Amanda fits her with a collar connected to her mentor’s heart monitor. If his heart stops, she dies too.
It takes a lot to make me sick to my stomach. I can handle just about anything movies throw at me aside from vomit scenes. Well, Saw III contains one of the most stomach-turning scenes I’ve ever seen. A man nearly drowns in putrid liquefied pig corpses. He’s strapped down while the vile mess pours down on him. Yuck! As for the gory highlights, they include the following: a man smashes his own ankle with a toilet tank cover, somebody rips rings out of his own flesh to escape from a Jigsaw trap, a woman’s torso is ripped open, somebody gets frozen to death, a man has his limbs twisted to the point of breaking by an apparatus, two people have their heads blown off and somebody’s throat is cut with a power saw. That’s in addition to the brain surgery performed on Jigsaw. Yep, these movies get increasingly bloodier and I like it! Writer Whannell throws a couple of cool plot twists at the audience. It’s at this point you really have to start paying attention to the details. He plants clues as to how the next movies will play out. I don’t want to say too much at this point. I will say that Saw III is well-written and suitably tense. Jigsaw comes up with some really cool deadly traps. These are definitely the devices nightmares are made of. Really, that’s the best way to describe all of the Saw movies, nightmares. Are they plausible ones? No, not at all. You see, as scary and intense as these movies are, they’re not believable for a second. Here comes the big plot hole. How does Jigsaw manage to set up his tests without being noticed? Some of the set-ups are pretty elaborate. It would take time to put all the arrangements in place. This isn’t a criticism so much as it is an observation. You have to give movies like this a lot of leeway if you want to be entertained. As for Saw III itself, I like it. The gore effects are quite good and abundant. That’s what really counts in a Saw movie, right?