See Saw with Alex, Day 3: Saw III

The series goes south.

by | October 19, 2009 | Comments

Day Three: Saw III

Set six months after Saw II, Jeff (Angus Macfayden) is bereaved with the
loss of his son, killed by a drunk driver. He’s kidnapped and put through a
battery of tests, wandering from room to room like a video game and encountering
people involved with his son’s death (the driver, the judge, etc). Will Jeff
forgive these people for their sons and free them from their traps?

Meanwhile, Jigsaw has cancer.[rtimage]MapID=1161949&MapTypeID=2&photo=8&legacy=1[/rtimage]If I had stopped with the first two Saws,
I’d be inclined to agree with the RT commenter who objected to the series being
called torture porn. While the first two are emotionally grueling, they did show
a certain amount of restraint with blood and guts. Saw III, however,
crosses that line into torture porn. And you bet I use the term derogatively.

Gore is a hallmark for a hard-hitting horror series like this, but this is the
first Saw where a lot of it is also pointless. Early on in the movie, we
see a blown-to-bits victim of the classroom trap. The series hasn’t been shy
about showing these victims’ final minutes, but usually via flashy editing or
fastforwards. Here, we get a real-time flashback of this victim’s attempt to
break loose from his chains, strung up like in Hellraiser. It’s hard to
look at, but since we already know he’s not going to make it, it’s also a
frustrating waste of time.

Or what about the grand guignol brain operation on Jigsaw? We see the
scalp get sliced open, the skull drilled (four times!) and sawed, and then a
nice juicy shot of the Jigsaw’s malevolent pulsating brain. But where’s the
terror? Where’s the emotional wringing? These plain shots of gross-out
prosthetics are the very definition of torture porn. And, afterwards, Jigsaw’s
still able to remain conscious and lecture people? He’s like horror’s whiny Jack
Bauer.[rtimage]MapID=1161949&MapTypeID=2&photo=5&legacy=1[/rtimage]I think Saw III is a, pardon the pun, gross overestimation of our
interest in series mythology. Seeing the bathroom from Saw at the end of
Saw II was pretty cool, but going back to that well again in this movie?
Meh. And I actually don’t really care about Amanda’s transition from hipster of
doom to evil apprentice. Ironically, the more backstory that gets filled in, the
less compelling I find these characters.

And of all the series characters, Jeff has to be the least compelling and
likable. Writer Leigh Whannel and Darren Lynn Bousman make some rather insane
assumptions that Jeff’s grief for his son is reason enough for him to be
hesitant in saving the other victims. Yeah, right! What disgusting, malformed
moralizing. Given how much goes down in this installment (Jigsaw, Amanda, and
Detective Kerry, who have been in all three movies, all die), this should’ve
been one epic movie. It’s a pathetic waste that a worm like Jeff gets to deliver
the killing blow to Jigsaw.

Well, whatever. If this weren’t a job, I’d have turned this one off.[rtimage]MapID=1161949&MapTypeID=2&photo=6&legacy=1[/rtimage]Body count: 8.

Most inventive trap: I didn’t like any of these traps, though the pig
carcass one is sort of funny. How much disposable income does John Kramer have?
Is he CFO of Wayne Industries or something?

Stupid person in a horror movie moment: Every scene with Jeff. Every
scene with the annoying, bad actress doctor. Wait, that’s the whole movie.

See Saw schedule:

  • Day 1 (10/15):

    Saw (2004)

  • Day 2 (10/16):
    Saw II
  • Day 3 (10/19): Saw III (2006)
  • Day 4 (10/20): Saw IV (2007)
  • Day 5 (10/21): Saw V (2008)
  • Day 6 (10/23): Saw VI (2009)

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