Review: SAW III (2006) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Review: SAW III (2006)

RATING: 2.5/5

The first two SAW installment, released back-to-back within a year gap in 2004 and 2005, the filmmakers has finally made a smart move to close the chapter once and for all in SAW III before it started to get stale. Too bad though, that those studio executives in Lions Gate officially announced that a fourth installment will be on the way next year, should this $10 million budget film opens very well in the box-office. I mean, really, how far can one go in the creative process? Unfortunately, SAW III fails to rise above the material previously introduced so well in SAW before improving well in a better sequel. All the gruesome exercise in nihilism and in-your-face gore are intact, and while SAW II director Darren Lynn Bousman has somehow brilliantly transcended the previous two's premise centered mostly on police procedural subplots and a group of survivors stuck in twisted game of survival, in favor for character-driven approach, is a taut move, the film is surprisingly more preachy than it supposed to be.

Continued from the previous installment, lead police investigator Kerry (Dina Meyer) still on the verge to apprehend the notorious serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) who appears to have struck again. The latest one is being a helpless victim who was challenged to rip a dozen pieces of metal connected to chains from his bleeding flesh before a bomb detonated. After most of her previous police partners died subsequently in the first two films, Kerry suffered the same fate in the end. But it's not over yet. Enter depressed Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) and estranged father Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), who has nothing in mind anything but vengeance on the driver who ran down his son. Lynn is soon finds herself kidnapped by Jigsaw's apprentice, Amanda (Shawnee Smith), and come face-to-face with Jigsaw, who's near death from a brain tumor. Amanda strapped Lynn with a collar that will detonate if Jigsaw's vital signs flatlined and in order to stay alive, Lynn must perform brain surgery under pressure. Jeff, in the meantime, is forced to negotiate a series of life-or-death situations that he gets to choose whether to forgive those involved in his child's death or watch them died horribly.

On the basis, Leigh Whannell's screenplay is challenging as he pushes the boundaries of not repeating the same old tricks the previous two films has already exhausted by developing deep psychological struggle between Jigsaw, Lynn and Amanda, as well as Jeff's terrible ordeal. The bright side is that the film's unexpected focus towards characters development is a welcome change.
Too bad the same cannot be said with its obviously waning gore approach, in which no longer as sickeningly playful as the previous two depicted successfully. More flaws followed, especially director Darren Lynn Bousman doesn't seem to learn a bit towards the notoriously annoying rapid-fire edit and flashy cuts often crippled the tension of the film and guess what, it gets worse here. The story is also tends to be repetitive to the point of redundancy it feels heavy-handed where motives are somehow overexplained of what happened in the previous two films that seriously doesn't need to.

Still it was the engaging cast that sustained the film from being a near disaster. By now, Tobin Bell is pretty much at ease portraying a chilling serial killer figure Jigsaw, while Shawnee Smith's character is improved greatly into a complex role where she is confused about her purpose in life and unable to accept the fact that she begins to realize that she's no longer much of a valuable asset like she used to. As Dr. Lynn, Bahar Soomekh is equally compelling in her sympathetic performance, while Angus Macfadyen is similarly intense as the pained Jeff.

Despite its uneven result, SAW III remains a grueling watch of a horror film. Now I must wonder how the filmmakers are able to come up a whole new idea in the unnecessary SAW IV since everything here are neatly tangled together.

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