Saw III review by The Grim Ringler


Torture porn, the new hip name for the latest trend in modern horror films. Torture porn, another name, another label with which to damn horror films, a hobby a lot of movie nerds seem to take up these days. See, here's the thing, you don't have to like watching movies about people being hunted, tortured, and killed. Hell, I dunno that you should like them, but that doesn't mean that they are not valid expressions. The thing is that there are a lot of types of films that our cups of tea but that doesn't mean that someone doesn't get something out of them. When they're at their best, horror films should be challenging and shouldn't be fun films. They're dangerous, they're meant to be dangerous, but at the end, when the danger is over, we the audience are still ok. Horror films are an exorcism, of sorts, and when they're over, we can see that, while the world sucks, we are still here to fight another day. This is all well and good of course, but it doesn't make some horror movies any more fun to experience. And while I may well love the Saw series, it doesn't mean I think they're fun films.

Saw III opens nearly where the second installment ended, with wanted killer (or if not killer, manipulator) dying from the brain cancer that opened his mind and life to the possibility of helping others make the most of their lives. Jigsaw is dying, his time is growing short, but there is still time enough for one more game. This game will be a little different though as it's not Jigsaw pulling the strings but Amanda, his young protg, who is not nearly as sporting as Jigsaw is, and who doesnt seem to care whether people are able to face their fears and survive the game. Amanda sets things in play for one last go round but this one has the highest stakes of all. A young surgeon is kidnapped by Amanda and is told she must keep Jigsaw alive long enough for a last game to play out. The game involves a man who has lost his son in a car accident. A man so consumed with grief and rage that he has lost touch with his wife and daughter and it is this anger which has drawn the notice of Jigsaw. What this man must face is whether or not he can relinquish his hate, let go of his rage in order to save himself and regain his family. He must learn to forgive, if he is to survive, something he isnt ready to do yet. But the game may not be quite what it seems. Nor the stakes what we believe. There is a game, this is true, but with Jigsaw still pulling the strings, nothing can be taken for granted.

First things first, this is definitely the best of the three films. With tighter direction, a better story, and a reliance less on clever murders and more on characters, this is strong film. Dont get me wrong, the traps here are as nasty as ever, but I love that the series has progressed to the point where they are not relying on the death traps and the gore and have created a sort of mix of old and new school horror. No, this isnt subtle and classic horror, but there is a sense of character here that many modern horror films seem to neglect. Jigsaw is a real character. Better, hes an interesting character and reminds me of Hannibal Lecter in that we want to understand the monster, and in understanding him, find a sort of nobility in what he does. The thing is, as a film, I love this movie. Its dark, its nasty, and it ends the trilogy. Not that that will matter as theyre working on a fourth film as I write this, but I tell you this the film does have an ending. Sure, theyll make more, with or without Jigsaw, but it doesnt really matter because, well, be happy in that this is an ending.

What bothers me about the film though is what it says when linked with the other two, well, I cant say I like the message of the series. The hell of it is that I cant say more than that as, you know what, it sucks to have people, especially movie reviewers, ruin films before you can se them, so I wont do it. But I stand by what I said, the biggest gripe is that I dont like what the Saw films say about humanity as a whole. Maybe its me though, maybe I am just getting older and less cynical. Sure.

All told, this is a great capper for what has become a surprising and very good horror franchise. I dunno that anyone could have guessed this would become as solid as these films have been. Who knew? Sure, the direction still has too much music video jump-cutting but the fact that theyve been true to the characters, true (essentially) to the story, and has, with every film, pulled more and more of the curtain back. Me, I dont consider this film, or the rest of the films inspired by it, some manner of torture porn, but heck, the detractors will always have wood for their fires. So be it. Horror has itself a rare trilogy, and one thats damned good. Now, I may not like what the trilogy says but I can appreciate and applaud three very good films with a heck of a capstone.


8 out of 10 Jackasses

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