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Saw III (2006) Review

Saw3_cape10It must be Halloween and by now the season has bowed to Lionsgate’s horror sensation with the Saw franchise. Director Darren Lynn Bousman returns with the sequel which sees Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, and a whole slew of new victims lined up to play a game. The studio at this point had made a home in the month of October right before Halloween and with much success.

Jigsaw and Amanda have disappeared while detectives continue to investigate the murders. A new game is thrust into motion as Jigsaw prepares for what could very well be his last days on earth. Lynn Denlon is chosen to keep John Kramer alive long enough while another test subject makes his way through a series of tests. It leads to a revelation in the finale that may set up deadly results.

We’ve arrived to one of my favorite Saw films up till this point and a lot can be said about this entry. Let’s begin by saying that this is perhaps the most depth we’ll get from Jigsaw as his cancer has taken a toll on him. Actor Tobin Bell even made it clear to the writers that the idea of his character being in the process of dying due to pancreatic cancer was not something that was easy to accept. And now we’ve reached the point where an anti-hero is on the cusp of breathing his last breath. I loosely use the term anti-hero because of John Kramer’s reputation as someone who goes after the people who have wronged.

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There’s two story plots we follow as one of them involves Dr. Lynn Denlon and the other story line that follows Jeff (Angus Macfadyen). The two characters who are being tested by Jigsaw are probably the most in which general audiences can connect with. Both will have a connection towards the end of the film but it can be predicted early on. What this movie tries to delve into is the idea of loss and how people grieve in the process. Jeff has just lost his son due to an accident while his son rode a bike until a car hit him from out of nowhere. Revenge has been on Jeff’s mind and has been wanting to confront the man responsible for his son’s death. His family had been turned upside down as it had also affected his young daughter. Just from how the movie sets this up anyone can connect to his character.

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Let’s now talk about the traps because this time around the traps are more focused on forgiveness. As Jeff goes room to room confronting those who had any involvement in his son’s case were subject to a test. From the lone witness to the judge handling the case to then finally confronting the man responsible for his son’s death, Jeff must find it inside to let his anger take over him or try to heal the wounds that have hurt his family. It’s not until the end of the movie that we discover if Jeff has been rehabilitated through his journey of pain. What can be said though is that each trap is unsettling and leaves the blood in Jeff’s hands.

As mentioned before Shawnee Smith returns in the sequel as Jigsaw’s apprentice as it was revealed at the end of ‘Saw II‘. What we learn from Jigsaw is that Amanda has troubles that stretch greater than just a drug problem. Her trouble of keeping her emotions in check has resulted in several deaths; some of which were survivors. One of the big twists we discover is that Jigsaw was testing Amanda and not Lynn Denlon as was first thought. Ultimately, the decision Amanda makes in whether to keep Lynn alive or to do away with her will have huge ramifications for everyone; including John Kramer. The chemistry between Tobin and Shawnee is amazing. As the series reaches this point we learn more about Amanda and in some ways feel bad for her. In some ways she is a lost soul battling to see John’s ways.

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Both Angus Macfadyen and Bahar Soomekh did a great job as their characters were taken through an emotional hell. In many ways it’s rare to find characters that we root for. Although it’s a Saw film and there’s expectations that usually leads to death it was nice to see a change in the formula compared to the previous films. Then when we talk about Jigsaw it’s almost difficult to say if he’s a bad guy or a vigilante who does what society is afraid of doing. This adds another element of intrigue to an already crazy series.

Throughout the movie we get seeds planted for if and when another Saw film is made. Inevitably a sequel is greenlit but the question that’s asked is how does a franchise continue when the lead character has met his fate? An interesting fact is that ‘Saw III‘ went on to become the most successful horror sequel and was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. This movie would go on to be the longest film in the franchise by coming in just under two hours. Stemming from the success the fans were clamoring for more, or should we say the studio wanted more? ┬áThe studio would push forward with another film in 2007 and would take the franchise into uncharted territory.

Rating: 6.5/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Saw III’? Did you watch the movie in theaters? And up till this point which were some of your favorite traps? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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Saw (2004) Review

Published by: Anthony Wallace


MV5BMjE4MDYzNDE1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY2OTYwNA@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_From the creator who has brought us the Conjuring and Insidious franchises began his career with a little gem that put Lionsgate on the map. Both James Wan and Leigh Whannell came together in introducing a new thriller that involves a killer who puts his victims in unimaginable situations of life and death. The difference this time around is that the victims are guilty of taking life for granted and are put in traps that revolve around their own personal sins. Not your usual psycho killer scenario but near the philosophical prowess of Anthony Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter. So let’s jump right into it and delve into the film that started it all.

Two men awaken in a dilapidated bathroom unknowing of how they got there. With little time they must work together to figure out who put them there and why. When we learn of a serial killer named Jigsaw through the viewpoint of Dr. Gordon both men begin to realize why they are there and that escape may be more complicated than they thought. And in a stunning series of events everything builds up to a shocking finale.

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What many people may not know is that the film was made on a $1 million budget and everything was filmed in one location. And with such a budget we were able to get Danny Glover and Cary Elwes. The big mystery that would eventually reveal itself at the end is the emergence of Tobin Bell as Jigsaw himself. Jigsaw himself wasn’t given away through exposition but instead it fools the audience into thinking who’s pulling the strings the whole time. Even the ending has a gratifying result because soon as we discover the perpetrator it leaves the viewer wanting to see more. It also worked to a point that if the studio decided to not move forward with a sequel it would leave a mark in cinematic history.

There were two memorable scenes in the film and one of them would go on to be iconic in the entire series. The scene involves Amanda, played by Shawnee Smith, as she awakens with a reverse bear trap on her head. She must retrieve the key from her supposedly dead cell mate before the timer goes off. Simplicity is what made the film original and frightening especially when it comes to the traps. As the series progresses the traps get overly complicated but the reverse bear trap remains one of the most terrifying sequences and became the staple in the franchise.

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We may not have gotten a lot of background into Jigsaw but Tobin Bell would be revealed to be Hollywood’s next horror icon. Though little is known about his character we begin to discover the psyche in how Jigsaw works. And what’s different compared to the likes of ‘Friday the 13th‘ and ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street‘ is that we get a character that has a motivation besides just killing for the sake of killing. Jigsaw finds flaws in his victims and puts them in traps with hopes that their experience will change their perspectives on life. Again, this is not your typical horror thriller where someone goes after people with revenge in mind. Rather in a twisted sort of way it puts everyone in the city on edge.

As far as the acting in the film it is not groundbreaking nor Oscar worthy. There are moments when the lead character, Dr. Gordon, does come off a little over the top. We can’t even judge the performance by the villain because he’s lying on the floor the whole time. The only reasonable performance we see is with Danny Glover who is the detective that’s put on the case as he searches for the suspect behind the murders.

The movie is not perfect as there are far fetched scenarios sprinkled throughout. But the overall reaction to the film when it came out in 2004 was that of praise and raised moviegoer eyebrows. With the success the studio immediately moved forward with greenlighting a sequel that would come out in a year’s time. It was the dawn of a new franchise and would go on to become one of the most successful horror franchises in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Rating: 7/10

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What do you guys think of ‘Saw‘? Would you consider the original film to be groundbreaking in the horror franchise? Comment below and share your thoughts.