It 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.
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.
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.
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? The studio would push forward with another film in 2007 and would take the franchise into uncharted territory.
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.