It's Horror Movie Month! "Saw III" Review

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It's Horror Movie Month! "Saw III" Review

Rated: R (violence, gore, nudity, language)
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: Oct. 27, 2006
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Genre: Crime/Horror/Thriller

Love it or hate it, the "Saw" franchise has no end in sight. "Saw III" is one of the goriest segments in the series. Ever since a character in the first "Saw" movie sawed off his own foot in an attempt to prolong his life, movie lovers have been lapping up the sick horror fest that is "Saw." The franchise pits the human body and spirit against some of the most unspeakable physical and psychological acts of torture that the writers can dream up.

A bit of backstory is in order for those who may have missed the moral wasteland of the first two movies in the series, "Saw" and "Saw II." This franchise focuses on a torturous game devised by Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), a man with a terminal illness. Jigsaw gets his jollies by kidnapping seemingly random people and placing them in an obstacle course. Victims wake up in a mechanically devised house of horrors, typically pinned to a device they must remove by sawing off a limb, facing instant blindness, or some other awful fate. Each scenario has the potential for survival but usually ends in death, as the victims tend to hesitate to follow Jigsaw's orders. Jigsaw selects each torture test to match the hidden skeleton in each player's closet. His twisted goal is to help each learn a lesson or have an epiphany.

"Saw III" opens with the cancer-ridden Jigsaw on the brink of death. He has enlisted an apprentice, Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), to carry on his demented mission of torture and death. Amanda is every bit as sadistic as Jigsaw and is quite enthusiastic to work with him. The story centers on Jeff Denlon (Angus Macfadyen), a man Jigsaw chooses to test in an ill-conceived attempt to help him let go of the hatred he feels toward the man who killed his son in a fatal car crash.

As part of the plan, Amanda kidnaps Denlon's wife, Lynn (Bahar Soomekh), a doctor. She is ordered to keep Jigsaw alive until her husband completes the game. The task proves difficult at best since he is in the final stages of inoperable brain cancer. A collar is placed around Lynn's neck. It is hooked to Jigsaw's heart monitor, and if he dies, the collar will fire a series of gunshots at her head.

Meanwhile, Lynn's husband, Jeff, awakens in the middle of the game, which is set in an abandoned meatpacking plant. The series of tests will lead him to the man who is responsible for the death of the son years ago. The other players include a woman who refused to testify against his son's killer, the judge who sentenced the killer to only six months in prison, and the killer himself—Timothy Young (Mpho Koaho). Throughout the game, Jeff is forced to witness the three's torture and decide whether or not to help them.

"Saw III" is loaded with the same gore and intrigue that were hallmarks of the original movie. The movie does well in developing the story of the evil puppet master we know as Jigsaw, showing him to be gruesome and ambitious yet ultimately self-defeating. Still, unlike the franchise's first two flicks, "Saw III" lacks the suspense and edge-of-your seat thrills that left viewers thinking about the story long after the credits rolled.

The dynamic of the relationship that develops between the evil master and his fledgling student makes for an interesting twist. However, the multiple flashbacks required to put the story of Amanda and Jigsaw into perspective are at times complicated and hard to follow.

All in all, "Saw III" stays fairly faithful to the gore formula of the first two films while laying the groundwork for future segments. Like the previous installments, "Saw III" is brutal, grisly, and sometimes hard to watch due to the very believable torture scenes. Still, it is definitely at home within its niche. Fans of the series will not be displeased.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tags: Saw III