Saw VII 3D
October 29, 2010
Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan
Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John
Costas Mandylor as Hoffman
Betsy Russell as Jill
Cary Elwes as Dr. Gordon
Sean Patrick Flanery as Bobby
Chad Donella as Gibson
Although Jigsaw is dead and buried, he is far from forgotten – He is at it again in Saw 3D via his protégé Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and the traps are gorier than ever. One thing that does seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur, however, is the rationale behind the traps that made the original Saw so interesting and unique.
After the trademark opening kill scene, this time carried out in a storefront window in front of hundreds of passers by and having nothing whatsoever to do with Saw 3D or any otherSaw film (yet, that is…), the story zeroes in on Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery) and his talk show circuit promotion of how surviving a Jigsaw trap changed his life for the better. Bobby has written books, brought studio audience’s to tears and causes his lovely wife to beam with pride every time she thinks of his bravery and spirit. But are things as they seem with dear Bobby?
Meanwhile Hoffman is on a rampage for revenge against Jigsaw’s widow Jill (Betsy Russell) after escaping that head contraption (the one Amanda survived in the first Saw) that she put on him inSaw VI. Jill has nightmares of being ripped apart by devices wielded by Hoffman, and would like to avoid having those dreams become reality. As is typical for films in this franchise, there’s a lot going on.
Will Hoffman exact his wrath on Jill? Will Bobby demonstrate the will to live that he speaks so eloquently about on television? If someone’s face explodes can one actually see all the way down their neck? These questions and many more will be answered in this installment of the most profitable horror franchise in history.
There are a lot of good things about Saw 3D when it comes to gruesome effects and creating moments where the audience squirms in their seats at the sheer pain and grossness of the tests and traps presented in this film. The 3D effect is excellent and enables bits of guts and flesh to come flying out into the theater at just the right times. It is interesting, however, how irrelevant to this film the 3D element really is. Promotions for Saw 3D seemed to imply that a level of drawing in of the audience was to be expected, and that the three dimensional components would be highly exploited and used to unique advantage… not so. This film would have been the same with or without those effects, other than the occasional body bits flying around. Luckily the glasses are getting more and more comfortable.
The gripe about this film is how far from the original intent of the Saw concept the franchise has gone. No time for cleverness and no flair for the dramatic; Just an interesting script with some passable twists presented by a director who is much more at home editing a gore scene than telling a story. This film is an impressive compilation of bloody grossness presented with enough story context to hold it together, but not to make it shine. It’s pretty hard to care what happens to any of them, frankly, but that didn’t stop me from yelling out loud when the fish hook came out.
What director Kevin Greutert lacks in storytelling instincts, though, he makes up for in social and political conscience. Although Greutert did stop short of turning Saw 3D into a blatant political party stump like he did with his directorial debut Saw VI, it seems the man just can’t help himself. The group of skinheads, punished for being “racist”, had great gore but was completely out of context and random… but I’m sure Greutert feels better that he is using his new-found filmmaking platform to share his views with the masses and affect social change.
The advertisements for Saw 3D are emblazoned with “The Final Chapter” and do seem to imply the end to this franchise, but I wouldn’t count on it. Before the film’s release I theorized that opening night box office receipts would dictate the likelihood of another installment, and if revenues on the first night exceed the film’s total budget then 2011 will be the year of Saw VIII. Now that I’ve seen all of the loose ends and opportunities for continuation that are in Saw 3D, it appears that another segment is not a theory, but a guarantee.