Friday 4 March 2011

Today's Review: Saw 3D

Saw is the most successful horror franchise of all time. Of all time! Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, they ain't got nothin' on Saw. It practically gave birth to the "torture porn" genre and has made people delight in intricate and gruesome traps for the last seven years. The first thing you have to admire is its release schedule. There has been a Saw movie out every year since the first one, each managing to progress the overarching story since the last. Even with the death of Jigsaw in the third one, it's still managed to carry on piecing together new parts of the story by revealing Jigsaw's past.

Saw 3D is the final installment in the Saw franchise (so we're told, there'll probably be another one somewhere along the line). As you can probably tell from the title, it was filmed in 3D, 'cause that's all the rage nowadays. I didn't watch it in its intended screen popping glory, although Lionsgate studios have graciously given out a rental Blu-Ray that can play in both 2D and 3D. Most movies that i've seen with "3D" in the title have been just that, movies made for 3D. Saw, however, while clearly containing some moments that were meant to fly in your face, doesn't give up any of its normal practices in favour of the technology. I respect it for that.

The story pretty much carries on from Saw VI, so if you haven't seen the rest, you'll end up pretty confused. I've watched every movie a year apart from each other, and I still have to take a while to get reacquainted with who's who. That's another thing that I respect about the Saw movies. Most horror sequels nowadays retain the same ideas, but use a completely different set of characters. Saw has managed to retain many of its actors for the entirety of its seven year run, and has managed to create an intertwining story that all pulls together through the entire span of the series. Once you figure out who everyone is, it's satisfying to see all the pieces fit together like a jigsaw (see what I did there?)

Saw 3D deals with another person put through a set of trials in some abandoned building because he's done some bad stuff in his time. This guy, differently, is pretending to be a survivor of one of Jigsaw's previous traps, and his entire PR team and trophy wife are the victims whose fate he has to decide by undergoing his own trials. The traps, as ever, are original. Seven movies, each full of gruesome traps, and they still manage to pull some good ones out of the bag. The writers must be sickos, but creative ones.

So, gore flies, people die, and the police attempt to track down Jigsaw and the place where all this stuff is happening. Despite the number of police we see throughout the movie, the head of the team appears to be one guy taking orders from one girl on a computer back at the station. That's a thing that has bugged me about the Saw movies. Literally tens of people have died by the hands of one person (or three?) throughout the last few years, but the only people on the case are the local police force. Surely that many people dying with no significant leads is cause to call the FBI? There should be people swarming all over this one city, or at least guarding the insanely huge amount of abandoned buildings the killer seems to have access to in order to build intricate traps. Almost every police officer who's gone after this guy has been killed, there should be a complete task force dedicated to finding him with no more casualties.

When all is said and done in the massive series of traps that the main victim has to go through, the story shifts onto the ongoing feud with the original Jigsaw's next of kin, and everything actually wraps up rather nicely. It seems as though this really could be the last Saw movie, but there's always some wiggle room for someone to try and extend the franchise beyond its already pushed limits.

I loved the first Saw. It was a thriller like i'd never seen before, and the twist at the end really blew me away. The sequels have been nowhere near as good as the original, but while some are not as good as others, it's retained the same quality throughout. In Saw 3D it's nice to see the return of the doctor who sawed off his foot in the first movie. It really gives a good ending to the franchise, and shows the quality and pulling power the series has that people want to return six years after the first movie.

Saw 3D is not bad. It's not worse than any other Saw that's come out in the last few years. You would think that watching people trying to claw themselves out of traps for seven years on the trot would get boring, but there always seems to be something fresh that keeps my interest. Maybe it's because i'm some gore obsessed weirdo. But, Saw's over now. I'll have to find something else to fill my gore hole.

My rating: 4/5

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