Horror Movie Review: Saw III (2006)

Keen to capitalise on an audience seemingly hungry for more, the third film in the long running Saw franchise was released just one year after the last film. Which in turn was released one year after the first. Saw III had Darren Lynn Bousman in the directing seat for his second Saw film in a row, the story coming from both James Wan and Leigh Whannell.

You can read our review of Saw here and Saw II here.

Once again Tobin Bell takes on the role of Jigsaw alongside his apprentice, Amanda (Shawnee Smith). Together they have continued his work even though the mastermind is deathly ill with cancer.

Before we can get into the new game, first the film ties up a loose end from the second film. We see Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Whalberg) break his foot to escape the shackle and the dilapidated bathroom that he was locked up in.

The movie then jumps 6 months into the future where a recent trap reveals that it may not have been the work of Jigsaw. His methods of giving his victims some chance of survival wasn’t followed here. The person in question would have died no matter what.

Who is responsible for the trap? It’s Amanda, who is now working alongside Jigsaw with the plan being for her to take over once he dies. The only problem is that she’s not as forgiving as Jigsaw is and refuses to give her test subjects a chance.

Her resolve and commitment is to be tested though in one last huge Jigsaw game. One that has all the makings of a final movie but of course that is certainly not the case.

This time it revolves around Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) and Jeff (Angus Macfadyen). Two different people playing two different games. Lynn’s is to keep a dying and bed-ridden John Kramer alive, if she doesn’t the shotgun collar round her neck will go off.

Jeff’s is see if he can forgive the people he blames for the death of his son in a road accident. Each person he finds is in a Jigsaw trap and it’s up to Jeff if he is willing to save them by facing his demons.

The biggest flaw with Saw III is simply repetition, we’ve seen this same stuff now over two movies and Saw III offers nothing new in that regard. In fact, the extensive and overly excessive trap work of this movie just comes across tiresome.

It’s a near insurmountable hurdle to overcome and no amount of solid character work from Angus Macfadyen can fix that. His character Jeff is probably the only reason to watch as here we get a more emotional and relatable man. His grief and anger is completely believable resulting in the desire to see him forgive and overcome his pain.

Unfortunately, his is the only character worth talking about and although Tobin Bell excels as he always does, his rambling speeches have even less impact here. We’ve heard it all before and it’s really tiresome.

The tension that the first film had and to a lesser degree the second, is completely absent here. The same goes for scares, what Saw III has in abundance is gore. Ramped up again, it is becoming clear that each Saw sequel just wants to outdo the previous in regards to blood and guts.

This is not a movie for the squeamish and simply put, it goes overboard. Case in point, the lengthy and up-close visuals of open brain surgery. If you want solid proof that the Saw franchise had little fresh to offer, it is this sequence.


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