Jigsaw is back. The cruel gamester has devised some new tricks for his latest victims. Will they survive the test? Can the filmmakers spin it out one last time? We dare you to take a look!

Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) the mastermind behind a series of life and death games has escaped from the police but he is now dying so his punk sidekick Amanda kidnaps brilliant surgeon, Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soometh) to keep him alive until one last game is enacted.

Jeff (Angus MacFadyen) is chosen for this grisly game. He wants revenge for the death of his son so Jigsaw gives him his chance to forgive or to let his victims become gory croppers.

They say:

“Hey, why no previews?”

The Producers say:

“Well it’s a Halloween blockbuster. What do you expect?”

We say:

If we lived in a nicer world where the film industry was all cuddly and warm, the makers of Saw would have been congratulated for earning the studios loads of money. Then they would have got extra hugs and cuddles for making even more money with Saw II. After that, in this better world, the industry moguls would have said: “Thanks guys, you’ve done a great job. You must be tired after all that hard work. Take some time out with your families and have a bit of a rest.”

Instead, in the real world, we get SAW III and it’s definitely looking a touch over-tired compared to its inventive predecessors.

The movie, like the others, is an elaborate game where Jigsaw has devised a series of sadistic tests to teach his victims that they should learn lessons about life – in this case, forgiveness and loyalty in marriage. There’s the same emphasis on Jigsaw’s puritanical moralising, which is really just an excuse for scenes of torture and body crunching.
In a better world, of course, no one would want to see films where sadists look for intriguing ways of amputating limbs with everyday industrial hardware. We get what we deserve, I guess.

The makers of SAW III are kindly souls though and they must have noticed that Tobin Bell was feeling tired after his previous two outings as the sinister Jigsaw so he spends the new movie lying in bed with a terminal brain tumour.

Being terminally ill, he doesn’t have to use much energy in the dialogue either so we have to strain our ears to hear his croaky whisper spinning out the details of his dastardly plot. After a bit it’s obvious that this story is not worth the bother especially if you haven’t seen the previous films. It’s just a matter of sitting back and, err, enjoying the blood.

Let’s hope Tobin had a good rest and saved his energy for a film worth doing. Maybe not, his next films will be Decoys 2 and Buried Alive.

Angus McFadyen, as vengeful dad Jeff, certainly doesn’t need any rest. Now more of a Luciano Pavarotti lookalike than a pin-up, he waddles through the film as if he’s looking for the next pork pie. The director should have done a “celebrity fat club” on him and got him to put a bit of energy in his performance. It would do him the power of good. As it is, you sure wouldn’t want him as the only person who could save your life.

The lifesaver is Dr. Lynn, played by the beautiful Bahar Soometh who, even when she’s having a bad hair day, can look sexy whilst putting all her energy into screaming and shouting. It is strange how screaming loses its drama after a bit. Sympathy rapidly changes to an overwhelming wish to tell her to shut up. Luckily, she calms down when she’s forced to do open brain surgery with an explosive devise around her neck.

So if you’re squeamish, forget about the torture stuff, it’s the surgery that makes you want to hide under your seat.

The movie certainly scores its best moments when the lovely surgeon gets to work – if you were scared of Animal Hospital then this is not for you. The operation is so graphic that it might come in useful one day if you found yourself stuck in a lift with your toolkit and someone who needs a bit of life-saving surgery.

Director Darren Bousman is tireless in his pursuit of tension and whenever it begins to sag, usually when Angus McFadyen is on screen, he is quick to insert some subliminal images of horror with added screechy sound effects.

It is good to see Shawnee Smith return as the “weirdo” junky Amanda. Hers is by far the most interesting character in the film – filled with contradictions and tensions unresolved. She brings plenty of menace with her sudden changes of mood as well as pathos in her private moments of despair.

So let’s not knock the movie, or the franchise, too much because it does what it says on the box and, let’s face it, you won’t be going because you like some cerebral content in your entertainment. There’s cerebral stuff there all right but it’s all seeping through a hole in the head.

Cert 18

Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus McFadyen, Bahar Soometh

Darren Bousman

Running time:
107 minutes

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