The Good

With this film they wanted to shock and they did.

The Bad

This film borders on the preposterous at times.

Jigsaw aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is dying from brain cancer. He enlists his assistant Amanda (Shawnee Smith) to kidnap Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) to help cure him, all while running a game in his enormous lair with Jeff Reinhart (Angus Macfayden). However, nothing about Saw III is really that simple and by the end of the film, we come to realize just how strong the bond is between Jeff and Lynn. Shown in parallel time, we see Lynn doing her best to keep Jigsaw alive, even performing brain surgery at one point, all while wearing a collar around her next that could blow her head off in a bunch of different ways. Juxtaposed with this, we see Jeff going through a series of trials, all of which relate to him losing his son and exacting revenge on those people who were either directly involved or helped the guilty go free.

By the end of the his movie, we have seen people killed in many different ways, most of which play themselves out as medieval. There is more blood and stomach turning moments than in the other two movies combined, and if you are easily offended or grossed out than Saw III is not for you.

Features

The Traps and Props of Saw III

Filled with drawings and insights from the prop and trip makers, writer Leigh Whannell sums things up quite nicely when he says that in envisioning these things the goal was to "make yourself sick." Then others talk about how simply seeing the traps is supposed to create this emotional bond between it and the viewer. Then there is a breakdown of such traps as the "Rack Track" and the "Freezer Room," among others. Some of the props we are treated to are blood, brains, pieces of the skull, and Billy the Puppet. They actually broke up theses featurettes on the Traps and Props, but since they cover a lot of similar ground, and they're linked by cause and effect, I figured I would talk about them together here.

Deleted Scenes

Darren's Diary

This was great. A really candid, no holds barred look at the making of this movie. Director Darren Lynn Bousman is true a fan and he brings that (in a restrained way) to his directing style. We see him actively break down shots, and even admit that there's no way that the Amanda character is going to be able to pull her victim into a specific tub (which makes one wonder how she is going to get any other victim in one of the traps?). Counting down until the shoot begins, we see rehearsals, production problems, bloody scenes, and then actual onset accounts of what went into making this movie. Overall, a really cool behind the scenes look that doesn't feel like a puff piece.

Commentary Tracks

There are three commentary tracks to choose from here. One is with Bousman, writer/ producer Leigh Whannell, and executive producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine. There is another one with producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg. After that, there is also one with Bousman and editor Kevin Greutert and director of photography David A. Armstrong. I chose to listen to the first track where the parties begin by discussing "logo envy" (you're gonna have to watch the commentary to find out what that is), how different the script ultimately was vs. the film, and what are and aren't special effects in the movie. They then go about discussing how Saw III is essentially a one location film, yet it seems bigger because of the multiple storylines that were employed. They also discuss the traps and how they shot so much hospital footage it was like shooting an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Video

Widescreen - 16x9 - 1.78:1. Okay, I may not like Darren Lynn Bousman's application of music video effects that David Fincher was doing years ago, but I will say that this film looks really good. All of the colors are really harsh in tone and that makes all the scenes in this movie play on pins and needles. In addition to this, the effects are done in such a way that I actually had to tell myself mentally that what I was seeing was fake. The scene of Jigsaw's brain surgery is nothing short of nauseating and this Unrated Edition revels in it.

Audio

Dolby Digital. Close Captioned. Okay, the Saw team needs to do something about about their soundtracks. Not the ambient audio, that department is great at making things play in a very creepy manner. What needs an overhaul is the score. These are movies that are blowing people away. They are on another planet in regards to their subject matter. So they undercut this with a symphonic score that sounds like it was lifted from a shot on video horror film? Come on guys, you can do better than this and you know it.

Package

Continuing it's buzzsaw motif this transparent front cover first shows us teeth hanging and then behind them we see the actual DVD for this movie in it's case. The back of this slide off cover has a creepy description of the movie, some artwork from the film, a Special Features/System Specs listing, a cast list, and technical specs. By now, this movie has such a relationship with it's fans that all they need to sell DVDs is an assurance that the movie is part of the Saw franchise.

Final Word

I didn't like this movie. I found it to be exactly what is wrong when Hollywood does it's sequels. First of all, how does Jigsaw have money to operate? To inhabit such a huge warehouse and to build such elaborate traps for his victims? How is little Amanda able to capture all these victims and string them up in these contraptions that became almost laughable in their use? All of this, mixed with the music video quality that director Darren Lynn Bousman employed in this film made it a highly uneven and almost mind numbing experience. Also, I hate to say it, but Jigsaw is starting to become a caricature of himself. His whispering voice, the red shroud, the hackneyed brilliant mumbling... it honestly seems like they don't know what to do with this franchise, yet they have been successful so they have no choice but to continue.

Here is my suggestion... start over. Show how John Kramer became Jigsaw, don't have any of these games with the traps, don't continue the storyline where this movie left off (how in the world could Jigsaw be alive?)... take it back to it's simplest form. Lose all the effects and pulsating music and just play it straight. Pretend it is a completely new movie. Don't even call it Saw if you want! Just don't keep doing what you've been doing because the novelty of this movie is still resting with the first one.

Saw III was released October 27, 2006.