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John’s Horror Corner: Saw III (2006), proving that torture porn sequels can have good writing AND loads of lingering, gross, chunky gore!

September 21, 2017

MY CALL:  Better than the second and highly rewatchable.  I’ve come to quite enjoy the highly different styles of these first three moves.  This is the most gruesome so far, but it still takes time to thoughtfully develop the overarching franchise story.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Saw:  Well, after Saw (2004) there were six sequels and now part VIII, Jigsaw (2017). Subsequent torture porn for gory thrill-seekers would include Hostel I-II (2005, 2007; but not part III), Martyrs (2008; not the remake), The Human Centipede films (2009, 2011, 2015), and the I Spit on Your Grave series (1978 original, 2010-2015).  For more fun and innovative kills I’d also recommend the Final Destination films (2000-2011; but skip part 4).

As Saw II (2005) rolled the credits, we left Detective Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg; Dead Silence, Saw II-IV) for dead in the very same filth-painted bathroom as we opened and closed in part I, and Jigsaw (Tobin Bell; Boogeyman 2-3, Saw I-VII) escaped with his disciple Amanda (Shawnee Smith; The Blob, Saw I-III/VI, The Grudge 3). This sequel picks up right in that very same bathroom, with its accumulated cadavers ever more decayed.  Now on the third film in as many years, director Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II-IV, The Devil’s Carnival, Mother’s Day), writer Leigh Whannell (Insidious 1-4, Saw I-III, Cooties) and executive producer James Wan (The Conjuring 1-2, Insidious 1-2) continue Jigsaw’s intestine-exposing shenanigans.

Whereas part I was character and story-driven, part II was a chaotically mean funhouse of horrors, and now part III takes yet a new approach—that of a Final Destination-style kill flick that basks in the gory glory of its death scenes.  Basically, while thoughtfully deepening the over-arching franchise story, these sequels keep getting meaner and clearly delight on transforming each subsequent release into something devastatingly harder to watch than the last.

Everything is yet more gruesome and brutal as we skip the saw and go right for bone-crushing blunt-force trauma.  The early chained victim sequence is viciously cruel, with the rib-ripping harness and the hypothermia rig follow suit.  But something else is new beyond the more abundantly showcased chunks of gore.  The camera lingers more on the suffering…  The brain surgery scene offers exactly what you expect, yet takes its time to such extent that you find yourself dreading each application of the power drill.  Paving the way for films like Evil Dead (2013) and Drag Me to Hell (2009), the offal pit offers waves of putrefied bodies frappe-blended into a slimy drowning pool and “the rack” regaled us with the sounds of slippery twisting flesh punctuated by cracking and splintering bones exposing themselves through mangled skin.  That’s right, people—don’t watch this with your grandmother.

During the offal pit scene, I was eating scrambled eggs with chunks of bacon covered in (no joke, folks) a green avocado chili sauce.  Nice timing.  LOL.

Each movie seems to have its star victim; the one with the deck stacked most against them. Gordon in part I, Detective Matthews’ son in part II, and part III follows Jeff (Angus Macfadyen; Saw IV) who encounters death trap victims at the mercy of his forgiveness.  Yes—forgiveness.  This film is about redemption.  Detective Kerry (Dina Meyer; Bats, Saw I-IV, Piranha 3D) seeks to save Matthews, Amanda is trying to save Jigsaw, Jigsaw wants to save Amanda, and Jeff is challenged to save his family.

As each film in the series advances, so advances John Kramer’s cancer.  Now near death in his work shop, Amanda continues his handy work as we explore the history of their relationship—her frailty, his hopes for her, her jealousy, his disappointment…and how much it has evolved over the course of three films.  And therein lies the elegance of the franchise—three stylistically different films with three different approaches, but all stacking the deck high.  I continue to love all three films, but this third installment is probably the most rewatchable.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2017 4:55 pm

    The kills in this film are so over the top they become comedic, but that’s part of the appeal I suppose.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      September 23, 2017 6:39 pm

      Drowning in “implausibly” liquefied pig rot…now that had me wincing and laughing at the same time. And “the rack”….oooooh-wee that was a brutal guilty pleasure! But it is getting a tad silly and far beyond the canny charm of the reverse bear trap affixed to Amanda in part 1.

      I’m watching part 5 this evening.

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner: Saw IV (2007), very ambitious story with lackluster execution and so-so death traps—my least favorite of the franchise so far. | Movies, Films & Flix
  2. John’s Horror Corner: Saw V (2008), just okay—I miss Leigh Whannell and characters that matter. | Movies, Films & Flix
  3. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: Saw VI (2009), Jigsaw fights the insurance industry from the grave in this redeeming sequel! | Movies, Films & Flix
  5. John’s Horror Corner: Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010), bravo, Jigsaw! The game is won and your puzzle is complete! | Movies, Films & Flix

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