Movie Review: Saw 3D

Movie Review: Saw 3D


The end, fin, done, it's over, gone, put to rest - hooray!

Upon researching this review, I realised a terrifying truth: somehow, without really noticing – or indeed actually liking any of them very much – I’ve watched every outing in the Saw franchise to date.

I don’t know about you, but that feels like something a person should get some kind of badge or achievement for, like you might do in the Cubs or on XBOX Live or something. That’s seven movies, twenty-six acts of disembowelling, fourteen ruptured spleens, four castrations and countless other acts of violence I doubt anyone other than Jigsaw – the franchises jowly protagonist – thought to think of a name for (it’s not even like you can ask him, he’s been dead since the third outing).

It’s strange to think that this, the first Saw film to be released in 3D, is to be the last movie in the series. I bet it’ll feel even stranger next October 31st, when it’s no longer a fixture of cinemas calendar. It’s that, more than anything, which will be the series legacy; Lionsgate Entertainment’s (incredibly) successful creation of a horror movie franchise that’s seen a new film released each Friday before Halloween since 2004. That’s more than Freddie or Jason got. To an entire generation, Saw is horror. You know what? That’s something that makes me feel a little bit sad.

My issue with Saw has little to do with the distastefulness of ‘torture porn’. I liked the first Hostel, I think 2008’s Martyrs was excellent. No, it’s more to do with the laziness of the scares. Torture equipment, blades, sharp stuff, is by its nature, pretty scary. You just have to walk down three isles of B&Q to realise there’s a hundred different ways to have your limbs separated from your body. But Saw’s scares are fleeting and quick, there’s little about its scenarios that linger. A door that bangs shut can be scary, but would you call it horror? No, you would not.

It’s only fair to point out that Saw 3D is probably the best instalment since the third one. Nevertheless, it plays like a film in a series that is ready to be laid to rest. For one thing, the creators have seemingly lost track of the rules; innocents die frequently in Saw 3D (surely negating the reason Jigsaw set his moral tests in the first place). For another, there’s more back-story than traps (the first film was scary because both viewer and characters had little grasp of how they’d come to be chained to each other in a grubby toilet – now there’s more flashback sequences than The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance).

And so that was Saw, Halloween will never be the same again. I’m rather looking forward to it, are you?

James McMahon