This third film in the popular horror series starts where the second film finished, with Donnie Wahlberg’s Detective Eric Matthews (despite reports to the contrary) trying to escape his fate. This is all intercut with the first trap, which anyone with access to the net has already seen (but it’s more disappointing when you see it edited into the film) meaning that for me at least, Eric’s escape from his own private prison was the more impressive opening gore set piece here. I almost vomited it was so well done.
We then meet Doctor Lynn Denlon (who is kidnapped by Amanda) and Jeff (who wakes up in a box) who are both forced to play games with a now seriously ill and rapidly deteriorating Jigsaw. Lynn must keep Jigsaw alive long enough to see Jeff complete his game. Lynn is fitted with an explosive collar which is in sync with Jigsaw’s heart monitor…if he dies…she dies. Jeff meanwhile is led through an abandoned factory by a series of familiar clue cards and tapes. In each room Jeff encounters, he is met with someone involved in his son’s death. He can either save them or leave them to their fate. These two plot threads are woven together by an enormous amount of flashbacks, which in essence are all new scenes created to look as though they occurred during the first two films in the series.
Considering this was only being made in the spring, Saw III is a well crafted, thoughtful and intelligent chiller, but it tries to cram too much into a relatively small amount of time and therefore makes less of an impact than it probably should have. It’s definitely not my favourite entry in the series.
The film looks and feels like a Saw movie, but it’s a bit more muted than the previous two. The Jeff storyline, which appears to be the main plotline (and probably should have been) is lacking and isn’t given enough screen time, there are far too few traps, some of the deaths lack that emotional kicker usually present (due to what felt like studio worries about pacing issues), and the twist isn’t really that amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, the film is remarkably well made considering it was thrown together in a few months, but it’s just a little short of the mark to make it a hat trick in my book.