STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $29.95
RUNNING TIME: 113 Minutes
• Commentary by Director Darren Lynn Bousman, Writer/Executive Producer Leigh Whannell and Executive Producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine
• Commentary by Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg
• Commentary by Director Darren Lynn Bousman, Editor Kevin Greutert and Director of Photography David A. Armstrong
• Deleted Scenes
• "The Props of Saw III" featurette
• "The Details of Death: The Traps of Saw III" featurette

• "Darren’s Diary: Anatomy of a Director" featurette

The Pitch

"It’s Seven for the fourth time. Wait, does that make this Eleven?"

The Humans

Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer.

The Nutshell

Ehh, Jigsaw’s got some rusty metal death traps, a pissed-off protégé, and some victims in need of moral reeducation. Blood and guts ensue. You know the drill.

Shit, I still think Corky from Magic could take this little bitch.

The Lowdown

I am filled with apathy for this movie.

In theory, I’ve got nothing against the Saw movies. They seem to hearken back to the drive-in movie days, except instead of Michael Landon as a teenage werewolf, we got Tobin Bell as a deranged torturer, and I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Bell’s hunkier than Landon ever was, pre or post-Little House. Plus, they’re so unapologetically violent and mean, they cost almost nothing to make, and they gross a boatload of cash, proof that hard-R horror can still be commercially viable. I’m totally okay with that.

In theory.

The reality is, the Saw movies are about as lame as my polio-stricken cousin and only half as adorable. It’s one thing to aspire to be the next Seven; that flick’s a landmark in horror cinema and you’ve got to be fucking nuts not to want to crib from it. It’s quite another thing to essentially take three, that’s right, three, films to remake just one. That’s a tad redundant, and when the only elements of the Saw series that distinguish it at all are spastic direction, shitty, twist-centric writing, and acting delivered with the subtlety of a flying mallet, it might be time to mosey on back to the old drawing board. Sure, the gore’s great, but these movies aren’t the only steakhouses in town. The Descent had almost as good gore scenes, and had the added benefit of being a legitimately scary, well-crafted, and well-acted little flick. But it wasn’t a heavy hitter in the box office, and even when you factor in overseas grosses it barely made half of what Saw III made.

And Saw III’s the worst in the series. Ain’t life grand?

Angus Macfayden in Mitchell 2: Mitchin’ It Old School? No Fucking Way.

This one reminds me of the Star Wars prequels. You know how the Star Wars prequels sucked because they (and by “they”, I mean Lord Cocksucker of Sidious Lucas) busied themselves with telling us all about things we couldn’t give two fucks for? That’s this movie in relation to Saws I and II. Want to find out what really happened to Adam in the first movie and Det. Matthews in the second? No? Too fucking bad! Want to see Jigsaw prepping his Cary Elwes-proof charnel house from Saw I? Still no? Tough titty, cause here it comes anyways! The whole fucking movie is just loaded with scenes like that. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we get endless flashbacks to scenes from the first two movies, and, in some cases, from this one itself! I mean, I sympathize if you’re watching this one, and you’re a balls-to-the-wall alcoholic, or maybe you just have that fucked-up memory thing Guy Pearce had in Memento. Then, I reckon it’d be plume nice to have what just happened five minutes ago summarized for you.

But to those with a fully-functional (fuck that: borderline retarded would even pass muster) brain, it’s just lazy filmmaking. These flashbacks/addendums ruin any mystery Jigsaw may have accumulated over three films, and they easily take up 20 minutes of the movie’s 113 minute running time. In a horror film like this, the less padding, the better. They’re like pornos- you want to move from money shot to money shot with a modicum of people talking in between. And no, director Darren Lynn Bousman, shaking the camera around violently every five minutes to remind us how “intense” your movie is does not add inches to your penis. It just looks amateurish, and while there’s nothing in here as egregiously bad as the stellar car chase from the first flick, to go back to the porno analogy, you shake the camera around too much, and someone’s liable to lose an eye.

Here’s the movie’s biggest problem: it’s just boring. The gore’s great when it happens, but after a truly grisly opening ten minutes or so, it thins out considerably until the ending, where, other than a brutal rack torture, the main grue splattered is just gunshot-related. Works beautifully in The Departed (buy that one on DVD, as opposed to this POS), not so much here. Oh yeah, unless you find that fucking pig-head mask scary. That has…lemme check the tally I made…9000 shitty jump scare appearances here. Go to it.

Oh man, I have wanted to see Dina Meyer topless since Starship Troopers, and now I get my wish!

Thankfully, that leaves ample time for thinly sketched and obviously motivated characters to talk, and talk, and talk about things I’ll never care about. Screenwriter Leigh Whannell has a tin ear for dialogue, and his work here’s a primer for depicting the ways people act that no one on Earth actually acts. Although, when I learned on IMDB that he wrote this script in a week, I thought, “Well, that figures.” This piece has the kind of perception into the human condition that only a week’s worth of writing and research can bring. The SPOILER ALERT Jeff, wife Lynn, and son Dylan bit? Pass. Straight out of a Lifetime movie, except for the shotgun collar involved (then again, there was that one “battered woman” movie with Marlo Thomas…). The Jigsaw and Amanda relationship? In theory, interesting; a woman devoting her undying allegiance to the man who tried to kill her is a solid theme. In reality, their exchanges are trite, and the big “payoff” to their partnership should only come as a surprise if you’ve been watching this movie with your eyes closed under a rock on Mars. It pains me to write this, but it’s 100% true; to quote a very good friend of mine, this flick needed “more gory, less story.”

And across the board, the acting here isn’t entertaining enough to elevate this crappy story to “enjoyable shit.” It’s so uninspired and drab. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bahar Soomekh was in a coma when they shot this; as Lynn, her attempts at playing “distant” come off as “Honey, are you still breathing?” And Angus Macfadyen’s Jeff wins the Cary Elwes Prize for continuing the “Wheezy and Indifferent European Lead Actor” tradition that the Saw movies have worked so valiantly to preserve. You played Orson Welles, Angus. You should know better. As Jigsaw, Tobin Bell’s lying on a bed collecting a paycheck, and Shawnee Smith (as Amanda) hasn’t been the same since Johnny Drama gave her acting lessons in The Blob. But at the very least, this movie showed me that Costas Mandylor is, in fact, still alive. And I will always treasure that.

See this woman? No idea what she’s doing in this movie. Her role has zero significance. What’s the call sheet for that like? "Show up. Do nothing. Blonde hair and big boobs a plus."

The apathy I had for this movie is what hurts it the most. Cruddy as they were, the first two Saw were equal parts fleet and ridiculous; they fit the bill for an enjoyable piece of shit to watch on a Friday night when all your other friends have dates. This one plods along interminably at far-too restrained a tempo, and by the time the “shocking” ending came (which is bullshit and is completely predicated on a half a dozen people making incredibly precise decisions and judgments that they themselves could not predict nor anyone else for that matter…oh wait, Jigsaw can! That’s what makes him so spooky!! Just fucking kill me now), I came to my own conclusion.

I just don’t care.

Saw III is a waste of your time, even if you are a horror fan. “More gory, less story?”

True ‘dat, homes.

The Package

This is the first of what will undoubtedly be MANY Saw III DVDs, so if you’re a fan of this crap, be on the look-out for a double-dip in the future when they roll Saw IV out. The disc is unrated, which is its only saving grace; several scenes were so bloody I wondered what they looked like in their R-rated incarnations. The casing is a clear-plastic slipcase with the “pulled teeth” poster on the front, which looks cool, but be warned: the disc holder on my copy could not hold the disc worth a shit, and so the fucker keeps popping loose and rolling around. Just FYI.

The picture looks ugly, but it’s crisply ugly in a way that probably is keeping with what director Bousman was going for; a lot of gritty blacks, rusts, and puke-sick green. This movie was shot in an ugly warehouse, and thus the transfer made me lust for a tetanus shot. Kudos. The sound was very effective, but the mix had a tendency to get really loud during the horror scenes. That’s normal, but I’m, you know, trying to keep my hearing, so I thought I’d mention it.

I will say this: the movie got a whole lot more interesting when Mandingo showed up.

As for special features, there are a few, but by and large, they’re pretty disposable. The two commentaries with Bousman are actually pretty good. I may think the man got a smelly, Nine Inch Nails-themed vacuum where no directing talent can thrive, but he’s an engaging, funny guy with lots of good information. The track with Whannell is the better of the two because both men play off each other well, but either one is worth a listen. The producers’ one is crap. It’s boring and they think too highly of the film. "The Traps of Saw III" and "The Props of Saw III" featurettes are both short and pointless, unless you’re into a lot of gushing about how inventive the butchery tools on display were. "Darren’s Diary" is cute. Bousman looks like he had a lot of fun making this flick. Glad someone did. And skip the deleted scenes. They take up about five minutes and obviously added nothing to the film. Moreover, they really don’t add to this disc at all. I guess the Saw completist out there might appreciate them. I am not that man.

I can’t recommend this flick. I just can’t do it. It’s ineptly made, poorly acted, and nowhere near as consistently grisly as it needs to be. Rent Seven, or even the first two Saws if you need a torture-porn fix. Hell, The Departed, Half Nelson, and Marie Antoinette all came out this week, and they’re all terrific; ditch the horror kick and rent one of those. The disc offers solid audio/visual and two decent commentaries, but otherwise is a wash in terms of good special features. And for heaven’s sake, if you do buy this one, don’t buy it again when Lions Gate double dips it! I hate it when people do that.

Oh Lord, this movie cannot sustain any Christian imagery. It just can’t.

4.0 out of 10