Friday, October 27, 2006

Saw 3 Falls Victim to it's Own Game...

I'm glad I got a job writing for a film publication... it affords me an opprotunity to vent my frustrations over films like Saw 3. Without it, I'd most likely resort to the IMDB message boards, and that's really not where I want to be.

So I'm just gonna come out with it... I was a huge fan of Saw when it first came out... to this day I still think it was a satisfyingly creative thriller with a wonderful twist... hell, I even liked Saw 2 enough to buy the dvd. If the division between Saw fans and nonfans wasn't distinct enough already... it's about to get a whole lot clearer once everybody's gotten a chance to see the third, and hopefully (but not likely) final chapter in the franchise.

The story is difficult to summarize without giving anything away... suffice it to say that the movie opens up in a pretty exciting way and continues along familiar territory for about the first 10 minutes. Then, I don't know what happens. Like every horror film that has come out since the original Saw in 2004, the gore stakes have been risen to new heights, and I doubt that after Saw 3, cinemas will be able to see much worse. (Of course, I thought the same thing after Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes... but Jigsaw proved me all kinds of wrong here.)

The central story of Saw 3 focuses on Jeff- a man who recently suffered an unspeakable tragedy and failed marriage almost simultaneously. Jigsaw targets Jeff because he feels that his new lifestyle- one of depression and hopes of vengence- is a waste. Jeff awakens in a box... literally, just a box... with the infamous Jigsaw brand tape recorder. Jigsaw explains to his new playmate that his game will test his ability to forgive, as he will be set free in a house of horrors that will bring him face-to-face with a number of people responsible for the death of his son.

Here's where I got a little steamed- the central theme of Saw 3 is forgiveness and how that can be the most difficult part of human nature to embrace. Why all of a sudden is Jigsaw, the ultimate representation of vengence (re: Dr. Gordon in Saw) and resentment (re: everybody else) stressing the importance of forgiveness? Why are the creators trying to get audiences to feel sorry for Jigsaw... we don't want to love the guy, we want to be scared of him! He goes from the likes of a Kevin Spacey/John Doe in Seven to DR. PHIL hosting a day time special about how forgiveness is wonderful?! This isn't the Saw I fell in love with.

There were aspects of the film I liked though... it does, in a rather clever way, tie all 3 films together. The audience will have happenings from both Saw and Saw 2 explained to them, but as to how imporantant any of these explanations really are... I don't know. They're kind of just there. I personally enjoyed one segment in which the audience sees how the notorious bathroom scene from the original was plotted and set up.

The acting was a little bit better this time around, but if you know Saw, you know that doesn't say too much. The best in the bunch is Shawnee Smith returning as the faithful sidekick Amanda, who first the first time in the franchise doesn't seem awkward or out of place. Tobin Bell represises his role as the notorious mastermind and his performance is fine- it's the direction his character goes in in this film, that bothered me. As far as everybody else is concerned... well, it's a Saw movie. You don't see it for the actors, I guess.

And again, on the violence. The first two films definetly pushed the envelope as far as gore is concerned and spawned countless imitators who have since just been trying to out do eachother. I, personally, can't stand brutally violent films. The Saw franchise is my exception simply because I feel like it had a decent story behind it... but all the other ones that glorify blood loss simply to draw a crowd- it's sending the horror genre in a disturbingly wrong direction. But I guess enough of us love it enough to keep financing it, so I don't pretend to assume that my opinion matters- but Saw 3 goes much further than it needed too.

Some fans of the franchise will love Saw 3, others, like myself, will be disappointed. Although, I think everybody will agree, based on the film's finale- that this needs to be it. Saw has revamped horror films in a completely unexpected way as set a new precedent in the production of sequels... but there's no reason to ruin this respectable series by butchering it any further. We all know what happend with Halloween, Jason, and Freddy. Leaving Jigsaw alone at this point, may be the only saving grace for this final chapter.

4 Comments:

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