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As SAW II concluded, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) was dying. But that doesn't mean his penchant for playing games of torture and violence is ending. In SAW III, the murders start occurring again, and Kerry (Dina Meyer) is back on the case, although she thinks this time it might be the work of a copycat. She's only partly right: Amanda (Shawnee Smith), the only victim to have survived both movies, has joined Jigsaw as his apprentice, leading the way through a terrifying game involving Lynn (Bahar Soomekh), a doctor in an unhappy marriage, and Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), a distraught man who is having trouble getting over the loss of his son (Stefan Georgiou) at the hands of a drunk driver. Amanda has captured Lynn and placed her in a neck brace that is linked to Jigsaw's heart monitor; she must keep Jigsaw alive or else the brace will explode. Meanwhile, Jeff is sent on a dangerous journey on which he faces all the people involved in the light penalty his boy's killer received--and it is up to him whether he will seek vengeance or offer forgiveness.
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The cast and crew listing would lead one to believe we’re up for another solid Saw go-around. In this reviewer’s opinion….yeah not so much. It’s almost as though the creators of the first film, who wrote this one, were trying to end any relation to their characters by the end of this film. If I recall correctly, this is around the time when the studio began green lighting two SAW films at the same time for consecutive yearly releases.
Directing: This is one of those instances where I believe there is proof that a script defines the movie more than anything else. Saw II was excellent and this one…not so much. I feel like Bousman did a better job with the stereotypes in the last film than he did with some of the more original ones here. And that comes from the writing mostly.
Cinematography: Same complaint here as we got in the 2nd film – things are too well lit. I enjoy
Production Design: It’s gritty, rusty and brown and green like the other films, but to be honest…it’s the 3rd go around, let’s get a little more inventive stylistically can’t we? It doesn’t have to deviate too far, but just a little here and there to break up the monotony would be nice. It’s all I’m saying.
Editing: Quick cuts of close up gore, but thank you Lord above there are no sped up shots or sequences like before. It really was wearing on my last nerve and keeping the franchise in amateur territory. In my opinion this is the best editing yet in terms of these films.
Score: Still working well, subtly underneath it all. The theme remains intact and the tone of the score still matches the prior films and keeps the film going.
Special Effects: Again, still goes back to the production design. My hat comes off yet again to the team for not jumping to the CGI bandwagon when at this point they easily could have. The budget had gone up so they maintain that style of the film and I admire them for that.
In closing: SAW III is not what you’d expect from the third film. It is worth seeing if you’re a fan of the films as you’ll no doubt love the backstories involving Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith. The “main” plot, if it could even be called that since it comes off more as a B story is interesting premise but falls short. It’s all in all a “prequel” of sorts to the franchise. But the way it ends ties everything together in a nice neat bow. Chances are, if this is your kind of movie, you’ll love it.