Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Seven Days of Sawdom: Day Seven

Hello, all, and welcome to the final day of Sawdom, where we come in with the final chapter of this horror franchise.

I'll get started soon, but first, disclaimer:

There will be spoilers for extremely plot-sensitive details from the previous Saw movies. If you have not seen any of the previous installments of the franchise, turn back now and watch them before reading the review. You can't say I didn't warn you when your franchise is spoiled.
With that said, we move on to the final film of the franchise:

Saw 3D

Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) is an author who helps previous victims of the Jigsaw killer while purporting to be one of those victims. He eventually gets involved in a big trap of Jigsaw's design, and he finds he must get through it if he wants to save his wife. And while this is happening, Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is pursuing Jill (Betsy Russel) for revenge for nearly killing him.

So... where to begin with this one?

Well... it gets a very definite feel of endgame, although it decided to avoid the angle that Saw III went with like the plague. Instead, it seeks to resolve the overarching mythos of the franchise to the point that it gets a bit obsessive about it. And my, does it pull quite the asspull to accomplish that. As well, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) hardly ever appears throughout the installment, and the reported return of Cary Elwes to the franchise didn't amount to much. The closure of the series is still pretty interesting, though... it's convoluted, and yet it brings everything full circle in a strangely satisfying way. Honestly, the ending was the best part, if only because of how it brings everything full circle and for no other reason than that.

And the traps... Oh, boy. It's all bigger and gorier in this installment, with death scenes the likes of which we've never seen before. The gore is taken to all new levels here, and it's absolutely insane in that regard. But by this installment? It's grown exceptionally tough to care, as we all know the formula for these kinds of traps; the players all end up failing, people die in gruesome ways, and it's all insanity from there. The sad part? Some of the payoff for the traps isn't even all that great when we think about it. It's all big, and it's all gruesome, but sometimes the payoff doesn't amount to much of anything. And that is quite unfortunate...

And thematically? Forget it. There isn't a whole lot to work on here; now we see the franchise bogged down into the franchise's reputation as a schlock fest with a whole ton of gore. And there's hardly anything worthwile about it.

Saw 3D therefore comes off as a minor disappointment. It's not the way I would've ended the series (especially not with the big ass-pull they made at the end), and the traps aren't all as crazy as they could have been, but it redeems itself with bringing the whole series full circle in very interesting ways. But even then, it's not a great installment.

And on the 3D? It made things pop out at you and was very gimmicky. Although in a case like this, that helps the experience.

So the final verdict of the series' finale?


It has its moments, but overall you might be left disappointed.
Now... what's my final thoughts on the franchise?

Well... like any franchise, it went down the toilet after the third installment. The sixth installment was the best of all the installments after three, but unfortunately it never recaptured the suspense and the tough decisions of the first movie. So in this regard, this is my ordering for how good the installments are:

Saw II
Saw VI
Saw 3D
Saw IV
Saw V

So yeah, the first three movies and the sixth movie are the only ones that you should really bother with. The others can be skipped and you won't miss a whole lot (with the exception of a lot of background mythos for part VI).

The series started quite serious, but it ended on a heavily convoluted note. I'm not sure what to make of the overarching mythos; on the one hand, it's fascinating to see all of it unfold, but on the other it can come across as a little cheap (particularly during Saw V, which I now realize felt disjunct because it was trying to sew up the plot holes that were present with Saw IV's big reveal). And ultimately, it doesn't amount to a whole lot given the angles they went with.

As for the series' traps... Well, I guess I'll run down each installment and go over my favorite traps.

1: The central plotline's trap, mostly for how difficult the decisions were, but also because it's the least ludicrous of all the traps of the franchise.
2: None of the traps here are really that memorable, but if I had to go with one I'd probably go with the needle pit trap, as it has some very disturbing psychological undertones to it.
3: The pig vat trap; it's one of the few traps that someone walks away alive from, and it's the only trap in the entire franchise in which someone does what they're supposed to do before the victim dies.
4: I'd be inclined to go with the impalement trap, as it's got fairly disturbing undertones to it. On a side note, this installment houses my least favorite trap in the franchise: the hair trap. For God's sake man, cut her hair!
5: The pendulum; oddly enough, this is one of exactly two traps I've enjoyed in the franchise purely for how it works at fucking people up, and also because it helps develop Hoffman's character.
6: The carousel; it's a very difficult trap to watch because the decision making is extremely difficult. On a side note, the carousel also has the honor of being my favorite trap of the whole franchise.
7: I'll go with the throat pierce trap; it's one of the most ludicrous traps of the whole franchise, but its implications are very disturbing.

As for the best part of the traps? Well... I'll cover that in this week's musing.

This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews, at sunset on the final day of Sawdom. It's been a hell of a ride reviewing the entire franchise, and I hope you've enjoyed my retrospective.

And I'll see you guys next time.

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