Classic Film Review: Saw III (2006)

Saw III, 2006

Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman

Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer


The third and final instalment in the Saw trilogy (I know there’s more, but this film genuinely felt like a conclusion to a trilogy) connected a lot of points together from the first two films with more character development for the eponymous Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) who’s suffering even more from his brain tumour than in Saw II. This film follows Jeff Denlon (Angus Macfadyen) through his trials in avenging the death of his son and trying to overcome his grief, through one of Jigsaw’s games, and Lynn (Bahar Soomekh) as she’s kidnapped and forced to operate on Jigsaw to alleviate the pain from the brain tumour.

There are some good storylines in this film, more than I was expecting going in, and they explore, particularly through Jeff’s trials, serious grief that we, as an audience, can empathise with. Jeff’s child was accidentally killed by a driver, who was then only sentenced to six months in jail. Jeff’s first trial sees him confront a woman who ran away from the scene, failing to inform the police of what she saw, as she’s stripped completely naked in a freezing cold room as cold water is poured onto her. In this trial he wrestles with whether or not to forgive her, which is fair enough, but the tape recorder said he needed the key to escape the room with or without her, and he waited, and waited, and waited to go and get the key, by which time it was too late for the woman. And this repeated itself with the judge who gave his son’s killer a short sentence and the killer himself. And on each part where it should be focused on him and his harrowing choice to forgive or commit to death, the editing and cuts go crazy. Snapping back and forth from him to them, to one wall and the key, to the cold water and the walls, it flashes so many pictures (some even mixed up the times, as he’s reaching for the key then seen kicking the door before back to reaching for the key) and this look is horrible, much the same as it was in Saw II.

Another point on Jeff and his choices is his acting isn’t brilliant, nor is anyone’s in this film; they either don’t look as scared as they should, or they’re not selling their predicament as well as they should. However one arc I really enjoyed was that of Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), who is gaining a greater presence in each passing Saw film. Being an ex-attempted-suicide game-player of Jigsaw’s, she now works for him, but doesn’t hold the same morals as he. She simply wants to punish so she offers the victims no chance of survival, and she is shown, through flashbacks, to have killed Adam (Leigh Whannell) from Saw and Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), connecting all the films together through her (which is why this film genuinely felt like the end of their story). She’s jealous of Jigsaw’s closeness with Lynn as she operates on him and even resorts back to cutting herself out of anger. She, despite being the main villain of the film, is given the best story arc, and it’s a shame she isn’t the greatest of actresses as there are moments from her which are really poor and let down the character she had.

Easily the weaker of the three, Saw III didn’t have its shocking surprise at the end (it had surprises but none felt as important as Saw or Saw II’s revelations), and was, again, filled with horrible visual and sound editing. There’s screeches for no reason, multiple shots quickly presented one after the other, and each affect our view of the film in a way which isn’t good for a horror film. It gave a nice story between Amanda and Jigsaw, but unfortunately the entirety of its execution wasted what could have been a really nice story arc.


Plot: * *

Acting: * *

Writing: * *

Presentation: *

Overall Rating: * ¾


Other films in the Saw series:


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