Horror Marathon: Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

And we’re finally here! The Final Chapter of the Saw franchise! Its been one rocky journey and I mean literally seeing as it went on a downhill slope for a little bit before slowly redeeming itself a little at a time. After the ending of Saw VI, I did want to see how they would end it. I guess I should mention, although its called 3D, I saw it in normal 2D.

Let’s wrap this franchise up (seeing as I’m still unsure whether I should see Jigsaw)!

Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

saw the final chapter

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery, Chad Donella, Laurence Anthony, Cary Elwes

As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror. –IMDB

The end is here. The sixth one ended with an injured Hoffman (Damn! Why does he just die?) and he’s onto Jill being a part of Jigsaw’s big plan. Call it a test or whatever, but it was one deadly one and he definitely passed it since he survived and now rather vengeful. The seventh one starts with a rather ambitious and grandiose game for a love triangle and its the first time its been out in the open (at least on screen). Of course, its disgusting and the choice the players make here are rather obvious and I’m going to be honest that watching these back to back has been really nauseating so I already felt incredibly sick at the first game and those are usually just introductions to the movie, which didn’t bode well. However, the story does really come together for this one. It brings back familiar faces from previous films and also takes for that moral journey that I had talked about in this final game also. At this point, its already noticeable that the script does reveal its intentions for the game fairly obviously however, the backstory with Jigsaw and Jill and Hoffman is where the mystery and twists all come out and its in the intricacies and extremities of each of the tests/games.

Saw VII

With that said, the main game focuses around Bobby, a man who has gotten his fame for his outlook on what he’s learned from surviving Jigsaw’s game. When he gets reeled into this game, we get flashbacks of how he met Jigsaw and all the pieces fall together in some ways. His tasks, much like the last film, are a huge puzzle where he is lead to go from one room to the next where he needs to save the people he knows in order to move forward to save his wife. The story is so similar to the sixth installment. However, his finale is one that we see coming a decent point before that or at least its definitely in your suspicions. While that is the case, its really is just one freaky test to the next. Its a bloody affair over and over again. We get a look at each of these characters before in a few scenes. Not enough to care too much about them but if you buy into this fellow Bobby’s role, then its alright.

Saw VII

What does make up for it is the idea of finally seeing how every fits together with Jill, Hoffman, and Jigsaw. Of course, we also bring in another agent into the formula. He does a fairly decent job. They even manage to seek out where the game is being played as they track down Bobby and fall a step behind. As I write this, I feel like its not as memorable as I’d like it to be for the whole investigation. However, the whole Jigsaw, Jill and Hoffman parts are the key twists here as they fill in those gaps of how it works which makes sense for the most part.

Honestly, I’m out of things to say about the Saw franchise. It has a formula and every time I feel like I’m saying similar things except now its just what works in the formula and doesn’t. The Final Chapter works for the most part and the way it ends it is quite awesome. There are twists that work and some that don’t. It really isn’t too bad although this one is incredibly bloody and gory.

Have you seen Saw VII? Did you see it in 3D? What are your thoughts on the franchise? Which movie is your fave?
Finally, do you think I should go see Jigsaw?

As an ending note here, I just thought of something that I’m going to work on as a final piece for this franchise. I feel like its needed to justify it more. One to look at how I’d rank each of these films, as well as a review of the entire story here in general. Either way, that’s coming up soon!

Horror Marathon: Saw VI (2009) #horror #Saw #SawVI #Franchise

Moving along with quite well with the Saw franchise and we are at the 6th movie. Its becoming wildly apparent that this is one long story that can’t be really reviewed by part however, we will try.

Lets go!

Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Peter Outerbridge, Shawnee Smith, Athena Karkanis

Agent Strahm is dead, and FBI agent Erickson draws nearer to Hoffman. Meanwhile, a pair of insurance executives find themselves in another game set by Jigsaw.-IMDB

NOOO!!! Scott Patterson’s Agent Strahm is dead. He was my highlight in the last two movies. At least he died pretty epicly, sort of.

I never thought that I would say this at this point in the franchise but the sixth movie breathed some life back into the franchise. However, since the last two movies, I haven’t been able to watch any of the first victims/games because its just incredibly disgusting. Gore and torture porn doesn’t normal bother me a lot but its probably the watching back to back of them that has caused a decrease tolerance. So, I was pretty nauseous in that first part because the sound effects made me also imagine what was going on and I have one outrageous imagination. And actually because of that beginning, I went into this sixth one quite bitter and angry for this opening direction. Lets just say I’m fed up of the gore which doesn’t make sense because this is what I had originally thought Saw franchise was all about.

Saw VI

To be fair, Saw VI is quite good. In terms of the direction of the story, it starts lining up with Jigsaw’s last game in his will and reveals the answer as to other person or people involved. The question at this point (and before) is always how do these people caught in the game relate to Jigsaw? How did they meet and what bad things have these people done? Jigsaw’s captives are rarely people who have done nothing and here is where this film excels. The story itself highlights Jigsaw’s mentality in spades about the morality and ethics. The backstory of everyone’s involvement is what links all the movies together but this story really brings out the why for Jigsaw’s action especially when his mantra is cherish your life and yet the guy caught in the game is stuck in making decisions to essentially use his formula on the people he knows and make him question his choices. What I did like the best was actually the way Saw VI manages to keep its tension and momentum and really keep us guessing to the end which was quite a twist. Good job on the switch in director to Kevin Greutert who seems take the gore a little too seriously still manages to balance it well enough in the psychological department to make it work.

Saw VI

While I do praise this instalment and had a good bit of enjoyment from it, which is surprising considering I was angry at it when the movie started, there are still flaws. It mostly goes down to our character making predictable choices. However, it might just fall into how well we know Jigsaw’s puzzle concepts particularly under time crunch blended with the guy in the game who does a decent performance. Or maybe, its just my expectations are so low that it didn’t matter anymore so there was more enjoyment because of that.

Overall, Saw VI does a decent job here. It makes the The Final Chapter (which we know is a lie since theres a new movie out in a week or so) a little more promising. How will they end it?

Did you watch Saw VI? 

Horror Marathon: Saw V (2008)

Moving back into the Saw franchise, we go to the fifth installment! So far, its getting disappointing but some have told me it’ll get better. So fingers crossed, I guess…

Let’s check it out!

Saw V (2008)

Saw V

Director: David Hackl

Cast: Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Mark Erickson, Greg Bryk

Following Jigsaw’s grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman’s past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests. – IMDB

Saw V deepens the story a little more as we take a look at how Hoffman got chosen by Jigsaw as his apprentice and to pick up the job after his passing. It ties in some parts of the past movies and actually does kind of make sense. Saw V has its gory moments particularly one of the first deaths at the beginning which is literally gut wrenchingly disgusting. Its really not my cup of tea. It didn’t make me feel scared or anything, just made me turn away so I wouldn’t get all nausea and shut the movie off. However, once we get past that part, the story driven elements runs a little deeper here, its interesting to kind of get a better idea of the timeline of the story while still having that element of the Jigsaw game. Its also cool that its quite obvious that the Jigsaw voice has changed to Hoffman’s (maybe slightly) distorted voice. Point is, I like the general direction of this one a little more than the previous two, at least. The only issue is that the movie does jump from scene to scene from Jigsaw and Hoffman to the elaborated captives trying to escape and then to Agent Strahm who is tracing back the steps. At times, this makes it feel slightly fragmented/disjointed.

Saw 5

I guess the approach here is to look at the three stories they are telling. Hoffman and Jigsaw are interesting characters. Hoffman is kind of a messed up cop because of a tragedy and he is vengeful as well and in some ways, Jigsaw was about to see through it in a see of people and know it was him and handpicked him to have an opportunity to learn his talent of anticipating human nature so that while it seems like his victims have a choice, they actually have to break out of their instinctive nature to make it out. And its pretty clever in that way, especially when we see Hoffman finally embracing that at the end of this one. Is that considered a spoiler? Maybe…I’m sorry.

Saw V

This brings us to the captives caught in the game which may have a deeper purpose in the story which I haven’t quite figured out yet or the story hasn’t gone there but it did help emphasize on the fact that these were people connected because of an incident which they eventually figure out however, they also become victims of their own nature of self-preservation and not being able to break out of that mentality causing them to have deadly endings. In a way, its also pretty clever, especially the games in each room they have to encounter because by the end, you see that the game was set up so that everyone could survive as long as they were able to think out of the box, which obviously they didn’t. The games itself weren’t particularly gory instead it was on the effect and surprise of what had to be achieved. There’s a little more of a psychological aspect here even if at times, who was going to die or make it became slightly predictable.

Saw V

The reason and motivation of my desire to continue after the third was all on Scott Patterson and my love for his character in Luke. Sigh~ I have to say that he takes on Agent Strahm and is the highlight of the last two. His character is cool because he’s smart and he traces through all these things and then realizes that he’s caught up in something that is way ahead of his expectations. However, his part as he traces to Jigsaw’s building and then goes underground and goes back to these traps (that somehow are still there) and looks back at previous movies of why they are there. My main issue with this is that he finds these trap doors or something in the walls and yet the police and forensic  or whatever investigative team didn’t find it the first time around. Doesn’t that feel like a trap? It just lacks a little bit of sense.

While it seems like I’m really not enjoying Saw V, there are some redeemable parts of it as long as you don’t try to make it too sensible. I have issues with how the story flows and even the timeline of it. But I have a feeling that when Hoffman’s lifespan as the Jigsaw apprentice wraps up, depending how long that is, we will start to get a full picture and everything should piece together. At least I sure hope so. As for expectations for Saw VI? I have none. Its the best way to get into these movies at this point. I just need it to somehow piece together without the feeling that the best parts are always in their finale because this formula is getting old really fast.

Have you seen Saw V?

Horror Marathon: Saw IV (2007)

And we continue…

If you look at my Letterboxd diary, you will see that it continued with quite a gap before I decided to jump back into the franchise. For obvious reasons if you’ve read the review for 2 and 3. However, I committed to this so why not? It can’t really get worse than how odd the story got for previous franchises I’ve covered. After Saw III though, where could it go? Thats the main question I have.

Lets check it out!

Saw IV (2007)

saw IV

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis

Despite Jigsaw’s death, and in order to save the lives of two of his colleagues, Lieutenant Rigg is forced to take part in a new game, which promises to test him to the limit. – IMDB

Saw III ended with the death of our villain here. In fact, the entire ending is the type of dumb BS ending that I can’t stand so you can see how I wasn’t eager to jump back into the franchise.

Its getting increasingly hard to hash out these reviews. Saw feels like with each entry that they are very similar in concept. I do get that its the mentality of Jigsaw. In the fourth one, it seems like he isn’t only trying to find someone to pick up his task and his big elaborate plans but we see a much deeper look into how Jigsaw became who he was as the FBI sent it, Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Agent Perez (Athena Karkanis) follow the clues to try to track down Agent Riggs who has been sent on his own mission to save Eric Matthews who turns out to be alive. This angle is a good one to be fair. Jigsaw was a mystery and its nice to see John Kramer, the human version before he became this crazy killer. The way this one ends, its pretty certain that there will be a follow-up as we already know there is, unlike how the third ended and you wondered whether it was just a trilogy and meant to end there.

Saw 4

Saw IV dropped down a little the disgusting scenes. It still had some pretty cruel traps however, this was a test for Lieutenant Riggs (played by Lyriq Bent) who we’ve seen in the last two movies and it was his test. At the same time, it makes us wonder who is now behind this mess since Jigsaw is pretty much dead or else you know, the events of the ending of the last one wouldn’t have happened. Regardless, the test did make sense for Riggs and particularly for his parts, and the whole finding Matthews and that really does come together. Even who has now picked up the reigns after Jigsaw is pretty obvious if you look at the clues that the movie puts out in front of you. Its pretty in your face although it does have those scenes that mesh itself together so it can also be waved as just a scene shift continuity thing (or whatever you call it). Plus, the ending of that trap was pretty awesome in the sense that I never expected that is how it would turn out in terms of Riggs and his test and saving Matthews.

The new players of the franchise, since the last Saw had a few exit, is Agent Strahm and Agent Perez (as I mentioned above). After Gilmore Girls, it seems Scott Patterson went ahead and joined into the Saw franchise for a little bit. This is his entry point. I love Scott Patterson because of his character Luke in Gilmore Girls however, in some hints when Agent Strahm gets angry and frustrated, its really still Luke just in a different context. And that is what makes it pretty awesome for me because the best parts of the movie was when he was talking to Jill Tuck (played by Betsy Russell) who is the ex-wife of John Kramer, aka Jigsaw and we dive into their past. Those parts helped give Jigsaw context and it was what added a foundation making Jigsaw actually more human as despite the extreme he took it, there was a reason behind this. Its smart to bring new players to a franchise and expand on the backstory.

Overall, I can’t say that I’m particularly a huge fan of Saw IV. It had its solid moments that truly did redeem itself. I do say that Saw franchise has this pattern and its starting to make it hard to watch a ton in advance before I review because it just meshes all together. I think that makes a point of how it lacks originality as other than making new intricate traps and new tests, its really formulaic. The new characters breathe some new life to it and its in these characters and dialogue where it shines. Saw IV is a tiny step back up from Saw III. Its kind of near the Saw II rating (at least that is my score for Letterboxd). Three more movies to go in the franchise (or 4 if I see the upcoming Jigsaw out depending on schedule) and there is somewhat of a redemption in this one for myself so at least I’m a little more eager to see Saw V.

Have you seen Saw IV?