Finally, an October horror movie that doesn’t stink as much as the corpses that litter its screen. Compared to the rest of the recent fare horror audiences have been served up (“The Grudge 2 and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning") "Saw III" is a work of horror art without a rehashed storyline and with intriguing, though gruesome, kills.
Now this might be a bit too friendly to the film, because a horror classic it is not though it does tie up the loose ends of a classic horror trilogy, following in the footsteps of Saw and the aptly named Saw II. While the first Saw was intense, original and down right scary at points the second sort of floundered with a few too many characters and not enough of the development behind the most intriguing character: the killer himself, Jigsaw.
The third returns to form, with a focus on a single trap, though like the original there are other small ones, and an in depth look at the now bed-ridden Jigsaw, played by the still creepy Tobin Bell, and his assistant, Amanda. In a welcome turn of events for a horror movie, much of the film is spent with the killer, attempting to lay out how and why he kills. But don’t worry; these aren’t melodramatic gore free sections. A graphic surgery scene using a power drill and some other implements not meant for surgery makes sure of that.
If all this seems a bit confusing because you haven’t seen the first two, then you probably shouldn’t see the third until you’ve viewed them because “Saw III” doesn’t do any back story at all, except for a few muddied flashbacks in Darren Lynn Bousman’s annoying choppy, flashing editing which he seems to think makes scenes more scary but really just jars the viewer out of the moment. To bad the producers didn’t let series co-creator and co-screenwriter James Wan back behind the camera for this go around since he did a pretty competent job directing the first one.
Still the kills are as bloody and terrible as the previous ones with limbs being twisted off and a drowning in puréed rotten pig carcasses just beginning to scrape the levels of nasty the film throws at the audience. But you get what you came for, a pretty sharp, succinct thrill ride that twists just enough at the end to be satisfying without coming off as trying too hard.