From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saw 3D - D

Rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language, 91 minutes

Hopefully this will be the final "Saw"

As the old saying goes, there is one way to come in the world and a million ways to die. As if that's not enough, the "Saw" horror franchise has made millions of dollars on that saying alone, coming up with new and inventive ways to torture and murder people. We fully realize the point of the films by now: Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is a serial killer who exacts his own unique brand of revenge on all the bad people of the world, creating a game of traps that they must escape or die.

This supposedly final "Saw" installment, the 7th, is brought to you in glorious 3D and more gruesome traps than ever. Fans of this franchise will enjoy all the blood and violence as it brings back cast members from past installments; even with all these gimmicks, it's still an excessively violent, badly executed and unsurprising horror flick that exists solely to revolve around all the gory traps that highlight of the film. It's a mixed bag: there are absolutely no surprises but they're admittedly entertaining in a guilty pleasure sort of way.

"Saw 3D" brings back Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) from the first "Saw" film who survived Jigsaw's (Bell) brutal game but lost a leg in the process. This new film explains what happened to Gordon since the first film but also continues a new plot involving a fake Jigsaw survivor, Dr. Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flannery) who has become wealthy by telling his fictional story of how he survived Jigsaw and gone on to a better life. He is captured by Jigsaw and must truly survive another deadly game of torture and violence. Meanwhile, Jigsaw's wife Jill (Betsy Russell) is hunted down by Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), who has become Jigsaw's new assistant.

"Saw 3D" is one of the weaker installments in the franchise, held together only by the traps, which have a life of their own by now. The plot is recycled, the violence unsurprising, the acting terrible as usual. The plot angle to bring back Gordon to the film is so baffling and contrived that it may have "Saw" fans scratching their heads in disbelief. The film is directed by Kevin Greutert, who helmed "Saw 6" and he does little to advance the story except elaborately film the traps set up to kill folks this time out, which involve everything from steel traps to chain saws to an old El Camino.

The "Saw" films, much like Freddy, Jason and Michael, will no doubt live on in some way, shape or form. Even if this is the final installment of this series, expect Jigsaw to be back in some reincarnated fashion. It's been an altogether disappointingly mediocre, bloody ride, and the 3D here, much like other films, doesn't help to actually make it a better film. This series has definitely run its course, but "Saw" fans should turn out, at least the first week, to see what it's all about. Let's hope for the last time. Yea right.