Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 31: Game Over)

Well, I finally made it to Day 31, albeit a few shortcuts here and there. But hey, at least I managed to create 31 blog posts this month. So without further ado, here is the final film of the SAW franchise: "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" (for the purpose of this article, I'll be referring to it as "SAW 7").

All together now: Oh yes, there will be spoilers.

While an attempt at wordplay, this one is actually fitting (see below).

Back then.....

What a f**king mess of a movie! How the hell could they ruin such a great ending to the series?

And now.....

What a f**king mess of a movie! How the hell could they ruin such a great ending to the series?

Okay, if you read any of my previous entries this month, you would have figured out that this was my least favourite installment of the SAW series. I wasn't sure how I was going to approach this. In my "Wrestlemaniac" entry, I had a habit of rambling on whenever it came to issues I had in terms of logic, whether it be from the actual film, or from what decisions the filmmakers had made. Now, that was just one very short movie. Imagine if I did the same to not only this film, but in the context of the whole series?

So, in order to tighten this article the best I can, I will go through ten reasons why I hate this movie, in chronological order as per film, to give an idea as to what was going through my mind while watching it.

This reminds me of the Michael Jackson statue from HIStory.

The opening game/trap

I was going to mention the opening credits for this one, but I'm saving that for later.

When I watched this film for the first time, I had a feeling the film was going to be a disaster, right from the get go. The other sequels start off with an opening game/trap, as per usual. And these are usually set in abandoned warehouses, buildings and other similar desolate surroundings. Which makes sense, in relation to the rest of the series.

So the first game/trap we are introduced to is where two guys have to choose whether to kill each other, or decide to kill a woman that's been cheating on both of them, via buzzsaws. Which is pretty standard fare in terms of the SAW series. Just one problem.....they are in a glass box, in broad daylight, outside a shopping centre, in view of the public.

So in the first three minutes, I'm already asking questions. How did anyone manage to sneak those three people inside without anyone watching? Wouldn't anyone working near the shopping centre have enquired about that glass box outside? Wouldn't it be risky for Hoffman (or anyone for that matter) to construct this elaborate setup in a public area? How was it even built without anyone's knowledge? Did they get planning permission beforehand?

3D scenes

As you can tell from the title, this was shown in 3D in the cinema, so the shots with the effects in mind are noticeable onscreen. And as a result, they come off as stupid and distracting. It's like watching "Friday 13th Part 3" or "Jaws 3-D", so watching scenes where things are coming towards the screen (such as spikes, blades, internal organs) in 2D just comes off as ridiculous.

But the worst thing is, while this was actually filmed in 3D, the effects were barely noticeable throughout the entire film. And I even asked myself back then, why bother filming it in 3D when it may as well be in 2D? So for the sake of the two or three scenes in the entire movie, 3D effects were utilised?

The detective is, well, a dick

I'm just gonna call this guy "Dick" since I can't be bothered looking up his name at this time, and it suits the personality of the character onscreen. Granted Agent Strahm from the previous movies had an attitude, but then again he was involved in the Jigsaw investigation, his partner was injured, and he was close to finding out the truth, hence his hard nosed attitude.

But Dick here is just as the name applies. From the first words of dialogue he utters, he is instantly unlikable, especially his dialogue is poor itself. Using terms like "crazy as a bag of cats" (or something like that) when talking about Jill Tuck, and his "crazy crazy crazy" speech to her in the safe house, I wasn't sure if it was the dialogue was poor, or whether it was the actor himself. His words seem poorly written when you compare them to the other characters in the film. Hell, even Jigsaw's cameo had better lines than this Dick.

The dream sequence

I usually find that dream sequences or false visions in horror films are just a cheap attempt to muster up scares from the audience. While some of them can be effective, there are others where they do nothing more than just become extra padding. In the third film where Dina Meyer looks into a mirror and sees Donnie Wahlberg behind her, it's for a split second, and while it does come off as cliched, it's still effective.

Here, it just seems like the makers were looking for an excuse to throw in another 3D scene, so why not have Jill Tuck in a nightie tied up in a suggestive pose? The scene comes off as lazy and cheap, especially with the disappointing "just a dream" pay-off afterwards.

Bobby's backstory

While the idea of the next contestant in a Jigsaw game being someone pretending to have been a victim in the past was an interesting one, on the other hand, it just seemed very unlikely. Granted he could fake the scars, but I found it hard to believe that nobody would have called him out on his ruse. I'm sure any police officer or investigative journalist would have uncovered the fact that he was a fake, what with an ongoing police investigation, not to mention media coverage. Personally, I found it hard to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the film, especially one as lousy as this.

Why go for Bobby now?

Granted John Kramer must have had a pretty big shit list even after his death, but while all the other major games/traps in the sequels were in some way linked to the plot, this one seemed to have no actual purpose. It may as well be on a par with the shopping mall trap. I know I had a problem with the main game/trap in the fifth film, but they did try to connect those people to Agent Strahm in the sixth one, so I was willing to let that one slide, no matter how "convenient" it may have seemed. Whereas here, it seems like nothing but something to pass the time. And while I'm on the subject.....

Maybe this story would have worked better in SAW 5 or 6

This is where I could go off on a rant about what would have worked better, and I admit, it is pretty much nitpicking. As I said, if it wasn't for the holes in logic, the story of a dishonest self help guru would have been interesting, especially as there was a scene where it featured a few of the survivors from the previous sequels.

I could go on about "what could have been", coming up with different scenarios, such as moving this story to the sixth film, and replacing the burning building five from SAW 5 with the insurance executive from SAW 6. Hell, maybe instead of the burning building five, you could have the other survivors in the support group go through another game/trap, for not moving on with their lives (from the Jigsaw point of view anyway). But of course, it's like trying to rearrange the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (no pun intended.....okay I lied).

I was going to mention a certain part of the support group scene, but I'm saving that for later.

Turret gun.....really?

With all the elaborate traps included in the SAW series, there are very few scenes where guns are used, such as the tripwire shotguns in SAW 1, and the gun attached to the peephole in SAW 2. With those scenes, at least they are basic in their function, in relation to the trap in place. But in this movie, a turret gun mows down Dick and a few police officers. I know Hoffman may be different in his approach to the games Jigsaw started, but this just comes off as stupid and pathetic.

So Dick dies, Bobby fails his final test, and Hoffman confronts Jill in the police station. And so we come to a similar scene from the beginning of the movie where Jill is running away from Hoffman, only this time she gets caught, and falls victim to the infamous bear trap. After this conclusion, one question was burning in my mind.....


Because of the similarities of the beginning and closing chase scenes between Hoffman and Jill, the events that took place in-between have been rendered pointless. It felt like the final confrontation should have been the ending of the last film, instead of an excuse to put together a shoddy, misguided sequel that lacked the excitement, suspense and writing of the films before it. The self help guru story is a good one, but it comes off as run of the mill.

When I saw this in the cinema, I was wondering how this series was actually going to end. It was after the death of Jill that, while I did get a bad feeling that they were trying to get more mileage from the series however they can, I didn't feel that the film was going to end like this.

Not to mention that there were two scenes that I made reference to without going into detail. In the cinema I questioned the inclusion of these scenes, and came to the logical conclusion. But it seemed too predictable, the writers couldn't have made it that predictable. But of course, as with every SAW movie, there is.....

The final twist

The guy that takes down Hoffman in the end, and the (possible) successor to John Kramer turns out to be.....this guy.

Before this film came out, I read somewhere that Cary Elwes was going to reappear in SAW 7 as Dr. Gordon. Which was surprising at the time, as I knew he and the producers of the SAW series had a dispute over royalties from the first film, hence why he never appeared in the sequels, not even in flashback sequences. I was more surprised by his inclusion than to even consider his role in the movie.

During the opening credits where Dr. Gordon escapes the disused bathroom from the first film, I was wondering why they were showing this scene earlier on. I had an idea.....but I thought that would be too easy of a conclusion. Then he appears in the support group acting creepy and cryptic.....which reminded me of another creepy, cryptic guy from the previous films.....but again, I thought that would be too easy to come up with that conclusion. So when the man behind the pig mask this time happened to be Dr. Gordon.....two thoughts crossed my mind.

The first one was that this was a great ending to the series. Not only was it the one character you haven't seen since the first film, but it made sense when you see how he's connected to certain parts of the entire series via flashback sequences, from the surgical procedures on Jigsaw's victims, to the secret envelopes traded between characters. It was a great way to end the series.

But then there's the second thought, which was what I said earlier in this the hell could they ruin such a great ending to the series?

The only thing that was "mind-blowing" was
the stupidity of the creators of this movie.

The twist was so obvious that even Scooby Doo and the gang could have figured it out. The inclusion of those two scenes ruined the impact of the finale. The connection Dr Gordon had to the other sequels was, if you're a fan of the series, actually quite ingenious. But it was a shame that this clever twist was wasted on the "crazy, crazy, crazy" pile of crap that came before it. And it just made me think why they should have just tacked on the last 15 minutes of this film onto SAW 6?

To top it off, it raises more questions. Is Dr. Gordon the leader now? How many people are now part of the Jigsaw gang? Who recruited them? Were they the people who set up the shopping mall game/trap at the beginning of the film? If so, wouldn't Hoffman be a bit suspicious about who was setting them up? But if it was Hoffman, how did he do it all by himself. At least with the Jigsaw gang, it makes sense because if.....


That's it, I'm done! I'm gonna wrap this up for my own sanity. This movie is a very disappointing addition to the series, which is nothing more than an attempt at a final cash-in on a movie franchise that was on its last legs. Instead of coming up with a decent script to wrap it up, it just became another cheap thrill 3D horror flick, focusing more on cartoonish effect shots than the ongoing story of the series.

This is the second time I've seen SAW 7, and this article gives you an idea why this is the only film from the SAW series that I don't own on DVD. I couldn't bring myself to pay more than a McDonalds double cheeseburger for this movie. I settled on watching it on Netflix, so unless it goes down to 2 euro in HMV next year, I'll settle for that option next Halloween.

And finally, was there ANYTHING I liked about the film?

Since there's not a lot of redeemable qualities to SAW 7, I'd have to think back to the traps/games themselves. Some were pretty good, others were passable, but the only memorable one was the KKK death scene (and yes it included Chester Bennington, but I don't hate Linkin Park, so I'm not gonna rip on him or the band as a result). Hoffman's plan to sneak into the police, while more in tone of a slasher movie, was pretty inventive, and it suited his menacing persona. And while I'm pulling at straws here, I liked this song during the end credits.

And on a final note.....

Now that I've finished reviewing films related to the horror genre, I can go back to other activities I've ignored, such as playing computer games. Before I took on this 31 day challenge, I was planning on completing this game before Halloween. I tried playing it last year, but I was stuck on one section at the very beginning, so I haven't played it since. After watching this clip, I now how to get past that part, so hopefully I'll be able to do better the second time around.

.....oh, and Happy Halloween of course.

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