See Saw with Alex, Day 3: Saw III

The series goes south.

Day Three: Saw III

Set six months after Saw II, Jeff (Angus Macfayden) is bereaved with the loss of his son, killed by a drunk driver. He's kidnapped and put through a battery of tests, wandering from room to room like a video game and encountering people involved with his son's death (the driver, the judge, etc). Will Jeff forgive these people for their sons and free them from their traps?

Meanwhile, Jigsaw has cancer.
If I had stopped with the first two Saws, I'd be inclined to agree with the RT commenter who objected to the series being called torture porn. While the first two are emotionally grueling, they did show a certain amount of restraint with blood and guts. Saw III, however, crosses that line into torture porn. And you bet I use the term derogatively.

Gore is a hallmark for a hard-hitting horror series like this, but this is the first Saw where a lot of it is also pointless. Early on in the movie, we see a blown-to-bits victim of the classroom trap. The series hasn't been shy about showing these victims' final minutes, but usually via flashy editing or fastforwards. Here, we get a real-time flashback of this victim's attempt to break loose from his chains, strung up like in Hellraiser. It's hard to look at, but since we already know he's not going to make it, it's also a frustrating waste of time.

Or what about the grand guignol brain operation on Jigsaw? We see the scalp get sliced open, the skull drilled (four times!) and sawed, and then a nice juicy shot of the Jigsaw's malevolent pulsating brain. But where's the terror? Where's the emotional wringing? These plain shots of gross-out prosthetics are the very definition of torture porn. And, afterwards, Jigsaw's still able to remain conscious and lecture people? He's like horror's whiny Jack Bauer.
I think Saw III is a, pardon the pun, gross overestimation of our interest in series mythology. Seeing the bathroom from Saw at the end of Saw II was pretty cool, but going back to that well again in this movie? Meh. And I actually don't really care about Amanda's transition from hipster of doom to evil apprentice. Ironically, the more backstory that gets filled in, the less compelling I find these characters.

And of all the series characters, Jeff has to be the least compelling and likable. Writer Leigh Whannel and Darren Lynn Bousman make some rather insane assumptions that Jeff's grief for his son is reason enough for him to be hesitant in saving the other victims. Yeah, right! What disgusting, malformed moralizing. Given how much goes down in this installment (Jigsaw, Amanda, and Detective Kerry, who have been in all three movies, all die), this should've been one epic movie. It's a pathetic waste that a worm like Jeff gets to deliver the killing blow to Jigsaw.

Well, whatever. If this weren't a job, I'd have turned this one off.
Body count:

Most inventive trap: I didn't like any of these traps, though the pig carcass one is sort of funny. How much disposable income does John Kramer have? Is he CFO of Wayne Industries or something?

Stupid person in a horror movie moment: Every scene with Jeff. Every scene with the annoying, bad actress doctor. Wait, that's the whole movie.

See Saw schedule:
  • Day 1 (10/15): Saw (2004)
  • Day 2 (10/16): Saw II (2005)
  • Day 3 (10/19): Saw III (2006)
  • Day 4 (10/20): Saw IV (2007)
  • Day 5 (10/21): Saw V (2008)
  • Day 6 (10/23): Saw VI (2009)



Rick V

If you can believe it, it gets worse again from here... and then worse again...

Oct 19 - 07:39 PM

Ryan T.

Ryan Taplin

Oh Yes...It Will Get Worse.

Oct 19 - 07:49 PM


Greg Guro

For me, this was the worst one. I couldn't believe how bad the lighting was. . . or the acting. . . or logic. . .and that "twist?"


Oct 19 - 07:50 PM


Pat Bales

This one's my least favorite, and the fourth one isn't much better.

Oct 19 - 07:54 PM


Dudley Heffington

my least favorite saw film... that and 4. i didnt even see 5 but 1 and 2 were excellent in my opinion, especially 1

Oct 19 - 07:54 PM


Peter Lawson

Yeah, Saw III was the one where there were certain times when what was on the screen was just disgusting. Donnie Wahlberg smashing his foot comes to mind. Not scary, just gross. It was kinda cool seeing jigsaw cop it in this one though.

And yeah, I'd say that saw 4 is definately a worse movie then 3. Worst supposed "twist" ever. However, the autopsy-cassete tape trailer for it, while being exploitive and all, was pretty great.

Saw 5 was probably better then 3 and 4 because I no longer cared about the story, characters or quality of the series and just enjoyed the goofy traps. I'm sure saw 6 will be the same.

Oct 19 - 08:23 PM

Jon C.

Jon Cox

Saw III should have wrapped everything up
Amanda's backstory was meh, for some reason the movie felt like a shell of the 1st two
how the director and writers chose to do a 'solo' movie (by that I mean focusing on just one person and not all the people)such as Jeff still gets me
I'd really like to see Jigsaw take the world by storm, somehow devise a way to entrap every person in the world in traps
one thing's for sure Im a sucker for the gore and torture scenes

bottom line: Jigsaw dies = END OF SERIES!!!!

Oct 19 - 08:30 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

About to start part 4. Can't be worse than 3. IT JUST CAN'T

Oct 19 - 08:37 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Yeah, just keep telling yourself that.

Oct 19 - 09:06 PM

Ryan T.

Ryan Taplin

Yeah, I'm sorry to say...compared to 'Saw IV' and 'Saw V', 'Saw III' is a masterpiece. I'm sorry :/ !

Oct 20 - 08:31 AM


Greg Guro

One thing is for certain though. . .

Shawnee Smith is a hottie! Always has been!

I don't care if she's wearing a reverse bear trap, I'd still . . . well, ya know.

Oct 19 - 08:38 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

I really hated her long hair in 3. Also, her performance was terrible and uninvolving.

Loved the short hair from part 2 though. She looked like Alice Glass from Crystal Castles.

Oct 19 - 11:38 PM

Steve R.

Jared Ashkenaz

This is hypothetical; won't happen, but I think it'd be really funny if Saw 6 was good. Like what if they just somehow did it differently and it's the best in the franchise, and critics liked it ok and it got like 60% on the Meter or something. I mean when has a 6th installment ever been decent, let alone good, especially considering it's the Saw franchise?

Again, won't happen, but it'd be pretty bizarre if it did.

Oct 19 - 08:49 PM


Link O'Fett

Well, Half-Blood Prince was a good movie, and my second favorite HP film. And Revenge of the Sith is also very good (I consider it installment six of course). But yeah, that would be funny if Saw VI was good. I'm still not going to it though.

Oct 19 - 09:54 PM


Nick Brush

Friday the 13th sixth movie was one of the best in the series. Part 1 was clearly the best, but 2-5 sucked big time. Part six was comic booky, but was dark, entertaining ... ya

Oct 20 - 06:01 AM


Rachel Leigh

hey, now...

Revenge of the Sith?

Oct 20 - 12:16 PM

inactive user

Jared King

Yeah, just keep telling yourself that.

Oct 19 - 09:06 PM


Link O'Fett

Well, Half-Blood Prince was a good movie, and my second favorite HP film. And Revenge of the Sith is also very good (I consider it installment six of course). But yeah, that would be funny if Saw VI was good. I'm still not going to it though.

Oct 19 - 09:54 PM

Brian R.

Brian Rokosz

idk what ur talking about Alex...i guess these movies aren't your thing but you sounded like a typical basher just now...if you see the transformation Amanda went through it is interesting to see how much pain she is in when Jigsaw is going through surgery/seizures only to flip on him and go into revenge mode when she learns of her fate....the first 15 minutes with the classroom kill has a small cameo in 4 and trust me when i say the death of kerry is for a reason, besides the obvious Amanda story. The gore in this film is hard to take upon the first viewing and don't expect it to get any easier but i hate that people call it porn. Despite what some believe the fans of the series do not pay 10 bucks to go and see what someone's insides look like, I love the idea that someone near death could feel so strongly that they are right when they do these things to's Jigsaw's mentality that get me to see these movies, due to increasing interest in the fact that all of us have that limit where we could very well do what jigsaw does. The brain surgery is completely surviveable and he would have gotten his motor skills increased at the end of it, this has been verified by doctors on numerous websites and i think even one of the commentaries, as well as my dad who is a brain surgeon...if your son died would you help those people or would you do what Jeff did? Think about it before you answer because you have never been pushed to what that character went through...these movies provide an underlying interest in family values and cherishing your life, which is a lesson most people should learn....

while I did not like 3 as much as 2 the first time or even 2nd, after the viewing of 4 it grew on one here expects you to like these movies and become a fan of them, but some people like me watch these for very different reasons than you are stating.

Oct 19 - 10:09 PM


Derek Meadors

Well, I HAVE had a family member brutally murdered, and I can say that I still obtained a respect for human life. I would certainly help someone who's life was in danger even though I'd lost someone close to me because I wouldn't want their family going through what I was. Now, everyone is different, and they will all act differently under distress, but I'd hope most people would think like Alex in that they would still care about human life rather than thinking they'd only selfishly care about themselves. Watching someone die in real life is not fun like it's sometimes portrayed in the movies.

Oct 20 - 02:06 AM


Tom Browning

Sorry to hear about your lose Bats. I feel like a real ****-heel bringing this up but, since you mentioned it on a message board, I gotta ask... would you help the people responsible for your the death of your loved one? I mean, I wouldn't want to watch someone die for nothing either but, if they took the life of someone I cared about, I might make an exception. Peace.

Oct 21 - 10:40 AM


First Last

I had a hard time finishing this one. Not because of gore or anything like that, but due to questionable acting. Jeff walks from one torture scenario to the next and no matter what, spends all of the time jigsaw aloted freaking out. How about attempting to free them? Drove me bonkers. It is hard to sympathize with a total idiot.

That being said, 3 is totally watchable compared to 4. Remember that 4 requires you have 3 memorized.

Oct 19 - 10:15 PM

Brian R.

Brian Rokosz

on a side note, i thought Jeff was one of the better actors in any SAW movie, outdoing Cary, Danny, and at times even Donnie and Kerry......I dated a girl who's younger brother died on the night of her homecoming, the parents took the news exactly how Jeff reacts the first time you see him at his home...they became suicidal and kept the son's room exactly how he had it the night of his death, making sure the bed was made and things were dusted...when my gf showed me his room her parents were furious, noticing instantly that a controller for his N64 was out of place, much like Jeff was angry at his daughter for taking the stuffed animal...eventually they learned to forgive and didn't let their marriage go to waste like the chracters in this movie. They are SAW fans. 3 was their least favorite because of it's realistic portrayal of a grieving family...her dad even said he wasn't sure if he'd let timothy live and for sure would have shot not trying to convince you to like something cuz thats impossible, but for me at least, the acting and thought behind this story was well told.

Oct 19 - 10:21 PM


Edgar Gonzalez

I loved your writing here. You pretty much summed up how I feel about this franchise. There is no terror in many of the scenes. It's just senseless and gruesome violence that has no purpose. The first 2 Saw films were okay, but this is where it started getting pretty bad. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement that putting more back story into these characters makes me less interested in them. **** Saw. The true horror movies are films like The Shining, The Exorcist, Jacob's Ladder, The Descent, and Se7en.

Oct 19 - 10:35 PM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

I really hated her long hair in 3. Also, her performance was terrible and uninvolving.

Loved the short hair from part 2 though. She looked like Alice Glass from Crystal Castles.

Oct 19 - 11:38 PM


Shane Reynolds

I find myself annoyed with the way the series went because of one major reason. Jigsaw is not just some crazy dude killing people. He has a lame message that I think takes away from the main focus which should have been the situations these people were in.
The other main problem is all of a sudden people what to help this insane killer. Why? There is no reason anyone would do that, he is crazy and does horrifying things to people. Any time a movie decides as part of the twist it needs to have other people in on it, it really hampers the film.

Oct 20 - 12:03 AM


Shane Reynolds

Sorry, I guess I gave two reasons.

Oct 20 - 12:04 AM

Max K.

Max Karson

"I didn't like any of these traps."

"Every scene with Jeff."

Come on, Alex. Don't be lazy.

The problem with these series is that anyone who would even remotely enjoy the series would have already seen most of them. And if you like movies, and you haven't seen any Saws, you're avoiding them--they're all box office hits.

So we're getting a review of all the Saw movies from someone who can't possibly enjoy them.

But that's okay. I like Saw. For the same reason I like these reviews.

I like to watch people squirm.

Oct 20 - 12:46 AM

Alex Vo

Alex Vo

Not sure what you're talking about. I clearly stated in my interpretations of Saw 1 and 2 that I enjoyed them. I'm not going to get into the argument of whether this movie is more morally bankrupt than the others, but at least the first two had the decency to be well made and well plotted.

Oct 20 - 11:17 AM

King Thor

Chris Kalmin

The average box office for the first 5 saw films is $68 million. I'm not sure I would call that box office hits. Maybe you think so because they are made for such little money? Yeah I guess they are hits in that sense. The box office has been steadily declining for each movie since Saw 2, and there is no reason to suspect otherwise for Saw 6. People are obviously getting tired with Saw.

Oct 20 - 11:51 AM

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