Horror films have gone through many changes over the decades. The 1930s saw the classic Universal Monster movies, the 1950s focused on cold war paranoia and atomic monsters and the 1980s predominantly produced slasher films. The 2000s introduced a new sub genre to horror. The torture porn. These films predominantly focused on psychopaths torturing their victims in outlandish, elaborate and grotesque ways.
This genre isn’t necessarily new. And early example can be seen as far back as 1935 with Universal’s The Raven, where Bela Lugosi gleefully subjects his victims to torture devices inspired by the works of Poe. It was popularised, however, by the Saw series, with its use of overt gore and iconic villain, Jigsaw. Whilst the first Saw film is not a masterpiece by any standard, it isn’t terrible either. It is a watchable horror movie. The same cannot be said for Saw 3.
Saw 3 continues directly after the events of Saw 2, where Eric Matthews, still trapped in the bathroom, escapes from his shackles by breaking his foot. From here, the film cuts to an investigation of a Jigsaw like murder, where the victim was shackled to chains, yet could not escape because the door was sealed. The detective investigating it, Allison Kerry, is also killed whilst investigating it.
…placed in elaborate death machines…
The plot of the film then shifts to a suicidal doctor, Lynn Denlon, who is kidnapped by Amanda Young to try and save John Kramer/Jigsaw from a brain tumor, whilst he in turn is playing a game with Jeff, who is vengeful after his son was hit by a car. Jigsaw tests him by having the people involved in Jeff’s son’s death placed in elaborate death machines.
Even though the film’s plot seems complex, it still just followed the same formula as the other Saw films. In fact the “complexity” of the plot hinders the film as the execution is poor. The way it was handled made some scenes, particularly the opening, quite jarring and confusing to watch.
…with no interesting quirks or traits to make them believable or likable…
The characters in the film were two dimensional, with no interesting quirks or traits to make them believable or likable. There was no emotional connection with them and as a result I didn’t care what happened to them. Back story is spoon fed to the audience to try and make them believable, yet in the end it’s just unnecessary exposition which comes across as forced.
The cinematography began to irritate me too. There were many ‘artsy’ shots in the film where the footage goes from slow motion to fast motion which generated little to no meaning in the scenes. The device was literally abused throughout the film, much like the use of flashbacks. I could not count how many flashbacks there were in Saw 3. Some sequences even showed the behind the scenes of what occurred during the first Saw movie, which did nothing for the plot of this film. By the end of the film, when all the clues were pieced together, I could not help but think that I was watching a bad episode of a crime television series.
…It is refreshing to see a modern film that uses prosthetic effects…
The one positive aspect of Saw 3 was the use of practical effects, which are brilliant. It is refreshing to see a modern film that uses prosthetic effects rather than relying on CGI to create its effects.
Saw 3 is just a generic, mundane, run of the mill torture porn film that has very little going for it. There was no tension in the film or any edge of your seat moments. It was a chore to watch.