Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Saw 3D

It hardly came as a surprise to the tribe when it was announced the inevitable SAW VII was to be filmed in 3D - perhaps a move that would hopefully make us less desensitized to the now repetitious ‘traps’ percolating through one of the most lucrative horror franchises of all time. Dealing with yet another mind-numbing circuitous plot might be worth it to see what story-board designers could envisage trying to hang ropey intestines and viscera all over a viewer’s 3D glasses.

We open with the usual fare, and at first it seemed SAW 3D was vying into new territory … more darkly comical and conceivably something like the last Final Destination whereby it moves in self-parody or satire. That notion is quelled in a hurry as we realize that what’s on offer is yet another unbroken continuation of the Jigsaw mythology … now a Russian doll tale that is a jigsaw within itself.

Bobby Dagan (Sean Patrick Flanery looking a little worse for wear) is a ‘Jigsaw survivor’ who has become a small celebrity by writing a book and doing the talk-show route detailing his experiences. He even holds morbid meetings not unlike AA whereby other survivors band together to give their take on the pitfalls and/or liberating effects of being unwilling participants in the serial killers game. Subsequently, he and his associates are abducted by Jigsaw’s newest torch-bearer Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), and off we go on another merry-go-round of torture-porn.

The celebrity angle was a good one - and all the components were there to elevate Saw 3D into a suspenseful climax that might hopefully bring closure or possibly a deus ex machina to round off the legacy. Sadly, something is lacking, and I found the previous plot-device of a medical insurance corporation much more appealing than this often bloated and imitating work. Of course, we probably threw out ‘could this really happen?’ about four films ago and can happily suspend disbelief for the sake of cinema. But somehow this didn’t work here, and the elaborate processes to set such a series of events in motion delve into the land of pure fantasy.

With the conclusion on the horizon, the writer's had an opportunity here to tap into an emotional element, but what what's on offer is more of a jazzed-up musical score overlapping an excursion that still feels like a two-hour music video. (Saw VII actually contains a cameo by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington). The inevitable twist is somewhat compelling, almost like SAW’s greatest hits containing a hidden bonus track from the first film made by two Melbourne boys all those years ago. But regrettably, this is not the finale the franchise probably deserves.