Now in crappy 3D.
After the tepid success of Saw VI, producers seemed to realize that this franchise was out of gas. The weird thing is that the sixth entry isn’t as good as the others, but the formula has more or less remained the same since the second entry. I wonder what caused people to finally just get tired of it this time around.
The logic of these films has been on the nose for a while, but we should remember this last one as the moment when all logic went out the window. The film opens with the most comically ridiculous trap in the entire series as three idiots in a love triangle must decide which one to kill. The two bros decide the girl who is manipulating them should be the one to go in a public execution via saw blade. The public aspect of this breaks the entire atmosphere of the series. Mind you, this is like five minutes into the film.
The effects have always been on the better side of okay in this series. I think the darkened interiors and heavy use of shadow allowed the violence to seem a bit more brutal. In the brightened settings the flaws shine through a bit more, and while we might argue this is the reason, it seems the team no longer cared as much. Each trap becomes more cartoonish than the last.
How the series ends and how it should have ended are two vastly different things. Further, the next entry exists now, so the whole final chapter tagline is more or less crap. Even before Jigsaw released, the open-ended ending here is more insulting more than interesting.
Anyway, I suppose I should actually talk about the film. We have perhaps the most jagged and disorganized entry in the series. We have the Hoffman/Jill fight and investigation, random killings, and a new wrinkle: Bobby (Sean Patrick Flannery), who claims to have survived an attack by Jigsaw, but is lying. Let’s go ahead and ignore how hard this would be to pull off given evidence and proof and all that other shit. We also have the return of Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes), which should indicate an improvement in the story, but it doesn’t. Gordon is stiff, cold, and distant in every scene. Further, he isn’t given nearly enough screen time to have a profound impact on the story.
We might have the goriest entry of the series, but once again it is hard to give a shit about any of the characters. It is obvious too quickly that Bobby is a fraud, and most of the other victims are glossed over too quickly, or targeted for reprehensible behavior. Sure, we get to see a group of racists get broken into pieces, but is this entertaining? I found myself bored with this film too quick.
One thing we can all wonder is how pissed Sean Patrick Flannery is that he gets cast in this crap while his Boondock Saints costar Norman Reedus seems to be on top of the world. Some of you might say that was in poor taste, but it is odd to see Flannery stuck in these roles. I do believe he gave this one his all, but the whole meta-commentary on how he is acting on film (a film within a film!) makes everything he does seem too stiff. We don’t get to know him well enough to really root for him, but his crime isn’t bad enough to really root against him, either. Sure, he’s a fraud—so what? Last film we watched people who gleefully denied health coverage to others get punished and even that seemed a stretch for the series.
A narrative flaw is highlighted here. We have a large emphasis on the survivors of Jigsaw, but there aren’t many. I didn’t recognize most at the support group meeting, and this makes you wonder if his whole shtick about helping people was just garbage (hint: it was). The film still struggles with the original idea of hurting people to make them appreciate life. Now it is just pure punishment. You could argue with me that this is difference between Kramer and Hoffman, but is it? This has been a problem for a while in this series.
Perhaps worse than the lingering narrative issues is that this one just looks worse than the others. The grainy green light is still there, but everything has a weird glow to it this time. In a weird way it almost like the film looks tired. I am tired of these films. I think they had some good ideas, but the yearly release schedule was going to cause a drop in quality. I still have to applaud this series for keeping it together a lot better than other franchises we’ve reviewed here.
So, yeah, this film sucks. It is rushed, ugly, and pointless. I was tired of the Hoffman and Jill feud, but the ham fisted way it is wrapped up isn’t satisfying. Nothing in the film provides enough of a sense of mystery or excitement to overcome issues that have been bubbling under the surface for years. Everything wrong with the entire series in one nice little package for us to sleepily watch.
Can’t wait for the next one. 3/10.