Bedridden and knocking on death's door, thanks to an inoperable brain tumor, Jigsaw can't help but engage in his favorite hobby; teaching people lessons by forcing them to make treacherous decisions in dire predicaments. Apparently picking up where part II ended (I haven’t seen part 2 yet, I know, I know, shut up), SAW III begins nastily. A woman is dangling from a ceiling with a bear trap-like device wired to both sides of her ribcage. Time is limited and if she doesn’t free herself quickly the trap will be sprung and her ribcage will be separated like an oyster being opened by an obese man with the munchies. There is a key to her salvation, however, and it’s dangling right in front of her. The catch? It’s sitting at the bottom of a large jar of acid. All she has to do is reach in and grab it. What will she do? What will she do? And so begins another shocking and gripping installment of the brutal Saw franchise. This time Jeff, a father who has been unable to move past his son’s death by a drunk driver, is placed in a twisted, Jigsaw maze which requires Jeff to pass a series of increasingly gruesome tasks in order to be given his ultimate wish, access to the man who killed his son. Meanwhile Jigsaw is being kept alive by a brilliant, but troubled doctor he arranged to have kidnapped. Why is she willing to help him? Her motivation is easily explained. As a life insurance policy for Jigsaw, she is wearing a bullet-laden color around her neck which will fire off if he flatlines.
Wow, these SAW films are something else! Released exactly one year after SAW II, I am happy to report, despite my skepticism over such a quickly produced production, the SAW franchise is alive and doing quite well. I remember being disappointed in the original because there were not enough “puzzles” given the intriguing premise. SAW III more than makes up for that by having 2 predicament storylines occurring concurrently. With recent films such as The Hills Have Eyes remake, Hostel, Wolf Creek, and Texas Chainsaw: The Beginning, I continue to be amazed by what filmmakers are getting away with. The gore content is all of the films mentioned is quite high, and SAW III is no exception. Even my buddy Whirlygirl, who had thus far impressed me with her ironclad stomach, looked away while gratuitous brain surgery was being performed on Jigsaw (I must admit, it was pretty appalling). Another nifty aspect to these SAW films is the “twist” endings. SAW III not only makes you rethink the events of the first 2 films, but it also ends on a dire note, setting the stage for a SAW IV, if someone can get out of the corner that director Darren Lynn Bousman painted the franchise into.