Reviewed on October 31st, 2010
By Jigsaw (contributor) & filed in the Movie Reviews vault
"We all go a little mad sometimes"
“You’re crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy”
I’ve dedicated a lot of time to the Saw franchise. I have watched all six entries released thus far multiple times. I have sat through two seasons of Scream Queens (the second season was a true test of endurance) as well as two shoddy video games. After a complete trouncing at the box office by last year’s Paranormal Activity it was announced Saw VII would be the last (in 3D no less). To say I was a tad excited would be understating it and what I hadn’t noticed once the credits had begun was that this last entry was to affect my Fandom to Saw more than any other movie.
Let’s get the formalities out of the way first, the main bulk of this review may descend into bit of a rant about the franchise in general so expect spoilers about any film that has come before this. Any areas that contain spoilers about Saw 3D will be bookended with spoiler warnings. So let the games begin.
Saw VII is not the worst film in the franchise but it’s a decidedly average affair. For a final entry it’s a rather lacklustre affair. Carrying on where the last entry ended the film sets up a battle between Jill and Hoffman that really doesn’t take up much screen time. The main focus is upon Bobby who made a fortune by pretending he was a survivor of Jigsaw. No sooner can you say predictable he finds himself at the centre of the Jigsaw Killers “final game”.
As I said before I as a huge fan so I follow all the information that comes out when a new Saw film begins filming. As most know the franchise was to be broken down into 3 sections the first trilogy (John Krammer as Jigsaw), a second trilogy (About who was his successor) and two final films to end it. That means there were plans for 8 movies. Saw VII was more than likely already being written when the decision was made to make it the last. Due to this it feels as though two movies have been slapped together the story of Bobby really has nothing to do with Jigsaws legacy and the film doesn’t feel like a finale until the last ten minutes. It would have been better if those last ten minutes had been the focal point as the rest feels rather flat.
The main game is an actual disappointment on multiple levels. The reason for his capture really doesn’t make a lot of sense. In John Krammers one and only scene (which makes this his smallest screentime ever including the original film) he questions Bobby and the fact that he is lying about being a victim. This makes the whole final game seem like revenge but that’s seems rather petty for someone with Jigsaws moral outlook on life. Was the whole point of the games not to make people appreciate life, Bobby may have lied but his life is better for it, he has a new wife, money and he looks genuinely happy. On top of this he is spreading Jigsaws message without the need of mutilating people. You think they’d be happy.
This film has the most number of traps in any of the movies and to be honest all but two are crap (the car and throat trap). The reason they don’t work have more to do with the reasoning behind everything. The first Saw had people neglecting their families, Part two had drug dealers and prostitutes, three had people involved in the death of a child, five people involved in a arson attack, six had an insurance scam. But in part six everyone is innocent. Aside from a couple of racists in one trap no one deserves death, one speaks to much, his lawyer spread his lies, His friend kept his secrets. Hes not a kiddie fiddler people he wrote a dam book.
But the most evil scene SPOILER WARNING is in his final test he causes his wife to be burned alive. This almost ruined it for me, what bollocks is that. She had no knowledge of his lies she is the most innocent. In the last movie on tape Jigsaw actually apologises to the family who were abducted as they were innocent and here we are one year later and the complete opposite happens. SPOILERS END
This one won’t take much time as it’s not worth the effort. The cast in this film are absolute shite. They give the worst performances ever the audience I saw this with were constantly laughing at the terrible dialogue and the terrible delivery. The quote at the top of this review is my absolute favourite.
The 3D sucked in a way I didn’t think possible. The producers of Saw wanted us to know the effect was implemented properly by letting us know that it was filmed with state of the art technology (and not converted later like a lot of the crap 3D out there). My question is where was it? The initial titles were in 3D and then it just disappeared, I think there were 3 scenes that used it with a CGI blood effect or poking a gun at the camera. The tickets price was not worth it. One other side effect of the 3D was in certain scenes portions of the screen were out of focus, I have finally experienced suffering at the hands of Jigsaw.
From here on out I am going into MAJOR SPOILERS that reveal the films ending and other points that you should skip if you haven’t seen the film. For my rating skip to the last paragraph SPOILERS BEGIN.
Saw VI should have been the final entry in the franchise it brought John Krammer front and centre in a game that was exciting and fun. Not only that but it would have been perfect if Hoffman had died in the final scene (the head trap) as it would of put an end to the apprentices. Hoffman becomes the Terminator in this film so much so that every single person in this film ends up dead by the movies climax, no one escapes any of the traps, the police are murdered one by one and to cap it all Jill is murdered twice. Yeah we get dream sequences.
I wouldn’t of minded but her character is completely destroyed in this film, we’ve never had a true grasp of who Jill was in the prior films, good, bad , neutral but she ended VI as a bad arse. In this film she spends it running, crying and whimpering before she’s eventually dispatched. What a waste.
Now to the twist which at first I thought was kind of cool. Its predictable and telegraphed from the opening scene. It was no secret that Dr. Gordon (Carly Elwes) was returning, his casting spread the internet and he was a prominent figure in the trailers. His part is no more than a cameo appearance in one scene where he acts completely out of character. As an audience you know there is more going on but his failure to reappear throughout the film you know he is going to reappear at the climax of the film with a bit of deduction you knew exactly what it was. Dr. Gordon is another one of Jigsaw’s apprentices.
When it happens its exciting, Hoffman has basically won but this being the final film he has to get his comeuppance. Dr.Gordon kidnaps Hoffman and traps him in the bathroom that the original Saw took place in. Uttering the immortal line Game Over it’s the perfect place to end the series. On further reflection the ending seems somewhat illogical and pathetic.
We get a few flashbacks to show how Dr. Gordon had helped out over the years, basically all the surgery (key behind the eye etc.) and how the games couldn’t of continued without him. This is ridiculous why would Dr Gordon decide to help Jigsaw, after all the torture he had gone through. Jigsaw had hired Zepp to execute both his wife and daughter it was the reason he cut off his foot. This was not a ruse by John Krammer it was through pure coincidence that they survived. Dr.Gordon at no point showed any sympathy to Jigsaws cause and unlike characters in later films we really got to spend time with him and learn about his character.
This revelation also ruins another film for me which is part three. The main game in Saw III was that John was dying and needed surgery so they kidnapped a doctor to perform. In VII it’s revealed that Dr. Gordon picked the doctor for him. Why? Not only has Lawrence Gordon been performing all the operations but he was Johns Doctor treating him for his tumour. The mythology of the franchise was fragile at best but all the retcons have finally taken its toll. The Saw franchise doesn’t make sense.
There is one more problem with the films conclusion. This is not the final film. Hoffman is still alive, Dr. Gordon is still alive, the legacy continues. Are we supposed to believe that Hoffman cannot escape after all he has already done. Clearly Lawrence Gordon’s involvement needs to be fleshed out more and who were his two mysterious apprentices. I have come to the conclusion that Horror films lie to us.
Although it seems I hated this film I didn’t, while I was watching it it was indeed fun but its defiantly a group experience. The reactions of the audience were great and it was fun laughing and cringing at scenes. With this you don’t focus too much on the problematic story and bad acting. The film is good for watching once but it has done more harm than good. If there is another film I know I’ll go and see it but not with the anticipation that I used to. Every Halloween I have a marathon of the Saw films but no more, I will take the films for what they really are, through away pulp. 4/10
Had the longest pre-production schedule of any Saw film (crap 3D bumps up the process)
Tobin Bell worked with the writers to hone his character (why he wasn’t in the film)
Gabby West won her role in this film through Scream Queens, just like Tanedra Howard did in Saw VI (pointless role, she screams and dies season 2 was a waste of air time)
Director: Kevin Greutert
Screenplay: Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston
Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Tanedra Howard, Betsy Russell, Carey Elwes
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