In this, the supposed final chapter of the long-running Saw franchise, Jigsaw's widow, Jill, has gone to the police and exposed her late husband's accomplice/successor. He's a crooked cop named Mark Hoffman who would just love to kill Jill and anyone else he can stab, torture, mutilate, blow up or strangle along the way.
Bent on preserving Jigsaw's legacy of brutally twisted "educational" traps, Hoffman zeros in on Bobby Dagen, a man who's making a small mint in book and speaking revenues by lying about surviving one of Jigsaw's torturous attacks. In order to make Bobby "earn" his story and "learn" a few lessons, Hoffman puts him through a series of gruesome and violent tests. And Bobby's wife, best friend, publicist and lawyer are all in mortal jeopardy as Dagen struggles to set them free from the malicious snares Hoffman's cooked up.
Meanwhile, police detective Gibson is hot on the killer's trail. He's also trying to protect Jill and find Dagen. Will Jill live? Will Bobby pass the tests and save his entourage? Will the late Jigsaw have yet another cameo?
I beg of you, don't watch Saw 3D to find out.
True to Jigsaw's perverse MO, Hoffman's traps are designed to speak to the victims' sins and "own doing" in order to teach them life lessons—were they to live long enough to actually benefit from them. Of course, most of our Saw reviews mention this small detail in one way or another, and I'm actually quite glad that this will be the last time, because it's not really very much of a positive element, is it? Even the scriptwriter seems to agree with me. Dr. Gordon, a recurring character and survivor, comments that finding anything positive in such suffering is remarkable, "if not a little perverse." And in Bobby's case, this time around his wife and friends are merely there as bait to be sacrificed, not to be "taught."
Bobby does try to save his loved ones, putting himself in harm's way to do so. The few who have managed to survive Jigsaw's no-win-situation traps form a support group.
A couple of people talk about a desire to live growing in their souls.
A woman's bra and lots of skin show as she hangs from a harness. In a nightmare, another woman's body is pulverized by a saw, causing her breasts to be exposed as clothing is ripped from her torso.
It's hard to know where to begin with unchecked gore—especially when it flies at the audience thanks to the wonders of 3-D. Hard, but not impossible: A woman's face and throat are ripped off by a barbed, spring-loaded trap. We see into her still quivering esophagus. Hoffman's lips and cheek are torn by the same device; he stoically stitches them back together, and we're "treated" to a close-up of the needle and thread as they penetrate his flesh.
Two men are shackled to saws, with their mutual girlfriend hanging in between them over a larger blade. They decide to spare their own lives by sacrificing the unfaithful woman, who is graphically sawn in two. As the blade cuts through her, she screams (and screams and screams) as her blood spatters the men and her intestines slide to the ground.
Another elaborately grotesque trap involves four people, one of whom is superglued to the seat of a car that will soon fall from a jack, accelerate and kill his three friends. If he can rip his back from the seat and reach a lever to stop the car, he's told he can save them. He cannot, of course, and his flesh is torn apart in his attempt. One of the tires falls on a woman's face, shredding it and the rest of her body as the car speeds off. A man's jaw and arms are attached to the car by hooks—and ripped from his body when the vehicle speeds into the fourth man, who is shackled to a wall. Blood and body parts fly. When asked how many victims there are at the crime scene, a cop says, "Enough pieces to make four."
A woman's eyes and mouth are savagely gouged by spikes when Bobby cannot save her from a trap. He must pull a fishhook from another woman's stomach, ripping her throat in the process—evident by the mound of flesh he heaves out of her mouth. Bobby must pull two of his teeth in order to find a lock's combination. He twists pliers in anguish, ripping his mouth, causing blood to pour from the wounds. We hear his jaw crunch. In order to reach and save his wife, Bobby pierces his pectoral muscles with large hooks and miserably hoists himself up with chains. Eventually, his chest rips apart and he falls to the floor in a pool of blood.
Hoffman repeatedly bashes Jill's face into a table. He also stabs two coroners and multiple policemen in the neck. A man cauterizes the stump of his freshly amputated foot by holding it against a hot pipe—his suffering obvious. Various corpses are seen in diverse states of decay and dismemberment. People are also shot and graphically burned to death. A man's eyelids are shown sewn shut.
Drug and Alcohol Content
A burned and dismembered corpse on an autopsy table is said to be the result of smoking a cigarette at a gas station.
Jigsaw actually died in Saw III, but he still lives on four movies later. Betsy Russell, who plays Jill, believes it's the mind games and "lessons" he's so fond of that keep fans coming back for more. She told the Los Angeles Times, "I completely believe that the Saw movies do have heart and soul and morals and values. I know it sounds crazy, but John Kramer [Jigsaw] isn't putting people that do great things for society into these traps. He's putting people that are doing what he deems to be wrong things in their lives [into the traps]. Basically … he's asking them 'What is your choice going to be now to make things right? Will you make the right choice, or will you continue to follow the path of evil?'"
She's telling us we're supposed to empathize with Hoffman and Jigsaw, and understand the "good" reasons behind their killing sprees. After all, they only kill bad people! In reality, however, any so-called lessons dealt by these serial murderers are themselves evil at best, devised by human beings—if they can be called that—with no more moral authority than a jackal.
It seems more likely, actually, that many fans are filling seats simply to see vigilante "justice" and how many ways body parts can be severed, ripped, sliced and mashed. And with this, the last Saw film (we can only hope), it's as Metromix critic Geoff Berkshire writes, "Saw goes down in history as the most unnecessarily convoluted horror franchise of all time, and that's the nicest thing you can say about it."