Saw VII a.k.a. Saw 3D (2010)

January 27, 2011

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Cary Elwes, Sean Patrick Flanery
Director: Kevin Greutert (Saw VI)
Quick Thoughts: I’ll give the Saw franchise credit for keeping the story somewhat interesting and layered over the course of seven different films. No one is going to say these films are spectacularly written, but considering how fast they churn these things out and how weak the genre usually is when it comes to the script, I’m at least mildly impressed. One problem: even with the films coming out every year, it’s hard to remember the characters if you don’t watch the movies repeatedly (which I don’t). So when a new Saw shows flashbacks or references past events or characters, I often find myself saying “Who the fuck is this? And why do I care?” This is a flaw that ultimately comes down to character development; which is to say, outside of Jigsaw and some of the other major players, that development is pretty weak. Watching Saw VII and seeing Cary Elwes again–one of the stars of the original–made me think of what it must have been like to be a film connoisseur in the mid-80’s, watching as great films like Halloween and A Nightmare On Elm Street turned into corny franchises that almost made you forget how good the originals were. Does anyone remember the first Saw? It was actually a pretty damn good film. Cheap, with mediocre acting at best, yes, but pretty original for the genre and that ending was fantastic. Well, seven chapters deep, the Saw franchise has followed the same path. I don’t hate these movies by any means, the franchise is pretty much unmatched when it comes to creative death sequences and as I said before, the “epic” story arc is an admirable effort… but you pretty much know what you’re getting by now. Saw VII isn’t any different: some new character finds himself in a maze of death traps and must overcome whatever personal defects landed him there in order to survive. New traps and cool death scenes… that’s why we watch these movies.
Viewings: 1
Replay Value: In my childhood I was a horror film fanatic and probably would have had these movies on repeat, but I’ve never seen any Saw film more than once… and I can’t imagine myself attempting a marathon.
Sequel Potential: This was supposed to be the final chapter… you know who else had final chapters? Freddy Kruger in 1991 and Jason Vorhees in 1984… and again in 1993. Well, we had a Jason movie in 2009 and a new Freddy in 2010, so you see how reliable that is.
Oscar Potential: None.
Nudity: None. A fatal flaw in the series.
Grade: 4/10 (Netflix It)
Recommendation: If you made it this far, you might as well go for the finish. With that said, this installment is nothing special… except maybe the 3D effects and I skipped this in theaters.

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