‘Saw’ seen before

By Stacie Wieland

At the end of “Saw II”, audiences were left seeing John, aka “Jigsaw” (Tobin Bell) — the mastermind behind a series of twisted deaths that have baffled authorities — on the verge of his own demise. In “Saw III”, his condition has deteriorated to the point that he is bedridden with only drugs and machines to keep him alive. But that doesn’t mean Jigsaw is through playing his games — Amanda (Shawnee Smith), once his victim and now his student, carries on his tradition of torture.

Jeff (Angus MacFadyen), in mourning over the untimely death of his son, is completely blinded by the need for revenge — which makes him the perfect target. One night, he awakes to find himself already inside Jigsaw’s game. If Jeff makes it through each trial, he will come face-to-face with what he’s been longing for — his son’s killer.

Enter Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh), a doctor who has treated Jigsaw in the past. She has been kidnapped in order to keep the ailing John alive for as long as it takes Jeff to finish his game. If John dies, Dr. Lynn dies, too.

Let the gore begin.

Anyone familiar with the first two movies should know, to a degree, exactly what they’re walking into with “Saw III”: blood, pain, gross-out sequences and grotesque creativity. However, this installment strays from the formula that made the first two instant classics.

In the previous films, Jigsaw’s perverse games took center stage, and the players involved were the main focus. “Saw III” takes an alternate and very interesting route. In this movie, the audience is taken behind the scenes for a closer look at John and Amanda’s strange relationship and the games they play. Done any other way, this could have spelled disaster. But Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the people who began this horror story two years ago, were able to pull it off in a way that will make you gasp.

While some series of horror movies require only a vague knowledge of the story’s origins, one should definitely take the time to watch the first two films in order to fully appreciate “Saw III”. Flashback sequences are sprinkled generously throughout, to reveal certain details that had previously remained a mystery.

Despite being a bit slow at times, “III” does not disappoint. It’s suspenseful, disgusting, mesmerizing, painful and horrifying.