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Film Four Stars

Having just seen Saw II prior to this film I was at a distinct advantage, for Saw III does something that I love in the sequel business, it picks up immediately where the previous film left off, and with that we're straight in the thick of things. A knowing smile came across my face as we met the familiar character in familiar surroundings and we began our incredibly tough journey.

Without going into Saw II too much, that can be left for the review of the DVD I saw, I felt it lost site of what Saw was all about, the clever traps that gave the victim a choice, forcing them to look at their lives and what they had done, and gave them a chance.

In Saw II this seemed to fall by the wayside. The traps were clever but they didn't seem to have any strong basis on the person, they were just traps that would kill them. There seemed to be no real purpose. Only the plot arching main trap carried this and the misdirection's were weak and flimsy.

So in Saw III I was delighted to see a return to form for the series, and not only that but it raised the stakes and the horror.

SawIII.jpgThanks again to Edinburgh's Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema for helping me review these films. I haven't partaken of their hospitality of late but I do intend to change that and try and bring you more reviews before or on release day. So big thanks to them, their hotdogs, and on occasion, their B&J;'s ice cream - Chocolate fudge brownie and Cookie dough please.

From the outset we're treated to some brutal scenes, but nothing is ever too in your face, the filmmakers have been very clever to make these scenes incredibly uncomfortable for you rather than just pour in blood and gore. They've picked on particular situations and actions that really do get inside your head and make you squirm. I loved it for that.

It's rare that I feel uncomfortable at films, sure I've seen repulsive things, I've been scared, but it's rare to find a film that continually makes you feel uncomfortable. Saw III does this in almost every situation it presents.

I found myself grinning at key points in the film because I was surprised (and in a perverse way happy) that the situations, traps and some of the visuals were making me feel so uncomfortable. I know it sounds slightly odd, and I am a well balanced person, but there is a little bit of pleasure when a film affects you in ways that you thought you couldn't be after seeing so many similar movies press the same buttons again and again.

The film is about the return of the killer Jigsaw and his fiendishly clever traps that will give people the choice of redemption or death. However things aren't going entirely well for Jigsaw, and there's a very clever plot line incorporated into the story which is an attempt to save his own life. Even then though, he manages to make this into a game.

Once again the plot is a layered one. There are multiple threads running through the film, and they are cleverly woven together so that we really don't see where they are going, where some of them are, and where there are connections. All the time there's misdirection going on (much better than in The Prestige), and at the end a superb reveal that just keeps going.

The leads do very well in the film, and in fact I have to say something of the first returning character we see who does a superb job later on in the film of displaying complete and utter agony. I don't think I've felt someone's pain as much as I did when we see the toilet seat lid scenes and those that follow it later on.

Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen and Bahar Soomekh all turn in very convincing performances, and it's these actors that help you believe in the misdirection's and take you into the story.

The writing is very clever, the plot very well constructed, the direction and editing very tight, and the filming is very well done, once again dark and claustrophobic. Another aspect of the film that I really did enjoy were it's leaps in timeline, at moments we'll leap back to a scene that shows something in the past to explain a character's motives or actions in the present day of the film. For instance the most impressive part of this is the return to the setup for the original Saw film, this is superbly done and gives the series regular a particularly satisfying feeling.

I would perhaps say that the ending seemed a little out of favour with the spirit of Jigsaw, and to me it was a no win situation for most of the characters involved. However this may be something we see cleared up in the sequel, Saw IV which they are currently writing.

It's very difficult to talk much about this film without giving it away, suffice to say I think that this is the best in the series, to date anyway. It's hard to see where they can take the series from here because they've constructed this one so well, but perhaps there are more setups out there that could equal the power and impact of these.

Jackass 2
Now I'm not the kind of guy to really belly laugh at the Jackass crew, although I do like seeing some of their more bizarre stunts, I tend to giggle and groan more than anything. I tell you what though, when this trailer came on Lee and I were laughing our asses off. Well they didn't actually come off, but I'm sure it was close. These guys just don't know when to stop, and this latest trailer has some footage I hadn't even seen yet, and some crackingly funny footage at that. Sick? Yes. Compulsive viewing? Yes.

The Return
It's a shame that Sarah Michelle Gellar hasn't gone onto do anything else before returning to another Asian type horror film, but here she is right after the Grudges are sorted out (perhaps). It has all the standard elements and at times is a little confusing. The scenes are broken up and sometimes don't feel that connected. Not a great trailer for what is most likely not a good film.
"The Return trailer online"

Tenacious D in "The Pick of Destiny"
This was a stunning new trailer that I hadn't caught before. I was hoping that it was going to be something of the opening scene, but instead we're treated to the first musical meeting of JB and KG, and they are both on fire. As KG strums a few classical pieces by the side of the boulevard, JB walks by and is entranced by the guitar genius he hears in his head - passers by don't seem that impressed. We are then treated to a musical face off between the two and it was hilarious. Scrap everything I said about this man and sign me up for the first showing.
Not the trailer we saw, but another one [QT:L:Direct]

Smokin' Aces
Oh this looks even better on the big screen with the Ace of Spades banging away. This film looks superb, sounds superb and has a stonkingly good cast. A surprise hit perhaps?
"Smokin' Aces stunning trailer online"

Black Christmas
Oh lord, we thought as the cheesy Christmas opening arrives. I was thinking we were seeing a trailer for another Santa Clause film or something, and then the immortal lines appear, and I'll paraphrase because I can't remember word for word - "When he enters your house this Christmas Eve…he won't leave anyone alive!" - Oh, okay it's not a Santa tale, it's Santa the slasher. Oh dear god, I think I'd rather watch Santa Clause!

Edinburgh's Ocean Terminal Vue Cinema
UK IMDB Film Details



I had a strong feeling you'd enjoy this film, Richard, and though I agree wholeheartedly with your opinions here, your observation about how saw 2 lost the direction and "Purpose" of the traps, and how that's really hit on in this film, was something I really didn't realize until just now. You're right. And I agree that there's no obvious place to take Saw 4.

The creators said something to the tune of that they aren't going to return to saw 4 and instead hand over control to someone else to do the next couple, because the story they wanted to tell is now over. I can see that. And my hat's off to them. Saw is hands down the BEST creep out fest i've ever known.

and with that, I'm going to watch Peter Jacksons' BRAIN DEAD. see you later!!!

Thanks again Mogulus! I think it helped that I watched Saw II the day before seeing Saw III, and I saw it for the first time too.

Part of me hopes that they stick with the real core of what makes Saw so great into the next couple of films because it would be sad to see that diluted.



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