Saw 3D/The Final Chapter
Dir. Kevin Greutert (2010)
A man posing as a former Jigsaw victim has sold his story to the media. Surprisingly, this does not go over well with John Kramer's successor.
Director Kevin Greutert pushed back when the studio expected his previous film, Saw VI, to be filmed in 3D. He should have done the same with Saw: The Final Chapter (which was retconned to be called Saw 3D after the series clearly did not end). While it's easy to be glad that the series did not end with the presence of the films that come after this one, Saw 3D would have perhaps better been left on the cutting room floor. Nevertheless, it's a film in the series that exists, and it wraps up the story of Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor, which you probably already knew but is super fun to type) and helps bridge the gap between this story and the ones that would follow.
Jigsaw survivor Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery) travels the country selling his story in book format, making numerous publicity appearances while delivering hope to other survivors of the sadistic games. The only thing is, Bobby is a liar. He's never had to play a game, and while most of his entourage is well aware of his deceit, his new wife Joyce (Gina Holden) is not. When Bobby is kidnapped by Pigman (Detective Hoffman once again), his friends get drawn into the game as well, including his wife as probably the least deserving victim in the entire franchise.
That's part of the problem with Saw 3D: it entirely forgets where it comes from. The cinematography feels cheap and gimmicky, and that's before the obvious 3D shots are crammed in. The blood is, more often than not, the crayon-red that hearkens back to Argento or Dawn of the Dead rather than resembling a modern realistic horror film. The acting is so-so at best, and while the film obviously wants to deliver as many callbacks as it can due to its belief it would be the last film in the series (which is laughable to say the least), the insertion of characters like Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Jill (Betsy Russell, in her third incarnation of Kramer's ex-wife) are fan service that don't belong anywhere near this film.
It's a shame, really, because a lot of the kills in this film are top-notch. They don't really belong, with far more brutal deaths than were necessary to advance the plot, but they are excellent more often than not nonetheless. A few of the kills surrounding Bobby and his game are gnarly as all hell, and while they're fun to watch from the perspective of a gorehound horror fan, they serve absolutely no purpose beyond that.
Bobby's story is an intriguing one, a take on the Jigsaw phenomenon that would 100% exist if he were a real serial killer. This could have been a really good film. Hell, it could've even been a good 3D film, as most of those shots don't really take away from the quality of the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, Saw 3D is a cheap imitator, a cashgrab that feels disrespectful to the franchise and its fans. The soap opera-esque camerawork and the laughably ridiculous twists deliver the series' Jump the Shark moment, an indication that it desperately needed to be rebooted because the makers were fresh out of ideas for a way forward. It also has one of the most ludicrous scenes in the entire franchise: gangsta Jigsaw.
Thankfully, it doesn't get worse than this. Saw 3D is unquestionably the least effective film in the series, despite its relatively straightforward narrative and a significant inundation with gore. The film is a picture-perfect example of how it's not just important that all the features are present but that they're all done well. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot that the film does well, and it's a forgettable entry in an otherwise unforgettable franchise.
Who this movie is for: Saw completionists, 3D fanatics, Reality tv liars
Bottom line: By far the worst film in the franchise. Hardly anything is done well, despite a fantastic collection of traps and some truly gnarly kills. You would think that would be enough, but the poor cinematography, the lacking overarching plot, and the cheap effects land this one firmly in the land of direct-to-video. Director Kevin Greutert does the best with what it has, as do the writers. This was a studio disaster.