Saw 3D preview impressions

The Saw franchise shudders to its apparent climax with Saw 3D. Our horror fanatic Duncan went along to a 15 minute preview to find out if the traps really do come alive…

With Saw 3D out in just over a month, Lionsgate were good enough to give us a little glimpse into the seventh, and allegedly final, film in the Saw franchise. I say allegedly, because I think we all know that any horror franchise with a relatively low production cost and a high turnover is never going to be allowed to die. Curiously, when we interviewed Saw producer Mark Burg about Saw V and VI, back in March of last year, he said:

“For me and my partner Oren (Koules) it’s hard to continually come up with good stories every year… we wanna keep it going, I don’t know how many more we can really do. In our mind there’s probably two, maybe three more that we have outlined.”

A statement which does help to verify that even the producers seemed to know that it was coming to an end.

I’ve always been convinced that the franchise will continue its life as a straight to DVD release, where it could quite happily continue as an easy way of using the name to generate a bit more juice out of the series. In a recent interview with the incredibly lovely Cary Elwes (keep your eyes peeled for that nearer Saw 3D’s release on 29th October), he talked about how they have a dedicated studio for the Saw movies, with all manner of grisly props inside, which sounded to me like an easy location to churn out a few more films.

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Inevitably, though, it’ll be rebooted. I’d put money on the fact. It’s a shame, in some ways, as I’d much rather Paul W.S. Anderson’s limp Resident Evil vision was shot in the head and buried first, but all good things to those who wait.

I’ve written before about how much I love the Saw films, not through any delusion that any of them, beyond the first, have provided much in the way of an intellectual challenge, but because they’re entertaining, gory, trashy, reliable amounts of fun. They’re the only real set of films that have managed to faithfully follow in the footsteps of the likes of A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday The 13th, to give a new generation a fix of shocks and splatter, even if Saw couldn’t shake the law of diminishing returns.

For me, Saw VI bordered on parody, but I still laughed my way through a screening at the cinema at every overblown, bloody moment and at how terrible Costas Mandylor’s performance seemed to be, like some kind of poor man’s James Remar. Yet, I’m still ridiculously excited about Saw 3D.

There are spoilers ahead…

So far. Saw 3D already has two things working in its favour and we had a look at both of them in the very brief preview. The first is the return of Cary Elwes, an actor that I will always love for The Princess Bride and who I was thrilled about being cast in the original Saw, but whose fate was left hanging, after his character, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, sawed his own foot off in an attempt to escape.

All we were shown of his character’s appearance in Saw 3D was of the bloody trail left by his severed leg, as he crawls away down the familiar corridor, looking a little worse for wear. As he makes his way along it, he stops at a large, red hot steam pipe and (you can see where this is heading) promptly takes his bleeding stump and cauterizes the wound by ramming it into the pipe. Thick blood oozes from the hole in his leg, as he screams in agony and then the screen goes black.

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Next we were shown, what I assume to be the opening sequence, as it starts with the usual set of unknown characters awaking in one of Jigsaw’s traps. Only this time they’re on full display in a shop window, in broad daylight in the middle of what looks like a busy shopping district. If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ll have had a quick glimpse at this scene too, but setting it in such a bright, public setting really helped the impact, as I, for one, am quite tired of seeing the same, overused red, yellow and green lit basements.

The trapped protagonists are two guys and a girl. The two gents are attached to a long sliding contraption with saw blades at each end and one in the middle, facing upward, with the girl suspended above it (like a kind of reverse Pit And The Pendulum). When the familiar voice of Jigsaw starts playing, it turns out the people outside can hear it too, as he announces that the two men have been played off each other, by the woman, who claims to love them both. The men, therefore, must decide if they are to enter a feat of strength against each other, by pushing the end blades into each one or the other of them, or to leave the blade in the middle and let the woman die.

What followed was an attempt by her to try and persuade each of the men that she loved them the most, depending on whose strength was winning out, while being lowered ever closer to the spinning saw blade. Meanwhile, the people outside are attempting to phone the police, while the protagonists scream at them to try and break the glass, making for a much wider display of carnage, as the bystanders helplessly look on. I won’t reveal the outcome, but needless to say, the loser’s intestines were splattered all over the floor and shop window.

Then, as quickly as it started, it was all over and, I have to say, I was left craving more. The screening took place at half past nine in the morning and (after a similar experience with Drag Me To Hell), there is a lot to be said for watching horror in the early hours. It seems so much stronger when your body is still waking up and has yet to be affected by the day’s outcome, so I think I might try and have a few early morning horror sessions as an experiment.

As for the 3D, well, I hate the damn gimmick, to be honest, not just for the inflated price but, as someone who suffers from an eye condition which means one eye’s vision is weaker, I struggle with the concept and how discriminating it is. However, it does still work to a certain degree for me and I was quite shocked how clear the image was in Saw 3D. I actually forgot I was wearing the glasses, as there was no murky side effect.

It seemed to be used relatively sparingly, so no cheap visual effects for the sake of 3D, though I can’t decide if that was a good or bad thing. I naturally assumed Saw would take on all the subtlety of Friday The 13th Part 3-D, especially after seeing the new trailer, so I’m intrigued as to how the rest of the film utilises it.

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It’s not long now until we get to see it, so all I can hope for is a solid part for Mr Elwes to get his teeth into, the usual inventive gore, a few laughs and an end to Mark Hoffman at last, and I’ll be happy.