Saw 3D (Review)

Brutal horror franchise remains slightly fascinating

The traps might come alive, as the Lionsgate studio buzz trumpets in regards to the latest (and supposedly last) installment of the Halloween franchise built around everyone’s favorite moralistic serial manipulator, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), but he is still dead, even though he continues to play twisted games (now in glorious 3-D) with a host of unwilling participants through his many competing minions and acolytes.

I might go down as one of the few critics willing to admit to having a more than passing fascination with this series, which earned the dubious distinction of giving rise to the torture porn genre. My defense has nothing to do with the somewhat lackluster traps and the horrid soap-opera-styled melodramatics of the minor players thrown into the mix. What always interested me was Jigsaw’s pseudo-spiritual/philosophical underpinnings and their distant connections to those of Professor Cornel West. I hope the good professor will forgive me for daring to use his ideas here, but in forcing people, usually “sinners,” to face a set of consequences for their choices, he also actively engaged them in their own humanity: The notion of struggling before the reflection of their mortality.

That’s heady stuff, much too cerebral for a franchise devoted to dismemberment and death, and yet it always made me want to see where Jigsaw would go next, even from beyond the grave. This iteration certainly wraps up a few loose strands, although it leaves the door wide open for more flashback appearances of this thoroughly captivating fiend. Grade: C-

Opens Oct. 29. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.
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