Saw III

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Saw III
Saw3 cape10.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byDarren Lynn Bousman
Produced byMark Burg
Gregg Hoffman
Oren Koules
Screenplay byLeigh Whannell
Story byJames Wan
Leigh Whannell
StarringTobin Bell
Shawnee Smith
Angus Macfadyen
Bahar Soomekh
Dina Meyer
Music byCharlie Clouser
CinematographyDavid A. Armstrong
Editing byKevin Greutert
StudioTwisted Pictures
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date(s)
  • October 27, 2006 (2006-10-27)
Running time110 minutes (Theatrical version)
113 minutes (Unrated version)
120 minutes (Director's Cut)
CountryCanada
United States
LanguageEnglish
BudgetUS$10 million
Box officeUS$164,874,275
 
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Saw III
Saw3 cape10.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed byDarren Lynn Bousman
Produced byMark Burg
Gregg Hoffman
Oren Koules
Screenplay byLeigh Whannell
Story byJames Wan
Leigh Whannell
StarringTobin Bell
Shawnee Smith
Angus Macfadyen
Bahar Soomekh
Dina Meyer
Music byCharlie Clouser
CinematographyDavid A. Armstrong
Editing byKevin Greutert
StudioTwisted Pictures
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date(s)
  • October 27, 2006 (2006-10-27)
Running time110 minutes (Theatrical version)
113 minutes (Unrated version)
120 minutes (Director's Cut)
CountryCanada
United States
LanguageEnglish
BudgetUS$10 million
Box officeUS$164,874,275

Saw III is a 2006 Canadian-American[1] horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman from a screenplay by Leigh Whannell and story by James Wan and Whannell. Wan and Whannell directed and wrote Saw and Bousman wrote and directed Saw II. It is the third installment in the seven-part Saw film series and stars Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh and Dina Meyer. Bell, Smith, Meyer, Donnie Wahlberg and Lyriq Bent reprise their roles from the previous films. Franky G and Tim Burd from Saw II make small cameos. Saw III marks the first appearances of Costas Mandylor and Betsy Russell, albeit minor roles; they would later become major characters in the series.

The story follows Jeff Denlon - After his son is killed in a car crash; he is put in a series of tests by Jigsaw in order to try and let go of his vengeance on the man that killed him. Meanwhile a bed-ridden John Kramer has ordered his apprentice Amanda Young to kidnap Jeff's wife, Lynn, in order to keep him alive for one final test before he dies of his illness.

Production began right after Saw II's successful opening weekend. Filming took place in Toronto from May to June 2006. Whannell aimed to make the story more emotional than previous installments, particularly with the Amanda and Jigsaw storyline. The film is dedicated to producer Gregg Hoffman who died on December 4, 2005.[2][3]

Saw III was released on October 27, 2006 and was a financial success, opening to $33.6 million and grossing $80.2 million in the United States and Canada. It is the highest-grossing film of the series in the international market with $84.6 million and the highest-grossing film in the series with $164.8 million worldwide. It received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Bell was nominated for "Best Villain" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards and the film received nominations for a Saturn Award as "Best Horror Film" and Teen Choice Award. Saw III was released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc on January 23, 2007 and topped the charts selling 2.5 million units in its first week. It was followed with a midquel, Saw IV, released in October 2007.

Plot[edit source | edit]

Minutes after he is trapped in the bathroom, Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) escapes the shackle by breaking his foot with a toilet tank cover. Six months later, a new game is discovered by a SWAT team led by Lt. Daniel Rigg (Lyriq Bent), who calls Detectives Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and Allison Kerry (Dina Meyer), who is guilt-ridden over Matthews' disappearance, to the scene. In his test, Troy (J. Larose) had to rip chains from his flesh to escape from a bomb. However, the door to the room was welded shut. As the trap was inescapable, Kerry believes that it was not Jigsaw who designed it. While reviewing Troy's tape at home, Kerry is attacked and awakens in a harness hooked into her ribs. Though she is able to retrieve the key from a beaker of acid, the harness tears her ribs out anyway.

Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh), a depressed doctor, is abducted and brought to John Kramer (Tobin Bell), now bedridden from cancer, by Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith). She is given instructions to keep John alive until the other victim, Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), has completed his game. A collar is locked around her neck that connects to John's heart rate monitor: if he dies, or if Lynn moves out of range, it will fire five shotgun shells at her head. As she begins working to keep John alive, Jeff awakens in a box in an abandoned meatpacking plant and is informed that he must undergo tests which will lead him to "the man responsible for the loss of his child". It is shown that his son Dylan (Stefan Georgiou) was hit and killed by a car three years earlier, which Jeff is unable to cope with. He is vengeful towards everyone involved and neglects his daughter, Corbett (Niamh Wilson), as a result.

Jeff's first test leads him into a meat freezer, where he finds Danica Scott (Debra Lynne McCabe), who refused to testify against his son's killer. She is naked, stretched and suspended, with her wrists tightly chained together above her head. On each side of her, two poles are spraying her body with ice-cold water at random intervals. Though she eventually convinces Jeff to help her, she freezes to death before he can retrieve the key. His second test leads him to a large vat, where he finds Judge Halden (Barry Flatman), who sentenced his son's killer to six months in prison, chained at the neck at the bottom. The pit is slowly being filled with liquefied pig corpses, but Jeff reluctantly saves him by incinerating his son's toys to retrieve the key to the Judge's freedom, hidden by Jigsaw within the stuffing. His third test leads Jeff and Halden to Timothy Young (Mpho Koaho), his son's killer, who is strapped to a machine that will twist his limbs and neck one by one until they break. The machine can be switched off provided a key, which is tied to a rifle set to fire were the key to be removed. Jeff initially watches Timothy suffer, but is eventually convinced by Halden to retrieve the key from the shotgun trigger. He accidentally discharges the shotgun in the process, killing Halden, and is unable to free Timothy before his neck breaks.

While Lynn performs an improvised surgery intended to relieve pressure on his brain, John hallucinates about another woman and declares his love out loud. Amanda leaves, distressed by this, and is revealed to have continued cutting herself after John became bedridden. She recalls becoming John's protege and assisting with the bathroom trap by abducting Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell), who she gave a mercy killing out of guilt shortly after he was left to die. She also finds a letter in her name, its contents driving her to hysterics. As Lynn reveals to John that her ordeal has renewed her appreciation for her family, Amanda returns with the news that Jeff has completed his tests, though she refuses to release Lynn. She does not believe in John's modus operandi and the tests she designed, including Troy's and Kerry's, reflect this. At John's prompting, Amanda also reveals that she left Eric Matthews for dead after he escaped and fought with her.

Amanda shoots Lynn in the back just as Jeff arrives, and he retaliates by shooting her in the neck. With great sadness, John tells Amanda that the game was hers: she was being tested on her will to keep someone alive because she left Kerry, Eric and Adam to die without any means of survival and John knew she did it, so he gave her one last chance. She was unaware that Jeff and Lynn were married. After she dies, John offers to call an ambulance for Lynn if Jeff accepts one final test, where he must choose between killing John and forgiving him. As Jeff says he forgives John, he slashes John's throat with a circular saw. The sickroom seals itself as John plays a tape recorder, which reveals that Jeff has failed by killing John, who was the only person to know Corbett's whereabouts. The tape ends as John dies, and the collar simultaneously activates and kills Lynn, leaving Jeff to despair, trapped in the locked sickroom.

Production[edit source | edit]

Development and writing[edit source | edit]

Producer Gregg Hoffman unexpectedly died a few weeks after the release of Saw II. Writer and director of Saw II, Darren Lynn Bousman and Saw writer Leigh Whannell originally turned the offer down to make a third film. Whannell, Bousman, and James Wan got together to have lunch the day they heard of Hoffman's passing and came to conclusion that Saw III was going to be made with or without them so they decided to make the film in dedication to Hoffman.[4] Whannell aimed to make Saw III more emotional, describing the plot as essentially a "love story" between Jigsaw and Amanda.[5]

Whannell (right) and Wan (left) returned to write Saw III and also served as executive producers.

Bousman said they did not intend to have a twist ending, as distinctly as the previous films, noting that "I think most people will figure it out in the first 15 minutes of the film". Whannell added, "What Darren and I struck for Saw III was to have an emotionally impactful ending. We wanted something that would almost make someone who was really invested in the story cry. We have Jigsaw, this character who's been so cold and clinical, he's been presented throughout the previous two films as someone who's very much in control. He's more like a reptile than a human being. In Saw III he becomes a human being. You see him crack. His veneer cracks and that was what was most important to us far and above any sort of gimmick or twist".[5] Whannell also answered questions from previous films that were brought up by fans on the official Saw message board.[5] As with the previous two films, the ending was only given to the actors who appeared in the final scene at the time it was filmed. At one point the script was stolen from Bousman's chair, however it was returned before it was leaked online.[6]

Casting[edit source | edit]

Soomekh became close with Lionsgate after appearing in their film Crash (2004) and they wanted her in their next big film. Not a fan of horror films she found the role challenging. "I had nightmares the first month I was on set. We were shooting it for two months. People say because you're an actor it's not a big deal because you go in there and it's fake or whatever. But what they don't understand is that it's actually the opposite because, as an actor, when you go in there you have to believe it's real to make your performance real. You have to get lost in the mindframe of this character", she said.[7]

Larose was in Bousman's first short film titled Butterfly Dreams and helped finance Bousman's second short, Identity Lost.[8]

Filming[edit source | edit]

Saw III was given a larger budget of $10 million,[9] compared to Saw II's $4 million.[10] Principal photography took place for 27 days[4] at Toronto's Cinespace Film Studios[11] from May 8, 2006 to late June.[12] Production borrowed the bathroom set used in Scary Movie 4, which parodied Saw and Saw II, since it closely resembled the old set.[5] Almost all the transitions from one place to another were not made using digital effects; the transitions were shot on the spot. For example, when the camera moves from Troy's crime scene to Kerry being in the bathtub, Meyer had to run, take off all her clothes, and jump into the tub.[5] Visually the film is akin to the previous two with using quick cuts and fast-paced rhythms. Bousman said, "We're using a lot of whip pans and flash frames to create a dynamic feel".[13] Post-production services were provided by Deluxe.[13]

Trap designs[edit source | edit]

Bousman described the hardest scene to film was the "Pig Scene", explaining that they had to rush and it involved filming "so many moving parts".[14] The pig carcasses were made out of foam, rubber and latex.[15] The pig props had live disinfected maggots attached with honey.[16] Bell said in an Empire interview that the "Pig Scene" was his favorite trap in the entire series.[17]

For "The Rack Trap", Whannell originally conceived it as a trap that would fold a person into a box, though it eventually morphed into the twisting of body parts.[18] Bousman wanted to have a trap that involved freezing someone to death since the films have already touched on burning to death, bleeding to death and being cut to death. A body cast was made of Debra Lynn McCabe for "The Freezer Room" trap, but because of safety regulations a person cannot be entombed, so only a front or back body cast could be on the actress at any given time.[19] For the "Classroom Trap", J. Larose's character was originally going to be hanged from the ceiling by meat hooks, but it was decided against that since he would not have been able to rip the chains out himself (as the script calls for). It proved to be a challenge since it is done with prosthetics and practical effects.[20][13]

Release[edit source | edit]

Saw III was released on October 27, 2006 in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It was released in Australia on November 2, 2006 and on January 4, 2007 in New Zealand.[21] According to executive producer Daniel Heffner, the film was toned down seven times to obtain the "R" rating. According to Bousman, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings board was less concerned with the film's graphic violence because television shows like CSI have expanded the scope of what is acceptable viewing with their graphic depictions of crime scenes and autopsies. Bousman said the MPAA is more concerned with emotional torture that disturbs the audience.[22] In Japan, Saw III received a R18+ rating while the previous two films received an R15+ rating.[23] At screenings in the United Kingdom, five people were reported to have fainted at separate cinemas with three at one cinema, resulting in ambulances called.[24]

Marketing[edit source | edit]

The opening scene of Troy's trap was shown at San Diego Comic-Con International on July 21, 2006.[25] The same clip was planned to be shown before the opening of Crank in theaters on September 1, 2006. However, the MPAA would not allow it.[26] On October 10, 2006 Bell, Smith and Bousman appeared at Spike TV's Scream Awards to promote the film and the clip of Troy's trap was shown.[27]

Lionsgate's president of theatrical marketing Tim Palen thought of the idea to make 1,000 posters with a small amount of Bell's blood, which was mixed with the printing ink. He said, "We decided to do a poster and he's wearing a red cloak. I was talking to the printer and asked what we could do to get the deepest blood red. I asked if it would be possible to use actual blood. There was silence. He said, 'We could try, but are you serious?' I said I was dead serious." The posters were sold for $20, with the first being auctioned off; all the proceeds from the auctioned poster were donated to the Red Cross.[28] Lionsgate also held the third annual "Give Til It Hurts" blood drive for the Red Cross and collected 23,493 pints of blood.[29]

Soundtrack[edit source | edit]

The soundtrack was released on October 24, 2006 by Artists Addiction. James Christopher Monger of Allmusic gave the soundtrack three out of five stars.[30] Ed Thompson of IGN Music gave it a 7.2 out of 10.[31]

Saw III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
ReleasedOctober 24, 2006
GenreHeavy metal, alternative rock, metalcore
Length72:01
LabelArtists Addiction
Various Artists chronology
Saw II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2005)
Saw III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2006)
Saw IV: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
(2007)
Track listing

Home media[edit source | edit]

Saw III was released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc through Lionsgate Home Entertainment on January 23, 2007. It topped the home video charts in the United States and Canada with 1.6 million units sold its first day and finished the week with 2.5 million units sold.[32] The "Unrated DVD" was also released that day and features a 113 minute cut of the film that includes more gore.[32] A 120-minute long Director's Cut was released on October 23, 2007 to coincide with the theatrical release of Saw IV on October 26. It also included an alternative ending.[33] The director's cut was released on Blu-ray in Region B on October 7, 2008, in France only.[34]

Deleted scenes[edit source | edit]

The original cut of the film ran for slightly over two hours, and several scenes were cut out, including a scene which depicted an extended scene of Kerry and Rigg examining Troy's trap, where Kerry reveals to Rigg she has had nightmares about Eric, and she blames herself for what happened to him.[35] Adam had more scenes in the original cut.[36] A scene that showed Jigsaw regretting his actions was cut. Bell said, "I'm glad they cut that scene. This guy knows exactly what he's doing. Does he start off with a model, then refine it? Yeah, he probably does. But there are certain things that are interesting and advance the story, and there are other things that are basically sort of backstory, and you don't really need to know".[37]

Reception[edit source | edit]

Box office[edit source | edit]

Saw III opened at number one on 4,700 screens at 3,167 theaters grossing $33.6 million on its opening weekend, a two percent increase from Saw II's $31.7 million. It held the biggest Halloween weekend debut for five years until it was beaten in 2011 by Puss in Boots ($34 million).[38] It was also Lionsgate's highest-opening weekend. Lionsgate's exit polling indicated that 69 percent of the audience was under 25 years old and 51 percent was male.[39] In its second weekend it placed number four dropping down 56% to $14.8 million, compared to Saw II's second weekend drop of 47% to $16.9 million.[40] The film was closed out of theaters on December 14, 2006, after 49 days of release.[41]

Saw III opened at number five in the international market with an estimated $6 million. It opened at number one in the United Kingdom to $4.7 million. In Taiwan it placed third and opened to $320,000.[42] For its second weekend it opened to number two with an estimated $9.7 million. In Spain it made $3.1 million, an improvement over the previous films.[43] For its third weekend, Saw III grossed $8 million, including Japan's opening on 86 screens with $1.1 million. Australia made $4.3 million, Spain grossed $3.8 million and Brazil made $3.8 million.[44] In its fourth weekend it placed fourth place with an estimated $5.6 million from 24 territories. Its best market was a second-place start in France.[45]

The film has come to gross $80.2 million in the United States and Canada and $84.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $164.8 million.[41] Saw III has the highest-grossing weekend in the series and also holds the records of highest-grossing in the international market and is the second highest-grossing film in the series worldwide.[46] It is also Lionsgate's fifth highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada.[47]

Release date
(United States)
Budget
(estimated)[41]
Box office revenue[41]
United States/CanadaOther marketsWorldwide
October 27, 2006$10,000,000$80,238,724$84,635,551$164,874,275

Critical response[edit source | edit]

The film was not screened in advance for critics.[48] The film received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 25% of 83 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 4.2 out of 10.[49] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 48 based on 16 reviews.[50] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B" on an A+ to F scale.[51]

Variety's Robert Koehler gave the film a mixed review. He criticized the use of several flashbacks in the film, saying that it "[...] hinder[ed] the movie, ratcheting down its tension and pace". He explained, "A bigger problem lies with Leigh Whannell's script, which utilizes so many flashbacks and explanatory inserts that the tension, a defining feature of the first Saw, is lost". He praised Smith performance and called MacFadyen's performance "a strong, almost silent performance that conveys a pained father's dark night of the soul", and Soomekh as "reasonably convincing as the surgeon".[52] Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave it two out of five stars, criticizing the plot and acting.[53]

San Francisco Chronicle's Peter Harlaub gave the film a negative review. He said, "It doesn't go much of anywhere until the infuriating last 10 minutes, when everything is sort of tied together while still producing more unanswered questions. The movie seems at times to be told in random order, often with flashbacks, and the closest thing to a plot is a weak story about the father who keeps confronting the people responsible for his son's drunken-driving death". He pointed out he lack of realism in the script, saying "One incredibly large and intricate torture device in this movie couldn't have been made without four or five subcontractors, but we're supposed to believe a mentally unbalanced ex-junkie who weighs 100 pounds put it together in, at most, a few months".[54] Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times said that "More gore is really all Saw III has to offer", saying that "the first few minutes cram in more graphic brutality than you can shake a bloody, pointed stick at". He listed other problems being "flat dialogue, uninvolving characters and a creeping sameness in the no-brain- required puzzles". He concluded his review saying, "Bottom line, those in the Saw factory know their audience and have brought along the appropriate buckets and bibs. Even devotees, however, may note pacing problems and tire of Jigsaw's selective omnipotence (he can acquire copious amounts of deadly nerve agent but not a bottle of Ativan?). Those who see Saw III are in for ups and downs".[55]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C".[56] Randy Cordova of the The Arizona Republic gave it a negative review saying, "Saw III is devoid of any suspense or terror or common sense. It's simply an exercise in gore. And really, if that's all the filmmakers have up their sleeve, why bother with a plot? Just show one grisly makeup effect after another and you'd create the same sensory experience".[48] Empire's Kim Newman gave the film two out of five stars. He said the acting was "surprisingly good" but criticized the script and torture devices, calling it "more contrived, and thus less effective". He ended his review saying, "It requires a stretch of the imagination too far, but there's still plenty of gore and tricksy murders here".[57]

Award nominations[edit source | edit]

Saw III was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, but lost to The Descent.[58][59] It was also nominated as the "Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller" at the Teen Choice Awards, but lost to Disturbia.[60] Bell was nominated for a MTV Movie Award for Best Villain.[61] He lost to Jack Nicholson for his role in The Departed.[62]

References[edit source | edit]

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  2. ^ Newman, Kim (December 15, 2005). "Obituary: Gregg Hoffman". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
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