“Saw 3D” has nowhere to go but up. Last October, “Saw VI” managed to trap just $14 million over its opening weekend, fewer dollars than the original flick’s debut weekend and about half as much as each of the previous four films in the series managed to gross.
“Saw 3D,” by contrast, is expected to open somewhere in the low-to-mid $20 million range and top “Paranormal Activity 2” for the #1 spot at the box office. Mind you, that’ll be in large part to its inflated ticket price, not an outpouring of critical praise — reviews are decidedly mixed.
“This time the game revolves around slimy self-help guru Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery), a Jigsaw survivor who has grown rich off his story and parading around fellow victims. Naturally, he’s abducted and thrown into another series of morality tests in order to save his wife and fellow cohorts. Meanwhile, the sadistic Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) also plots revenge against Jigsaw’s widow (Betsy Russell), who has been locked away in protective custody ever since trying to kill him at the end of ’Saw VI.’ And yes, the fate of Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes, in a brief role) is finally revealed in the film’s worst-kept secret.
But even though it’s no longer a surprise, it’s still great to have everyone’s favorite Dread Pirate Roberts thrown back into the bloody fray.” — Andrew Kasch, Dread Central
The Comparison to The Others
“There is tension in the movie (and good thing), and it is grueling (not a good thing). While the script is tight, the direction is not. And it pains me to say so, because Kevin Greutert, who edited the first five chapters of the ’Saw’ story and directed the sixth, is such a nice person … But I can’t candy-coat it: Greutert’s two ’Saw’s, along with (another nice person) David Hackl’s, are by far the weakest in the franchise. Talking scenes go on for far too long (allowing one to see how poor some of the acting is), and there isn’t much art to the set pieces. Visually-gifted storytellers James Wan (’Saw 1’) and Darren Lynn Bousman (’Saws 2’, ’3’, and ’4’) really set the bar.”
— Staci Layne Wilson, Horror.com
“How are the traps this time out? Decent, but again, a step down from ’Saw VI.’ One, involving having to physically pull a key from a very difficult place, is pretty effective. Another, involving crossing an area where the floor is almost completely gone, adds a nice bit of adventure to the vibe (and gave me flashbacks to Flanery’s days as Indiana Jones). But at the same time, there’s nothing truly memorable in the way ’Saw III”s rack or ’Saw VI”s carousal were. One exception: The best trap here is probably the one involving a car and a neat/twisted domino effect caused when it falls from a jack. By the way, I know this is nothing new in this series, but watching ’Saw 3D,’ I kept thinking how Jigsaw must have both the brilliance and bank account of Tony Stark, considering how elaborate, specific and complicated these traps are.’ — Eric Goldman, IGN
“I’m sort of on the fence. It’s technically great — this movie opens things up a bit (an outside trap, several exterior shots) and even the traps themselves are larger, so if any of the movies HAD to be in 3-D, it would be this one. And it was SHOT in 3-D (not a convert) so it automatically looks better than most of what we’re seeing. But I’m not sure it’s the right fit for this particular franchise — it felt sort of weird to have characters throwing things at you, as if they were sort of having fun too. Not that I always want a grim-fest, but it feels a bit campy at times. You may disagree, but I’ve always felt the series is much more intelligent than its given credit for, however this stuff gives it a slightly goofy tone, like a ’Final Destination’ movie more than ’Saw’ one.” — BC, Bloody Disgusting
The Final Word
“Jigsaw’s signature fiendish traps became the focus of the franchise at some point — you can rewatch the first ’Saw’ and see how NOT the focus they were — and that means the films get less titillating as the traps get less inventive … If we ever thought there was any profundity to Jigsaw’s philosophy, surely we long ago realized it was B.S. It seems like we’re watching now just because, well, we’ve watched this much, so we might as well finish. What reward is there for us? We can say we watched all seven of them. Jigsaw would be proud.” — Eric D. Snider, Cinematical