Seven movies in six years. If nothing else, that's an amazing turnaround that the "Saw" franchise should be quite pleased with. Indeed, the seventh entry into the franchise — titled "Saw 3D" — lands in theaters today, once again bringing Jigsaw's terrible torture devices to theatergoers just in time for Halloween!
But after seven films, you'll have to forgive the "Saw" series if it's gotten a little bit, well, convoluted. If you thought it was all about bear trap masks and severed feet, you've been missing out on one heck of a horrifyingly complicated mythology.
But not to worry, we've got your back. After the jump, check out some snapshot synopses of the previous "Saw" films to catch you up in time for "Saw 3D"!
Stop us if you've heard this one: Two men are trapped inside a dilapidated bathroom with instructions to kill the other man, which they must do if they want to survive. Jigsaw's first on screen "test" remains the most iconic, thanks to compelling performances from Carey Elwes and Leigh Whannell, not to mention eventual "Lost" villain Michael Emerson as another unwitting victim of Jigsaw's games.
Jigsaw upped the ante for round two, trapping eight victims inside of an abandoned factory with two hours to go before nerve gas kills them all. As they fight for their lives, Jigsaw has an even-tempered conversation with detective Eric Matthews about his origins: diagnosed with cancer and driven towards a failed suicide attempt, Jigsaw has devoted the rest of his life towards teaching others the value of their existence... by way of torturing them. That's some brand of therapy!
With his protege Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) at his side, Jigsaw's quest to reform people's lives in increasingly imaginative and brutal ways continues. As the torturer's cancer gets worse, Amanda and one of his victims are tasked with trying to keep Jigsaw alive, but the film ends with Amanda dead and Jigsaw's throat slashed wide open.
Even after death, Jigsaw's tests continue, and in a surprising twist, it turns out that he has a secret accomplice — Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), a character from the previous "Saw" film — who forces several of his colleagues to go through the torturous wringers that Jigsaw so dearly adored.
Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson), one of Jigsaw and Hoffman's victims, escapes the conclusion of "Saw IV" and begins a private investigation to uncover Hoffman's connection to the murders. But vengeance gets the better of him when he mistakenly tries to kill Hoffman, triggering a trap in the process and killing himself as well. Worse still, the deceased Strahm is framed for Jigsaw's murders.
Hoffman continues Jigsaw's rampage, and the results are predictably disastrous for everyone involved. Even Hoffman himself winds up at death's door, as Jigsaw's ex-wife (Betsy Russell) attempts to kill him with one of those pesky bear trap masks. Hoffman, of course, survives; after all, who else is going to terrorize the victims in "Saw 3D?"
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