Saw III is not as good as Saw and Saw II. There, I said it. The movie is just as inventive, the baddie just as bad, the plot twists just as twisty, but there's something.. missing.

The story is a straight continuation of Saw II. Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who was at death's door and grooming Amanda (Shawnee Smith) to take over his life's work at the end of the last installment, is up to his old tricks again.

He's kidnapped his old oncologist Dr Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) to keep him alive whilst he plays one last gruesome game on hapless Jeff (Angus Mcfadyen), who is looking for revenge against the person who killed his son.

But there's just something lacking..

The tension doesn't get as high, the drama seems a little forced at times, and Jigsaw's all-knowing, all-seeing attitude seems a little smug instead of scary. What's also a little weird is that we're clearly supposed to be sympahising with Jigsaw rather than his victims. Denlon is pompous, Jeff's a moron and the others are far too two-dimensional to care about.

It's surprising to see that the goriest part of the movie is completely and utterly unnecessary. The entire trepanation scene could have been removed, cut right down or shot from an obscuring angle without any loss to the film whatsoever. And there is where the film falls down. The previous installments relied upon drama and tension - the suggestion of gore rather than gore itself - to make the viewer squirm. This one scene goes more for the "Eeeww! Look! She's drilling into his skull! Can you hear it? Can you see the saw cutting? Can you see the blood flying?" style of feel.

The blood and gore should be a counterpoint - an accent, if you will - to the scare, not the cause of it.

Other than that, not too bad. Weakest of the three, certainly, but still way better than most attempts at the genre.

And I won't guarantee it's over with the third, because there's still some loose ends.

Doombreed rating: * * * * 1/2

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