Last Friday, at the opening night of “Saw 3D,” I walked into the theater expecting to walk back out again in 30 minutes demanding my money back.
Around two hours later, I left the theater with adrenaline rushing through my system, wondering how in the living hell the filmmakers had managed to make me feel that way with such a travesty of celluloid.
“Saw 3D” has to be one of the worst attempts at a horror movie ever made, ranking high with the remakes of “House of Wax” and “The Wicker Man.”
It is, however, a pinnacle of so-bad-it’s-good status. While no one in the audience fled their seat screaming or covered the person next to and/or in front of them in vomit, everyone was rolling in laughter and enjoying the guilt in their pleasure.
It was then that I realized the appeal of the “Saw” franchise: people keep flocking back in order to see if the filmmakers can top the awfulness of the last films.
In this regard, “Saw 3D” does not disappoint in the least.
The plot is something any fan of the series has seen before: people are involved in a series of traps that will either kill them or leave them scarred to the point of insanity.
A subplot features the widow of the infamous Jigsaw on the run from her former husband’s apprentice. As the cops close in on said apprentice, the stories converge and end with a final twist and gore galore.
This film gets everything so wrong that it dares to be right in its wrongfulness. Betsy Russell and Chad Donella are incredibly inept in their roles as Jigsaw’s widow and the cop hunting Jigsaw’s apprentice, respectively, to the point that their performances were the main cause of the laughter coming from the audience.
Highlights include a scene in which Donella uses the word “crazy” five times in a row while attempting to be compelling, and any scene in which Russell tries to incite fear. Sean Patrick Flannery of “The Boondock Saints,” a normally talented actor, goes into melodramatic mode and seems to be channeling Edward Norton as he attempts to bring credibility to the film’s awful writing.
Costas Mandylor, as Jigsaw’s apprentice Mark Hoffman, inspires fewer chills in half of the film’s running time than Tobin Bell does in the five minutes he is given. Let that be a testament to the lack of power that Mandylor harbors as an actor.
If it were not for the violent traps, a welcomed, if hysterically hammy cameo from Cary Elwes, and the downright hilarity of this film’s attempt to be horror, I would not have made it through without hemorrhaging internally.
This is supposed to be the last film in the series, and in the unlikely event that this should be true, we should all rejoice.