Saw VII 3D
*1/2 out of ****
Spill Rating: RENTAL!
After seven films, two video-games, countless parodies, and millions upon millions of dollars, the Saw franchise is now over. The entire series as a whole has had its ups and downs, but I can't deny the impact its had on horror films. Besides becoming the highest-grossing horror series of all-time, it has spanned countless "torture porn" film such as Turistas and Hostel. To be honest, I felt that the series should have ended with Saw III. The ending of the film wrapped everything up in a nice bow and would have made it the best horror movie trilogy of all time.
Unfortunately, it made money and three more film were ordered. Saw IV and V were easily the worst of the series, seeming rushed and nearly incoherent. After Saw V, I had given up on the series. It was to my surprise that Saw VI was actually good.....really good! Director Kevin Greutert brought new life to a series that was on life support, delivering the most gruesome entry yet while crafting a somewhat ingenious plot. However, audiences did not flock to part six, resulting in it being the lowest grossing entry in the entire series. Because of dwindling box office returns, Lions Gate decided for the seventh entry to be the last.
After yanking Greutert off of Paranormal Activity 2 because of a "contractual clause", I had a bad feeling about this. I didn't really care if it was going to be good, I just wanted for the series' loose ends to be answered. And by that criteria, Saw VII at least passes.
Saw VII may not be the worst of the series but it is by far the most bland. Everything in the film seems recycled. The traps, story, and even characters are nearly the same as previous entires in the series. At this point, I can't really blame the writers. How many traps can one human being think of?
This time, as a deadly battle rages over Jigsaws brutal legacy between Jill (Betsy Russell) and Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanney), a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.
The story-line dealing with Dagen is basically a copy of Jeff's storyline from Saw III and Dan's from Saw VI. While some of the traps are imaginative, I kept getting the feeling of deja vu. The entire plot line was boring because I had already seen it played out twice before. Flanney is actually quite good but he is unable to carry the entire film himself.
The other half of the film deals with Hoffman trying to kill Jill after escaping from the "reverse bear trap" at the conclusion of Saw VI. Unlike the previous two entires, with Jill acting as a strong female presence, she is reduced to a screaming wussy. This part does have its moments but it further illustrates how integral Tobin Bell was to the series as a whole. He was a fantastic actor who lit up every scene he was in but as of part IV on, he has been reduced to appearances in flash-backs, instead passing the torch to Hoffman. Here, Bell is only in one scene that didn't even need to include him. It also doesn't help that Hoffman has the personality of cardboard.
The most painful thing about Saw VII is that it could have ended with a bang. The beginning opens up with a trap in full view of the public, suggesting that the bar has been raised. Unfortunately, that public massacre is never spoken of again, once again leaving us to dark rooms in the middle of nowhere. The whole film never builds up steam until the end, where we get the eventual Dr. Gordon appearance to wrap up the series. The way he's brought in may not be very satisfying, but it does cover up a few plot holes from past films.
Overall, Saw VII is too much like its predecessors to stand out in any real way. Unlike the previous film, which proved that there was still life in the series yet, this film shows that may have been a fluke. This may not be the ending the series deserves, but it at least wraped up the loose ends. In the end, thats enough for me.