Oh. My. God. Guys, this is the most terriblest movie I have seen this year. This was so astoundingly bad, I have no idea where to start. Honestly, every single part of this movie was just overblown crap from the opening credits to the last frame of the closing credits. Everything about this movie sucked the living daylights out of my brain and made me wonder how a franchise can go from inspired psychological terror (Saw) to an absolute laughingstock (Saw VII). This movie was poorly acted, poorly written, poorly directed, in cheap and gimmicky 3D with enough metaphorical paddle-balls to fill a dumpster. And honestly speaking, it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a theater since I saw Hot Tub Time Machine. That movie was funny in a guiltlessly classless sort of way. This movie is funny in the same way, but I be damned if that’s what it was aiming for.
Let’s start with what it’s like to sit through this cinematic excrement. Have you ever hung out or been around Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto? Have you ever gone to the Mirvish Theater neighbourhood, then gone down the Canadian walk of fame? Then you have literally been meters away from where the opening sequence of this movie was shot. At some point in the Saw franchise’s legacy, the entire production managed to migrate up north. Didn’t these movies start out as two friends making a corking good script into a B-movie based on psychological terror in Australia? Cos they’ve ended up populated by every Canadian E-, F-, or Z-list actor you can find and the kind of safe, harmless horror on par with The Blob or The Little Shop of Horrors–particularly uninspired and lifeless b-movies selling their premise and not delivering anything that would scare someone under 50.
There is at least one actor, I don’t know his name, or the name of the character he played. But this man is so giftedly bad that every scene he was in was a new delight to discover. It was like being shown a grand tour of the world and all its wonders. Only replace its wonders with horribly delivered “serious” dialogue and replace The World with Frickin’ Toronto. Every time the main detective is on screen, I knew that by the end of his scene, I knew I’d be guaranteed a suppressed bellylaugh. Mel, I should tell you that a few loud, singular HA!s made it through. I wish that Saw VII wasn’t the end of the series, if only so that I could see that man return. Does it say something about the quality of this movie that I’ve forgotten if he dies or not? Screw him, it’s not like he’s a main character anyway.
Except I think he was. I’m not quite sure, as the first (two? three?) act(s) of this movie were frequently interrupted by gruesome killings staged as Jigsawesque traps. I emphasize the -esque because there’s no way the real Jigsaw Killer would do something as simple as giving a guy thirty seconds to rip the skin off of his back to save his friends. That’s not a trap, that’s murder. Oh, except, apparently, some time between Saw II and Saw VII, Jigsaw has been replaced. Like, four frickin’ times. First was Jigsaw, whom I liked. Second was apprentice Amanda, whom I liked. But now, after having skipped the last three outings into gory horror perpetrated upon douchebags, the widow of Jigsaw, some asshat and now another victim have taken his place and name as Jigsaw. I guess it explains why all the traps are so unfair, but it doesn’t explain why nobody ever mentions them before or after they take place. It’s almost like some dude is serial killing in a vacuum and I’m supposed to care about the police because… yeah.
There’s a phony Jigsaw victim, saying he was in one of Jiggy’s traps goin’ round. He wasn’t really. But he’s peddling self-help with the story, so he, his publicist, his wife, his lawyer and his best mate are eventually trapped in a Jigsaw house where he has to go through all the rooms trying to save everyone to save his wife. Except this is entirely disconnected to the part of the plot where Jigsaw Lite tries to kill Widow Jigsaw. Lemme tell ya, Jigsaw Lite–that storyline? Oh my god. Not a spoiler: at one point, Jigsaw Lite goes through an entire police station (about two or three rooms?) knifing people in the throat. Why is he doing this? To kill Widow Jigsaw. But why is he specifically knifing them in the throat and only in the throat? After about two throatknifes, I started announcing them as though they were goals in soccer. No one in my theater seemed to mind. Maybe they all thought the movie was as horrible as I did and were thankful for the entertainment. KNIFE IN YOUR THROAT!!!
Awful movie. Awful, awful, awful movie. And cheap too! I saw The Final Destination last year, and let me tell you, both of those movies had this in common: 3D reveals exactly how cheap you’ve been with your sets and costumes. What people say about Avatar? Looks great, blahblahblah. I insist that people watch movies like this and the upcoming grindhouse epic Drive Angry to see the difference between cheap, gimmick 3D and what James Cameron accomplished with every part of his set. Everyone looks like they’re wearing polyester crap they got off a discount rack in a Halloween costume store. And that’s being kind to them! And every room is tiny, every location filled with fog to keep you from guessing how very, very small it is.
Tobin Bell gets top billing and a cameo. Cary Elwes gets bottom billing and a trio of cameos. You know how bad that looks for the actors you hired to be in this installment, special, to play original characters I’m supposed to root for? It means I couldn’t care less when they burn alive, get meathooks out their pecs, or get spikes in their throats, eyes or mouths. So many people died in this movie, and I just didn’t friggin’ care. I don’t see any reason I should.
You know, I’m glad the Saw franchise is “ending”. If this is what it’s been reduced to, good riddance. HALF A STAR (and see it now! :D)