None of the Saw films have been able to capture the same atmosphere or effectiveness of the original film. The sequels weren't able to screw with your head or have a twist that was quite as big as the one in the 2004 film. Most of the sequels had a budget of around $10 million, but went on to gross over $50 million at the box office. It's no wonder that Jigsaw is the new face of horror and the Saw films are being called the modern version of Friday the 13th since the sequels hit every year around Halloween like clockwork. So now, here we are, the "final" installment in the franchise and it's being presented in 3-D. Unfortunately, Saw 3D leaves a lot to be desired.
The film honestly felt like it was just trap after trap after trap until we reached the finale. The traps were bigger and sure, they looked pretty great in 3-D, but they were happening to new characters; characters we didn't know or care about. It seemed like they tried to cram as many traps they could into an hour and a half to capitalize on the 3-D trend. On one hand, that isn't all bad. If you're a fan of the series, you'll probably still enjoy the countless amount of traps (seriously, you won't be able to remember all of them after it ends). If the film was just another Saw sequel, these bigger traps and new characters would be fine. But this is labeled as the last film of the franchise and other than what's revealed in the final minutes of the film, nothing is answered or unanswered that wasn't revealed in Saw VI.
The script seemed pretty horrid at times. Coincidentally, both examples are from the Detective Gibson character. So maybe just his dialogue was written terribly. At one point, Gibson calls Jill, "crazier than a sack full of cats." Who says that? Even a crazy person who witnessed someone putting a bunch of cats in a bag would think that was lame. Later on in the film when Gibson is talking to Jill, he literally says the word, "crazy," about every other word. This isn't the exact dialogue, but it went something like, "I knew you were crazy the moment I set my eyes on you, you crazy woman. You're crazy. Crazy. I knew you were crazy." So hey, did you hear? Gibson thinks Jill is crazy. It was just very redundant, but many would use that word to describe the Saw films anyway.
The biggest issue of the whole film is the lack of John Kramer. He literally has like two flashback scenes and an intro video. That's it. Sure, the man died four films ago and he's been surviving on flashbacks and memories ever since, but Tobin Bell doesn't deserve top billing if he's only in the film for five minutes. The highlights of the film mostly lie in the short amount of screen time Dr. Gordon gets. Cary Elwes' return to Saw was probably the biggest drawing point of the film. The problem is that when you bring a character back from a previous film, especially in the Saw films, you can probably guess what that person was brought back for. So the predictability was a bit of a letdown.
The ending itself actually made it feel like Saw 3D was a return to form or at least an attempt to get back to its roots, which sounds pretty good on paper but isn't once you see it on-screen. Unless Saw 8 actually winds up happening and continues on with mostly new characters, then the whole thing feels like nothing more than a huge tease.
Saw 3D is not a satisfying conclusion to a horror franchise that has run the past seven years as it leaves too many unanswered questions to gratify hardcore fans, but is still fairly entertaining thanks to its endless amount of traps and return of Dr. Gordon. The film does seem to wrap up everything for the John Kramer character, but makes you wonder if the series is really done or if it was left open ended on purpose in case it does well at the box office for the seventh year in a row. At the end of the day, Saw 3D may be considered a pointless sequel that will either leave fans wanting a more definitive conclusion or wishing it never happened.