Saw: The Final Chapter

Movie Review #922


Nationwide release on October 29, 2010. Horror/Mystery. This film is rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language. Runs 90 minutes. American-Canadian co-production. Director: Kevin Greutert. Written by: Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan. Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Cary Elwes, Sean Patrick Flanery, Chad Donella, and Gina Holden.


By Alexander Diminiano

“Saw: The Final Chapter” lacks any residue of intrigue from even the worst moments of the six previous films. The first three movies served to tell the story of the first Jigsaw Killer, and the next three stories served to tell the story of the second Jigsaw Killer. You’d think that’d make “The Final Chapter” an epilogue, but it just feels too far out of place to fit that term.

“Saw: The Final Chapter” doesn’t fit that title, which it received upon its home video release, as much as it deserves its theatrical title: “Saw 3D”. Its goal is to pioneer 3-D like an 80’s horror movie, and in fact it tells less of a story than “Friday the 13th Part III in 3-D” or “Jaws 3-D”.

It’s not until the last ten minutes that the movie begins an effort to bring the series to a close. I’ll admit, though, that when it does, the result is a really exciting twist ending.

Kevin Greutert did so well with “Saw VI”, but there’s a valid reason for the stupidity in “Saw: The Final Chapter”: Greutert was in the middle of a completely separate project when, two weeks before “The Final Chapter” went into production, he was summoned in to replace David Hackl (“Saw V”). Needless to say, Greutert copped out here. Though “The Final Chapter” is by far the worst of the series–so bad that it’s actually kind of fun. It may be a horrible wrap up to the series, but it’s so campy and careless that it seems to fly by in its 90 minutes. (Which I don’t remember any of the previous films doing.)

Cary Elwes isn’t at all the same character he was in the first “Saw”. He’s actually quite a bit like the narrator from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, if the truth be told. Oh and the cast is a guessing game. Is that Tim Roth? And Shelley Duvall? Nope, wait, never mind, those are just their Canadian lookalikes. I can’t say that they’re even actors; they’re just lookalikes playing dead–er, tortured–for a camera.

The acting and the script have never been worse in the “Saw” series. I mean, come on. Jigsaw leaves aphorisms all over this movie: ones that supposedly advise those he hasn’t yet tortured to value their lives. He writes these in human blood on the walls of some building, as if vandalizing walls is his idea of writing Poor Richard’s Almanack.

Sometimes, “Saw: The Final Chapter” plays out like more of an action movie than a horror movie. Traps come and go randomly, often with no explanation, and as for what relates one trap to the next, it’s not the story, it’s the fact that they’ve both been filmed in 3-D. The best trap here is the one that was apparently banned from every previous “Saw” movie, but was too good not to include in the (supposedly) final chapter. This trap stars Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame as a racist, who is forced to sit in the driver’s seat of a car that has been bolted to the floor of a garage, and accelerate in place to free him from the seat which his back has been hooked to. Lo, if he hasn’t managed to free himself after exactly sixty seconds, the car will accelerate straight through the garage door and he will go straight through the windshield. Oh and there’s several people attached to the car in some brutal way or another, who will die with him if he fails. The scene wasn’t banned from the final cut, but it still required extensive edits.

“Saw: The Final Chapter” really suffers under the burden of making it all in 3-D. The plot is what you get when writers walk around in the dark, constantly ramming into each other. The cinematography is weird, and the props master seems to have one task: throw crap at the audience. But of course, “The Final Chapter” is on home video at this point, and it offers an awkward 2-D image. Even the blood falters at the expense of trying to make it look good in 3-D. It looks terrible in 2-D. Often times it looks cartoonish, sometimes even like grape jelly. That’s what you’d find in The Evil Dead, a film produced on a half a million dollars back in the 1980’s. “Saw: The Final Chapter” cost over 30 times that to produce, much of which I don’t doubt was for up-to-date computer technology, and even so, the blood is dreadfully rendered. You could do better with food coloring and corn syrup. Hell, you could probably make a feature-length horror movie better than this using only the contents of your refrigerator. It just wouldn’t be quite as fun.


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