After its predecessor’s vain attempt at newsworthy health-insurance and mortgage-lender commentary, this latest Saw again strives for relevance via the trendiest gimmick available: 3-D! Or, rather, post-production conversion 3-D, which further uglifies its flat, gloomy aesthetics, and thus proves in keeping with the overall cruddy nature of Lionsgate’s annual horror soap opera. In this seventh and purportedly final chapter, Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) continues carrying on the work of serial killer mentor Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) by targeting Jigsaw’s ex-wife (Betsy Russell), a disloyal cop (Chad Donella), and an author (Sean Patrick Flanery) profiting off false claims about having survived a Jigsaw apparatus. From its murky mythology and preachy blather about embracing life through death traps, to its grim green-black color palette and schizo editing, Saw 3D is the same old putrid corpse, providing predictably gruesome Rube Goldberg–ish torture mechanisms as well as obligatory flashbacks that allow Bell to cameo as his deceased psycho. Given its disinterest in plot or character, the film’s aim to bring its convoluted saga full-circle through the reappearance of original Saw victim Carey Elwes merely reeks of desperation, a futile final stab at imparting significance to a creatively bankrupt franchise that need not be resuscitated.
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