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I wanted to kill him everyday. For three years I wanted to kill you.
— Jeff confronts the murderer of his son[src]

Jeff Denlon is a fictional character from the Saw franchise as well as one of the main protagonists of Saw III. He was portrayed by Angus Macfadyen.

Biography

Family Tragedy

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Jeff witnesses Dylan's death

Jeff Denlon was the husband of Dr. Lynn Denlon, a surgeon working at the Angel of Mercy Hospital, with whom he had two children, Dylan and Corbett. However, his life changed dramatically when Dylan died at the age of 8. While the two of them were playing outside, Dylan accidentally drove on the street with his bicycle and was thereby hit by the car of drunk driver Timothy Young. Shocked by this, Jeff ran on the street to help his son. However, he came too late to save him. At the same time, a woman named Danica Scott drove by. Jeff yelled at her to stay, but out of fear, Danica fled the scene.

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Jeff and Lynn in an argument

Life dealt him another heavy blow when Halden, the presiding judge in his case, sentenced Timothy Young to merely six months in prison. From then on, Jeff suffered from severe depressions and developed a strong obsession with vengeance, not only against Timothy Young, but also against Judge Halden and Danica Scott, whose testimony might have helped to bring justice to Timothy with a harder punishment. As his depressions worsened, Dylan's death also affected his marriage as he started to neglect himself and his family and instead indulged in thoughts of revenge. This led to numerous arguments between him and Lynn, who therefore began to neglect their daughter, Corbett, as well and finally left the two of them. As he was unable to deal with Dylan's death, he kept everything in Dylan's room the way it was before. Therefore, he occasionally berated his daughter when she took one of her late brother's toys. (Saw III)

Abduction

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Jeff in Dylan's room

Three years after Dylan's death, Jeff's vengefulness and his neglection of Corbett ultimately made him a target of John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer. One day, while he was drunk, he stood in front of a mirror in Dylan's room. Filled with anger, he yelled at his own reflection and threatened it with a gun, imagining it to be Timothy Young. However, he eventually came back to his senses and thereby noticed that one of Dylan's old cuddly toys, a pink plush pig, was missing. Therefore, he angrily went to his daughter's bedroom, who immediately woke up as he began to search her room. As he couldn't find the pig, he sat down on Corbett's bed and pulled back her blanket, revealing that she held the pig in her arms. Corbett explained that she just wanted it so she could sleep, but Jeff took it away, berating her as he had told her numerous times not to touch anything in Dylan's room. After that, he caressed her hair, before returning to Dylan's room. (Saw III)

Minutes later, Corbett entered the room while her father sat on Dylan's bed and apologized to him. Jeff told her that he loved her and asked her what her mother would say if she could see them now. Not knowing what to say, Corbett left the room to prepare herself for school. When he was alone, he stood up and put a red cloth in the closet which he had used to cover his gun so Corbett wouldn't see it. Unknown to him, he wasn't alone in the room as someone had invaded their house. Moments later, the invader, who had disguised himself with a sinister pig mask, subdued Jeff and his daughter. This invader was in fact Detective Mark Hoffman, an apprentice of John Kramer. After sedating them, he took their unconscious bodies to John's hideout at the abandoned Gideon Meatpacking Plant, where he locked up Corbett in a room along with her cuddly toy and trapped Jeff inside a large wooden crate located in a storage area near the building's delivery entrance. (Saw III, IV)

Trial

When Jeff woke up again, he immediately panicked and screamed for help. However, he managed to calm down when he found a tape recorder in the corner of the box. The tape told him that he had been chosen for one of Jigsaw's games due to his vengefulness. In order to escape the building, Jeff would have to face a series of tests in order to learn to finally forgive the people he deemed responsible for his own fate and the fate of his son. Thereby, Jigsaw promised him that he would finally be able to confront the murderer of his son. However, if he refused to play his game, Jigsaw told him that the doors would lock after two hours and he would die in this place.

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Jeff finds the key

After listening to the tape, Jeff angrily thrashed around to get out of the crate, which ultimately fell over. As it had been lifted up by a pallet transporter, Jeff fell several feet until the crate broke upon hitting the ground. Dazed by the impact, Jeff hallucinated and briefly remembered the final moments before his abduction. However, eventually came to his senses and braced up. Still confused by the situation, he armed himself with a wooden slat and yelled through the hallways if someone was there. After a few steps, he saw a security camera and wielded the slat before it. However, when there was no reaction, he noticed a small box standing on a barrel. In the box, there was key as well as a message which said: "Open the door, Jeff". Additionally, there was a snippet of a photo, showing himself during the time where his son was still alive and they still were a happy family. After picking everything up, Jeff went on and began to explore the building. (Saw III)

First Test

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Jeff finds his first test

After a while, Jeff entered a long hallway, which was barely illuminated by the flickering ceiling lighting. As he carefully went on, he ultimately came across a door which had the words "Face you fears" written on it in big red letters. Despite his initial hesitation, Jeff eventually opened the door, causing a cold air draft blew towards him. As he entered the freezer room, he saw a dark human silhouette before him. However, when he further approached it, the door behind him suddenly slammed shut. Frightened witless, Jeff tried to open it again but stopped when the lights turned on and enabled him to see the woman who was entirely naked and chained by her arms to the ceiling in the center of the room. As he came closer, the woman suddenly moved, causing Jeff to realize that she was still alive. The woman, who was immediately scared by the situation and initially thought that Jeff had done this to her, talked to him and begged him to help her, as she was freezing and already couldn't feel her arms anymore. Jeff immediately tried to free her from her chains with the key he had found at the beginning of his test. As the key didn't fit the lock, he tried to open the padlock of the second door out of the room. However this attempt remained unsuccessful as well. A few moments later, he finally noticed a tape recorder on the floor in the corner of the room.

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Jeff and Danica in the freezer room

Upon playing the tape, Jigsaw introduced Jeff to the woman. Just when he told him that she was in fact Danica Scott, the only witness of Dylan's death, Jeff finally recognized her. As she was chained up, she wouldn't have any chance to run away like she did three years ago. Jigsaw offered him the chance to take revenge on her by just letting her freeze to death, but also told him, that he could save her by obtaining the key to her chains, which hung from a wire behind several cooling pipes on the room's back wall. When the tape ended, two metal contraptions positioned to the right and to the left of Danica, began to spray cooling water on her naked body. Danica began to scream and only calmed down when the water was turned off again. Again, she begged Jeff to help her. However, he refused to do so and merely watched her as he was still filled with anger because she had fled the scene of his son's death years ago and thereby prevented his killer from getting his rightful punishment. At this moment, the water was turned on again for a few moments, again spraying Danica's body. When the water stopped once more, she apologized for her mistake and begged Jeff to look at her. Just when he did, the water was sprayed on her skin again, causing Jeff to finally take action. He quickly went to the back wall and tried to grab the key.
JeffTouchesFrozenDanica

Jeff touches Danica's face

However, he stopped when he couldn't hear Danica screaming anymore. Upon returning to her, he saw that her body was almost entirely covered in a thin coat of ice. Hesitantly, he touched her face and suddenly backed away when the coat cracked under his fingers. Thinking that he still had a chance to save her, he tried one more time to grab the key behind the cooling pipes. This time, he was successful, but while doing so, his right cheek stuck to one of the pipes due to the immense coldness. Under great pain, Jeff finally pulled back and thereby tore off some of the skin from his cheek. With the key in his possession, he returned to Danica and tried to free her. However, the chain as well as Danica herself were already covered in eyes. Realizing he couldn't save her anymore, he wiped his hand over her face as if he closed her eyes and then left the room by using the key on the second door.

Upon escaping the freezer room, Jeff took off bath robe, which was wet through due to the water from the shower contraptions. After doing so, he sat down on the floor and tried tried to realize what just had happened, when he suddenly noticed another small box on a barrel before him, similar to the box he had found after his initial awakening. In the box was another message which told him that "One bullet will end it all." On the back of the message, there was another snippet of the photo, showing Jeff's son, Dylan. Additionally, the box contained a single bullet. After he had picked up everything, he continued his way. (Saw III)

Second Test

JeffBilly

Jeff finds the puppet

Shortly afterwards, Jeff walked through another long hallway. While doing so, he saw a mechanical ventriloquist puppet lying on the floor next to a red tricycle. This scene closely resembled the death of his son. Feeling uncomfortable, Jeff calmly approached and carefully picked up the puppet. However, when he did so and took a look at it, the puppet began to maniacally laugh at him. Therefore, Jeff immediately dropped it and eventually saw the next door before him with the words "Time to let go" written on it. When he attempted to open it, it turned out to be quite hard as unknown to him, a contraption was attached to the other side of the door with a tightened wire that extended across the room to a control panel. However, Jeff finally managed to open it and stumbled into the room. Upon doing so, he saw how a metal pin connected to the end of the wire was pulled out of the panel. As he carefully went further into the room, the door suddenly slammed shut just like the one in the freezer room. Again, Jeff tried to open it but stopped when all of a sudden he heard the scared voice of a man screaming for help. As he followed the voice, Jeff climbed a metal stairway up to a catwalk above a large vat where he saw another audio recorder dangling from the ceiling. Upon grabbing it, he saw the man who was shackled to the bottom of the vat by a metal chain around his neck.

JeffSecondTest

Jeff is introduced to his second test

The audio tape introduced him to Halden, the presiding judge responsible for the mild prison sentence of Timothy Young. Again, Jigsaw gave Jeff two options. He could either let Judge Halden die or he could go down the stairs where a big furnace was located. Inside the furnace where all the memorabilia of his son which he had kept over the past three years. As the key to Halden's chain was hidden among Dylan's possessions, the only way to get it was by activating the incinerator, which would burn all the toys and photos until only the key was left. When the tape ended, a giant blender with multiple interlocking saws, which was connected with the vat via a chute, was activated. Just as Halden wondered about the loud sound of the saw blades, a conveyor-like contraption on the ceiling was set into motion. Seconds later, several rotten pig carcasses hanging from the conveyor were carried into the room and dropped over the saws. Thereby, they were hackled to a thick, grey, stinking pulp which was poured into the vat over the chute and dashed Judge Halden's body. Disgusted by the stench and the shocking eyesight, Jeff stepped back. Frightened and angered, Halden yelled at him that he couldn't let him die there. In return, Jeff furiously reminded him of Timothy Young and his mild sentence of merely six months in prison. In an attempt to convince Jeff to help him, Halden offered to discuss the case and told him that he could help him to get the sentence extended.
SAW3 DAY10 229

Jeff saves Judge Halden

Jeff however furiously yelled at him as Timothy had already been released long ago. In a final desperate attempt, Halden told him that he had a son himself and asked Jeff if he really wanted to become a murderer as well. Therefore, Jeff turned away and climbed down the stairway, causing Halden to panic. When he stood in front of the incinerator, Jeff tried to open its door and got angrily kicked against the vat when it didn't work. He struggled with himself, intensively thinking whether he should burn his last memorabilia of his son. However, as time went by and he heard the screams and apologies of Halden, Jeff ultimately turned on the furnace, causing all the toys of his son to be burned forever. His eyes filled with tears, but eventually he saw the key dropping into the incinerator's ash container. As soon as the flames were turned off, Jeff grabbed the key, run up the stairs again and climbed down a ladder into the vat. Disgustedly, he unlocked the shackle around Halden's neck and pulled him up, only seconds before the last torrent of pulp splashed into the vat. (Saw III)

Third Test

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Jeff and Halden find Timothy Young

From then on, Jeff and Halden continued their way together and eventually reached the next door with the words "Here's your chance" written on it. Disgusted by the stench still clinging to him, Halden took of his tie and vomited on the floor, while Jeff found another small box standing on a barrel in front of the door. Inside the box was the next message saying "One step closer to your revenge." As before, a photo snippet was glued to the back of the message, this time showing Corbett. Besides this, there was an empty gun magazine. Remembering the bullet he had found after leaving the freezer room, Jeff immediately inserted it into the magazine, when Judge Halden condoled with him over the loss of his son. However, he also claimed that even a death sentence for Timothy wouldn't have eased his suffering and tried to convince him that vengeance would only make it worth. Nonetheless Jeff was eager to continue and kicked the door open, which caused the lights inside the next room to turn on. Aroused by the noise, a man, who was trapped in a large contraption resembling a mechanic crucifix in the center of the room, began to panic and screamed for help. As Jeff approached, he finally recognized him as Timothy Young. Timothy told him to do something, but Jeff remained calm and instead started the tape recorder hanging from a wire around Timothy's neck.

JeffTheRack

Jeff plays the tape

The tape left by Jigsaw told introduced him to Timothy, stating that he was a 27-year-old medical student who once had a normal life just like Jeff until the car accident three years earlier. Now Jeff was finally given the opportunity to take revenge on the murderer of his child. Jigsaw explained that the device to which Timothy was strapped would start to twist his limbs as soon as the game began. Again, he also gave Jeff the chance to forgive Timothy. To the right of him was an elongated glass box which contained a shotgun. Connected to its trigger by a wire, the key to the trap was hanging in front of the barrel and would cause it to fire a shot once the key was removed. As the tape ended, the entrance door of the room slammed shut and the large contraption began to slowly twist Timothy's right arm counter clockwise. While Halden immediately grabbed a metal pipe from the floor and unsuccessfully tried to smash the glass box, Jeff merely stood before Timothy and watched his suffering. However, to his own surprise he soon averted his gaze in disgust and had to literally force himself to watch. Even though he was seemingly angered that this confrontation with Timothy didn't satisfy him as he always imagined, he continued to watch. Shocked by this, Halden approached him and told him to do something, but Jeff angrily pushed him away.
JeffFinalTestII

Jeff tries to save Timothy

At this point, Timothy's arm was completely twisted and as he begged Jeff for mercy, the trap started to twist his other arm as well. Halden tried to stop the device by brute force and yelled at Jeff, claiming that he would be a murderer as well if he didn't help Timothy. To the latter's horror, Jeff casually responded that he might be a murderer and had desired to kill him everyday for the past three years. However, when Timothy's arm broke and Halden reminded him of his wife and daughter, Jeff came to his senses. As the trap began to twist Timothy's right leg, Jeff went to the box and carefully removed the key from the wire, while the trap continued its grisly work. He managed to get the key just when the device had finished twisting its victim's second leg. However, unnoticed by him, Halden accidentally came into the firing line and was shot in the head by the shotgun when Jeff let go of the wire. Initially shocked by Halden's death, Jeff ran to the trap as it began to twist Timothy's head. However when he couldn't find the lock, he dropped the key and mounted the contraption, screaming that it should stop as he forgave Timothy. However, Timothy's neck was broken nonetheless as his head was twisted backwards. Shocked by the gruesome eyesight, Jeff stepped back, put off his jacket and knelt down before his corpse. (Saw III)

Final Test

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Jeff angrily glares at Amanda

As Jeff calmed down again, he continued his way through the meatpacking plant. On his way, he armed himself with a large meat hook. Eventually, he reached a chain-link fence with a door, which was unfortunately locked. However, Jeff managed to open it when he remembered the key he had found in the first box at the beginning of his game. Upon passing the door, he found another box with a message which told him that this was his "Last chance". Glued the back of the message was the final snippet of the photo, which showed Lynn this time around. Furthermore, the box contained a gun. Therefore, Jeff dropped the meat hook and inserted the previously found magazine with the single bullet in the gun. Moments later, he went through another door and entered a large hall which resembled a workshop. As he went through the area, he heard voices coming from the next room. When he came closer, he was surprised when he finally saw his wife, Lynn, in the room. As the two of them noticed each other, Lynn immediately went to him but was shot in the back by Amanda Young, the distressed apprentice of Jigsaw. Angered by this, Jeff entered the room and shot Amanda in the throat before carefully deposing his wounded wife on the floor. As he comforted her, John Kramer, who lay on a makeshift bed in the same room, watched the death of his apprentice. As she was dying, he revealed to Amanda, who had held Lynn hostage all the time, that John had tested her as he had gained knowledge of her manipulating her games and thereby gave her victims no chance to survive. When she finally succumbed to her wound, John ended her game with a saddened "Game Over", remarking her failure.

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Jeff prepares to kill Jigsaw

After Amanda had died, Jeff aimed his gun at John. The latter berated him for not having learned anything from his test, stating that his thirst for vengeance would only harm his loved ones. Furthermore, he told him that he couldn't kill him. Despite this, Jeff eventually pulled the trigger, but didn't have any bullets left. John then told him that Lynn was about to die. When Jeff comforted her and promised to bring her home, she uttered that she loved him. John then warned him that she would die if he tried to bring her away and offered to call an ambulance. Jeff eventually agreed and asked John what he wanted in exchange for his help. John demanded one final test from him to see if he had overcome his obsession with revenge. Jeff could either kill him with the tools lying on a table in the room, or he could forgive John for all the pain he had caused him and his wife, proving that he had learned from his previous tests. Jeff got up, despite Lynn begging him to stay by her side, and grabbed a circular saw from the table. He then approached John and lay his hand on his chest, stating to forgive him. However, only seconds later he raised the saw and despite Lynn desperately yelling at him to stop, he eventually slashed John's throat, while claiming again that he had forgiven him. Seconds later, a collar around Lynn's neck, which was connected with John's heart rate monitor, was activated and the room's door slammed shut.

With the last of his strength, John took out and started a tape recorder, which explained to Jeff that John had been his final test of forgiveness. Furthermore, he finally explained him what he meant when he told him that Jeff couldn't kill him, stating that he had also abducted his and Lynn's daughter, Corbett, and was the only person who knew about her whereabouts. If Jeff wanted to see her again, he had to play another game. When the message ended, John succumbed to his wounds, thereby activating Lynn's collar, which killed her by blowing off her head as soon as he flat-lined. Angered and shocked by Lynn's death and the abduction of Corbett, Jeff furiously started to scream. (Saw III)

Death

As his own gun was empty, he grabbed the gun of the deceased Amanda Young and looked for a way out. Seconds later, the door to the room was opened by Special Agent Peter Strahm, who told him to show him his hands. Jeff however aimed the gun at him and demanded to tell him where his daughter was, causing Strahm to shoot him in self-defense. (Saw IV)

Post-Mortem

Moments later, he was trapped in the room by Mark Hoffman, Jigsaw's other apprentice and successor, who locked the door behind him and turned the lights off. When Strahm found a hidden door out of the room, he received an audio tape from John who told him to stay where he was until the police arrived. However Strahm refused to do so and entered the secret hallway behind the door, leaving the dead bodies of John, Amanda, Jeff and Lynn behind him. Shortly afterwards the Metropolitan Police Department finally arrived and took the corpses to the morgue where they were examined by Dr. Adam Heffner. (Saw IV, V, VI)

Personality

After the death of his 8-year-old son, Jeff Denlon began to suffer from severe depressions and increasingly indulged in his thoughts of revenge against those he deemed responsible. He was so obsessed with his vengeance that he even rehearsed his long-yearned-for confrontation with the killer of his son. Thereby, he completely neglected himself and his wife, which resulted in numerous between them. When Lynn left him, he also further neglected his daughter, Corbett, and cared more for his dead son then he did for her. As he was never able to emotionally deal with his loss, he left everything in Dylan's room the way it was before his death and occasionally berated his daughter if she touched any of Dylan's possessions. During his captivity at the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, he seemingly overcame his thirst for revenge as he tried to save every victim from their respective traps, including Timothy Young. However, this didn't last long and in fact he still remained as vengeful as before, which ultimately resulted in his own death and the death of his wife.

Behind the Scenes

Angus Macfadyen on Jeff

Although Macfadyen had reservations about working on Saw III due to its level of violence and gore, he chose to do so because of his character’s moral dilemma. “It’s like, ‘I have to sell that reality and try to make it as real as possible.’ That was it. Like I said, if a painting of Jesus is just so-so, the detail isn’t really there, then I’ll pass it and look at the Statue of David. But if the detail is specific and it’s done correctly, then you are looking at the real thing. If the violence is disturbing as opposed to cartoonish or something - and that includes the emotional state of the people who are watching it or who it’s being done to - that’s where I think it’s important to be able to get those specifics right." Concerning Jeff's desire for revenge and whether or not he sympathized with him, he stated "Being put in that situation, I don’t know...the most important thing for me was you can have the idea of wanting to take revenge and do terrible things to people, but the reality of it is something completely different. As soon as you see that, it’s just sickening and nauseating - unless you’re just completely dissociated and a mental sociopath or insane, I guess.

When Macfayden was asked if he liked his character in an interview with IGN, the interviewer pointed out Jeff's hesitation to help out those in peril. Macfayden responded with "I think it's kind of set up in the film that even though you think he could save them, even when he tries to, it's set-up so it all seems a little too late. That was something we were discussing was how long do you wait and pause? Because if you've done that in one room, you know you can't do that in the next because otherwise it's going to be too late for that person. So we were having lots of debates. And also because each scene, you can't play them all the same. You've got to build in each one. So did I like him? I don't think he liked himself very much."

Trivia

  • In the original Saw IV script, Jeff was supposed to play another game and die in a blender trap, however it was scrapped, due to the script being changed.
  • The back of the case for Saw III calls him "Jeff Reinhart". This could have been done to hide the twist that Jeff was Lynn Denlon's husband. The surname "Reinhart" was suggested by a fan of Saw on internet message boards during a special online contest held by the filmmakers. However it wasn't used as his surname in the actual film.
  • Jeff's gun is a Smith & Wesson Model 10 HB, while the gun he later uses to kill Amanda is a Beretta 92FS.
  • In the Director's Cut of Saw III, John doesn't play the final tape himself. Instead he drops it and Jeff is knocked unconscious by the detonation of Lynn's collar. When he wakes up again, he sits down next to her, holds and kisses her hand and then starts the tape, which has a few additional lines in this version of the film. Upon learning of his daughter's abduction, he stands up and angrily yells at John's corpse.

Appearances and References

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