Saw 3D (or Saw VII and released on home media as Saw: The Final Chapter) is a 2010 3D horror film directed by Kevin Greutert, written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and starring Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Cary Elwes. It is the seventh of the Saw film series, and the only film in the series to be in 3D. The film focuses on a man who claims to be a Jigsaw survivor and writes a book detailing his experience, becoming a local celebrity. He soon finds himself part of a real Jigsaw game where he must ultimately save his wife. Meanwhile, Jill Tuck explains to an internal affairs officer that rogue Detective Hoffman is the man responsible for the recent Jigsaw games; Tuck is put under police protected custody while officers search for Hoffman.
An eighth installment was planned, but the decrease in the box office performance for Saw VI compared to previous installments led to Saw 3D being the final planned film in the series, and the plot concept for Saw VIII being incorporated into Saw 3D. Saw V director David Hackl was to direct the film, but two weeks before filming Lionsgate announced that Greutert, who directed the sixth film, would direct. Principal photography took place in Toronto, Ontario from February to April 2010 and was shot with the SI-3D digital camera system, as opposed to shooting with traditional cameras and later transferring to 3D in post-production.
Saw 3D was originally scheduled to be released on October 22, 2010, but was pushed back a week to October 29, 2010, in the United States and Canada; it was released a day earlier in the United Kingdom and Australia. The film was initially rated NC-17 (no children 17 and under admitted) by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and had to be edited and re-submitted six times to finally receive an R rating. In Australia, the film received an R18+ rating despite all the previous installments having an MA15+ for their theatrical release. Saw 3D opened at number one making over $22.5 million. It received largely negative reviews from critics.
In a flashback sequence following the first film, Lawrence Gordon crawls from the Bathroom to find help after sawing off his foot. Along the way, he finds a steam pipe and uses it to cauterize his ankle stump. In the present, Ryan and Brad awaken in a metropolitan store front window in front of a crowd of people. Their wrists are bound to a worktable on either side of a buzz saw, and their mutual lover, Dina, is bound and suspended above a third saw. Jigsaw's puppet gives them the option of fighting over Dina one last time by killing the other or allowing Dina, who has coerced both men into performing illegal acts, to die, and the men choose to allow her to be lowered onto the saw, killing her.
After witnessing Mark Hoffman survive the Reverse Bear-Trap, Jill Tuck goes to Matt Gibson, an internal affairs detective at Hoffman's precinct, and incriminates Hoffman as an accomplice to the Jigsaw killings in exchanged for immunity and protection. Meanwhile, Hoffman abducts four racist skinheads and puts them in a trap in an abandoned junkyard that kills all four of them. He leaves the reverse bear-trap for Gibson, who finds Jill's fingerprints and puts her into protective custody. After a gathering of past Jigsaw survivors - including Lawrence, using a foot brace and cane - takes place, Hoffman abducts the host, Bobby Dagen, a self-help guru who became famous by selling his story of surviving a Jigsaw trap. Bobby awakens in a cage in an abandoned asylum, where a videotape reveals that he has never been tested. He is given 60 minutes to escape the cage, navigate through the asylum and save his wife, Joyce. The cage is suspended above a floor of spikes, but Bobby escapes and begins making his way through the asylum.
In his first test, Bobby finds Nina, his publicist, in a straitjacket with four spikes set to pierce her neck, her trap representing "Speak No Evil". The noise level in the room cannot rise above a whisper, or else the spikes will drill closer to her neck; Bobby must pull the key and fishhook from her stomach within a minute, or she will be killed by the spikes. He fails to unlock the device in time, and the spikes stab her throat and kill her. In his second test, Bobby finds Suzanne, his lawyer, strapped in place within a wheel, her trap representing "See No Evil". The wheel will turn and push her eyes and mouth into spikes within one minute unless Bobby can lift two metal poles with his shoulders and stop the wheel. However, doing so causes two more spikes to push into Bobby's ribs, and he is unable to hold the poles for long enough, resulting in Suzanne's death. In his third test, Bobby finds Cale, his closest friend and co-conspirator in his rise to wealth, in a floorless room with few support beams to cross over. Cale is hooked to a noose and blindfolded, and will be hanged within one minute unless Bobby can help him cross the room enough to toss him the key. The key falls into the lower level, and Cale is hanged.
Throughout Bobby's tests, Hoffman sends videos to Gibson. The first asks for Jill to be handed to him in return for ending the games. When Gibson ignores this, Hoffman sends another video offering cryptic clues to his location. Gibson finds a homeless shelter, where he realizes the location of the asylum, and infiltrates it along with a SWAT team. He leaves the SWAT team to look for the victims while he gets Hoffman, whose control room is in the junkyard. The SWAT team soon becomes sealed in another section of the asylum and are all killed by toxic gas. Gibson finds Hoffman's control room, where he discovers that Hoffman has hacked the police security system and realizes that Hoffman has been brought to police headquarters posing as one of the corpses. Before he can warn his partner, an automatic turret gun kills him and both of his men. Hoffman kills Dr. Heffner upon being brought into the headquarters and begins looking for Jill, killing everyone in his path. He finds her in a holding cell and kills Detective Rogers, her guard. Jill manages to escape by stabbing Hoffman in the neck with a small needle, which fails to kill him. Jill tries to hide but Hoffman finds her and quickly knocks her out. Hoffman restrains her to a chair and secures the original Reverse Bear-trap to her head, which rips her face open, killing her.
After removing his upper wisdom teeth to retrieve a combination to a secured door, Bobby reaches Joyce. He must drive two hooks through his pectoral muscles, the trap he claimed to survive, and hoist himself up by the chains to deactivate her trap. However, the hooks rip through his muscles and he falls to the ground. The timer expires, and a brazen bull capsule slams shut around Joyce and incinerates her. Hoffman returns to his workshop, which he douses in gasoline and sets on fire, destroying it. As he leaves attacked and subdued by three pig-masked figures. The leader takes off his mask, revealing himself to be Lawrence Gordon (In the commentary, it's revealed that the two who assisted Lawrence were Brad and Ryan from the public trap). Flashbacks reveal that John Kramer found Lawrence by the steam pipe and helped him recover, and Lawrence had helped John in secret ever since. Tasked with watching over Jill and taking action of anything happened to her, Lawrence brings Hoffman to the underground bathroom and shackles him by the ankle. He throws away the hacksaw he had sawed his own foot with, and then seals the door to the bathroom, leaving Hoffman to die.
A scene being constructed at the Metro Hall of Toronto in April 2010.Variety reported in July 2009 that Lionsgate greenlit Saw VII and announced David Hackl would return to direct, his last film being Saw V. Producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules, and writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan also returned. Brian Gedge replaced series' cinematographer David Armstrong. Pre-production began on September 14, 2009. According to Melton, there were plans to title the movie Saw: Endgame. Originally two sequels were planned after the sixth, but in December 2009 Melton stated in a podcast interview with the UK radio station Demon FM that Saw VII was the final installment and would address unanswered questions from previous Saw films, such as the fate of the first film's protagonist, Dr. Gordon and other Jigsaw survivors from previous films, while bringing a final resolution to the series. The storyline for a Saw VIII was combined into Saw VII; this decision was primarily due to Saw VI's below average box office performance]]. On July 22, 2010 in an interview with USA Today the producers confirmed that Saw VII will officially end the film series. Burg told Reuters that, "In every Saw movie, we left questions open and in Saw VII we answer every question the audience has ever had". He added that, "even new viewers will be able to follow and get caught up to speed".
In January 2010, Kevin Greutert, who made his directorial debut with the sixth film, was about to begin work on Paramount's Paranormal Activity 2 when Twisted Pictures suddenly dismissed Hackl and forced Greutert on the project by exercising a "contractual clause" in his contract, much to Greutert's dismay. When Greutert arrived on set two weeks before filming began, he performed a "compressive re-write" of the script. Melton explained that, "He has a lot of ideas, but it’s a bit hard and extreme to implement all of these ideas because sets have been built, people have been cast, props have been bought or created, and with the Saw films they are so specific in set design because of the traps. It becomes very problematic and difficult to change things a whole bunch right in the middle of it".
Gina Holden (Joyce) at the film's premiere.Casting began in mid-December 2009. On February 22, 2010, Cary Elwes was listed on the Toronto Film & Television's official list of personnel website for Saw 3D but on March 8 his name along with other cast members were removed from the list. The following month, Lionsgate confirmed his reprisal of the role of Lawrence Gordon, last seen in the first film. Dunstan and Melton said that Elwes was on set and filmed new scenes. The filmmakers wanted to bring Elwes back earlier, but Elwes wanted to wait until the last film. He described his character as having Stockholm syndrome. Chad Donella appeared in the film as Internal Affairs Detective Gibson, who was also Hoffman's former partner. Despite being new to the series, it was said that "You certainly won't forget Chad in Saw 3D."
Gabby West, who won the second season of Scream Queens, plays Kara in the film. Chester Bennington, the lead vocalist of the alternative rock band Linkin Park, has a role in the film playing Evan, a racist skinhead. Bennington met with an acting coach to prepare for his role. He said, "It was actually a little more difficult than I expected because it took a lot for me to figure out how to portray this guy and what exactly his motives were going to be throughout. I thought maybe I was overthinking it, and I met with this really great acting coach who helped me walk through and make sense of the, 'Motivation' ". Devon Bostick was offered to reprise his role as Brent from Saw VI, but turned it down due to scheduling conflicts.
Filming in 3D
Saw 3D was shot entirely in RealD 3D using the SI-3D digital camera system; rather than filming on set traditionally and later transferring the footage to 3D. Before choosing 3D, Burg and others viewed a minute of the original Saw film rendered in 3D and were pleased, which led to them choosing 3D for the seventh film. The sets and traps were designed to take advantage of 3D. To continue the fast pace of the previous films, the SI-3D cameras' lightweight allowed three-quarters of film to be shot handheld. Saw 3D was Greutert's first time directing a 3D film. He said in an interview with Popular Mechanics that composing a shot in 3D was tricky compared to 2D; he explained, "If you've got both cameras looking at a subject and there's a very bright sheen on the side of the person's arm that only one camera can see, there's a good chance that when you look at a composite of the two images that sheen will not register in 3D space. It looks like a mistake. These things aren't an issue at all in 2D but in 3D are obsessively problematic". Given the cost of filming in 3D, the budget was between $17 and $20 million, the most expensive of the series. Principal photography began on February 8, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario and wrapped on April 12, 2010.Saw 3D director Kevin Greutert and his wife, actress Elizabeth Rowin, at San Diego Comic-Con International 2010. Rowin has a role in the film.When determining the style of 3D shooting they wanted to use, Burg felt that the audience would want several moments where objects move into the audience, comparing this to My Bloody Valentine 3D. He acknowledged that this method would be used, but expressed an interest in shooting from the victim's perspective, similar to that of first-person shooter video games being rendered in 3D. Dunstan added that "It adds a whole new layer of discipline and criteria to creating these moments. We've had a very flat surface to try to get a reaction out of you. Now, we get to push out a bit and envelop the viewer, still maintaining the patterns that have worked and been successful, but also to raise it up a notch." Commenting on the change to filming in 3D, Bell stated it would not affect his performance or methods of acting, noting that it would be an "interesting experience". Mandylor called the 3D shoot "more tedious and longer". Flannery described the 3D aspect as being "[not] shot in 3D so that you can, per se, see blood coming directly at you. It's in 3D for the texture and the depth, for the architecture, to get a sense that you're in the scene but there's no 'we want to see blood coming at the lens' it's nothing like that. But I think we made a good movie."
Filming of the trap scenes, which was done last, began in March. The film's opening trap scene was filmed at Metro Hall in Toronto, Ontario, just outside of Roy Thomson Hall, and included 400 extras. In the trap, the circular saw blades were actually real and worked, but safety precautions were taken for the actors. One actor that was in the trap, Jon Cor, told Demon FM that he had scars on his hands from the shackles, and said the other actors, Sebastian Pigott chipped his tooth and Anne Lee Greene lost the feeling in her feet and had to receive medical attention. Producer Oren Koules told horror news website ShockTilYouDrop.com that there are eleven traps in the film, the most ever in the franchise. There is one "trap" scene in the film that producers would not allow in previous Saw films that they described as "too violent", "too disgusting", and "just wrong". Melton called said it was the Horsepower Trap, which involved a car and sets off a "chain reaction" with other characters. Gabby West was part of the trap. She told VH1, "They molded my entire face, and basically my entire upper body after my belly button. They put layers and layers of different materials on you and you have two straws in your nose so you can breathe. It was so scary! They put so much of it on, you can't see and they put it in your ears so you can barely hear anything. That was part of the prep for the film, which was really cool, to have a dummy made of yourself. But scary."
|Dr. Gordon||Cary Elwes|
|Bobby||Sean Patrick Flanery|
|Dr. Heffner||James van Patten|
|Coroner Worker||Carlos Diaz|
|Donna Evans||Christine Simpson|
|Newscaster #1||Jacintha Wesselingh|
|Newscaster #2||Claudia DiFolco|
|Newscaster #3||Kimberly Deon|
|Business Woman||Alli Chung|
|Business Man||Desmond Campbell|
|Police Officer #1||Billy Oliver|
|Police Officer #2||Liise Keeling|
|Lead SWAT Officer||Simon Northwood|
|SWAT Officers||Regan Moore|
|Limo Driver||Don Gough|
Promotion and release
Bell promoting the film at San Diego Comic-Con International 2010.On July 8, 2010, in some press materials for San Diego Comic-Con, the film was referred to as Saw 3D: The Traps Come Alive, which led to the media assuming it was the final name. The following day, Burg and Koules said that "The Traps Come Alive" was simply a tagline that had been misinterpreted as part of the title. Koules said that if they included the seventh roman numeral followed by "3D" (Saw VII 3D), it would have been "cumbersome" and not made the impact they wanted. He explained, "It was such a process in 3D, so much hard work was put in. Saw VII 3D is too much. This is like a new movie. [...]"
In the same interview, the producers addressed Saw's presence at Comic-Con 2010 in San Diego. They said that the footage that was going to be used for the convention could not get approved for the audience; Koules explained, "It's going to be different than what we've done before, we're going to be at Comic-Con but we're not in Comic-Con". The Comic-Con teaser trailer was released via IGN on July 22, 2010. The next day of the convention, the first eight minutes of the film were screened for the press and a few fans.
Saw 3D was distributed theatrically by Lionsgate in the United States and through Maple Pictures in Canada. The film was originally scheduled to be released on October 22, 2010, but in July 2010 was pushed back to October 29. It also had preview screenings on October 28, 2010 in 2,000 locations. Since the release of Saw IV, each film has been released a day earlier in Australia and New Zealand; Saw 3D continued the tradition in Australia, though the New Zealand release has been put off until March 2011. The film was initially rated NC-17 (no children 17 and under admitted) by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and had to be edited and re-submitted six times to secure an R rating. In Australia, the Australian Classification Board gave a heavy R18+ (restricted to 18 and over) for "high impact violence, blood and gore", whereas all previous Saw films were rated either MA or MA15+.
Burg said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on October 25, 2010 that the DVD will only be released in the 2D version. Lionsgate Home Entertainment released Saw 3D: The Final Chapter on January 25, 2011 in three versions. The first is a standard DVD release consisting of the theatrical version of the film, a selection of bonus features and a second disc with a digital copy; a second edition is a 2D combo pack that includes an unrated Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy of the film. The last edition of the release is a 3D combo pack consisting of an unrated Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy version of the film. According to Nielsen VideoScan chart, the DVD and Blu-ray formats placed number three.
Saw 3D had preview screenings on October 28, 2010 in 2,000 locations and made $1.7 million. It opened in wide release the following day in 2,808 locations playing on 3,500 screens, the second smallest release behind the first Saw. CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B-" on an A+ to F scale The film earned $8,976,000—$3,197 per theater its opening day taking the number one spot from Paranormal Activity 2. It grossed $22,530,123—$8,024 per theater its opening Halloween weekend, with 92% of tickets coming from more than 2,100 3D-equipped locations and 57% of the audience was under the age of 25. It had the fifth best opening weekend in the Saw series. After only four days of wide release Saw 3D had out-grossed Saw VI's $27.7 million final domestic gross. On its second weekend the film dropped 66% in ticket sales and made $7,731,075—$2,753 per theater. It moved down to the number five spot with Megamind taking its number one spot. By its third weekend it had a 63% decrease in ticket sales and was removed from 832 theaters, grossing $2,862,449—1,976 per theater. On the fourth weekend it took in $846,029—$1,050 and was removed from a further 1,170 theaters. For the Thanksgiving 5-day weekend, Saw 3D earned $182,025—$1,255 per theater, a 79% drop in ticket sales and was removed from an additional 661 theaters. Saw 3D was closed out of theaters on December 2, 2010, after 35 days of release in the United States and Canada.
Saw 3D opened in 25 territories with $14.4 million (including preview screenings) placing first place in the United Kingdom (UK) with $5.8 million, beating Saw III's $4.7 million UK opening. It opened in second place in Russia with $2.2 million; Australia and Japan grossed $909,000 and $864,800, respectively. Saw 3D grossed $12,878,181 in the UK, Ireland and Malta; $10,999,677 in Germany; $7,037,160 in Italy; $5,370,092 in Russia; and $2,424,417 in Australia. The film has grossed $45,710,178 in the United States and Canada, with $84,500,000 in other markets, for a worldwide total of $130,210,178.
Russell attending the Saw 3D premiere at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on October 27, 2010 As with the previous four Saw films, Saw 3D was not screened in advance for critics. The film received largely negative reviews from film critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 11% of 62 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 3.2 out of 10, making it the poorest reviewed film in the series. Metacritic, which assigns a normalized score out of 0-100 from film critics, gives the film a rating score of 23, based on 17 reviews.
Luke Thompson of E! Online gave the film a "B". He called the film's gore "over-the-top" and "in your face" while admitting the film had an "unusual amount of self-parody". He said the central storyline of the films was beginning to feel "played out". Rob Nelson of Variety gave the film a negative review. He called the film "relentlessly repugnant" that would please fans, but offer no surprise. He went on to say, "Apart from these limb-pulling setpieces, tech credits appear fairly shoddy, as do any 3D effects that don't include flying viscera. The editing relies on lazy flashbacks, while the dialogue remains as horrific as the killings." Kim Newman of Empire gave the film two out of five stars, calling it a "a step down from last year’s much more pointed Saw VI". He criticized the repetition of the plot but thought bringing back Jigsaw survivors was a "nice idea". He closed his review with, "There are a scattering of infallibly cringe-making horrors, but on the whole Saw 3D could do with more depth".
Eric Goldman of IGN Movies gave the film two out of five stars. He was unhappy with the little screen time Bell and Elwes had been given, saying that the time the film did spend with them, didn't have much impact. He said the traps were a step down from Saw VI, but did point out his favorite and highlight of the film as the "garage trap". About the film's 3D effects, Goldman said "The 3D is used as you might expect it to be - which is to say, this is no James Cameron immersive experience. Instead, blades jut out of the screen, and there is some fun had with blood and guts literally shooting forward at several points". Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a mixed review. He said Saw 3D is "consistent both stylistically and thematically with previous editions", but said most of the film's traps lack the "Rube Goldberg-style cleverness that marked the series". Scheck went on to say that it was "unfortunate" the creators killed Bell's character so early in the series and called Mandylor's character (Hoffman) an "exceedingly bland stand-in". He called the visual impact of the 3D "negligible" Creators of the Saw franchise, James Wan and Leigh Whannell at the premiere. Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave the film one out of five stars saying, "It’s all bunk and has been for years. These are all no-win scenarios. Whatever moral lessons were presented in the earliest Saw films seem to have been dispensed with as the movies grow more and more gruesome, with filmmakers caught up in 'What would it look like if somebody’s jaw was ripped out, or their skin was glued to a car seat?' Pandering to the 'Cool, let’s see that again' crowd has made Lionsgate rich but done nothing for this unendurable endurance contest of this long-enduring film franchise". Mike Hale of The New York Times called the film the most "straightforward" of the series and the "most consistently (though not inventively) violent". He ended his review saying, "If you see the film in a theater equipped with RealD 3D and Dolby sound, you’ll come away with a pretty good idea of what it would feel like to have flying body parts hit you in the face" Elwes reprises his role as Dr. Lawrence Gordon, last seen in the first film, in newly filmed scenes as opposed to flashbacks or archive footage. Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave the film one out of five stars. She criticized the lack of Bell's screentime saying, "What the filmmakers of the last four Saw movies have somehow overlooked is that Tobin Bell's Jigsaw is the linchpin of these films. It's right there in the title, so you'd think they'd realize what they lost when they killed him off in Saw III. But it's been downhill ever since, and we hit bottom today". She admitted that the performances have become "painfully stilted" and called the script "a jumble of nothing punctuated by barely-trying death traps". She went on to say, "It's also disappointing to watch a once-original franchise morph into a generic slasher series, in which random people are killed in banal ways just to up the body count" and closed her review with, "No matter how much money The Final Chapter makes over Halloween weekend, it's time to acknowledge that this game is over".
Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe called the film the "most gruesome and least coherent of the seven movies". He felt that some of the film's "games" were just randomly forced into the film, saying that kind of "episodic approach" and 3D works for a "far more innovative series like Jackass 3D". Morris closed his review by saying "This alleged final edition trashes the perverse morality of [Jigsaw's] legacy to make him the Jerry Springer of gore". Jason Anderson of the Toronto Star gave the film two out of four stars. He praised Saw 3D's plot for not being as confusing as previous films, for which he described as having to "generally require an encyclopedic knowledge of the series' many plot strands" in order to understand them. He thought Greutert gave the film a "pulpy energy" and described the film's traps and gore as having an "unpretentious sensibility" to films by Herschell Gordon Lewis.
- Several of the traps in Saw 3D were intended to be used in earlier films. Bobby Dagen pulling his teeth out was the original idea for Troy's Body Chains trap, and Dina being lowered onto the grinder was initially going to be what would kill Judge Halden in the Intestine Pool trap.
- Although Jigsaw intended to end the games with William Easton, it is shown he has targeted others like Bobby Dagen and the racists. It is presumed that, with the limited time he had to live, as well as Amanda breaking the rules and the possibility that Hoffman would try to walk away, and that he wanted Dr. Gordon's involvement to remain hidden, he never got around to putting them in traps, and that there may have been other targets that remained untested.
- This is the shortest Saw film at the length of 90:00.