Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saw: The Final Chapter

Directed by Kevin Greutert.
2010. Rated R, 90 minutes.
Tobin Bell
Costas Mandylor
Betsy Russell

Cary Elwes
Sean Patrick Flanery
Gina Holden
Laurence Anthony
Chad Donella

Jigsaw (Bell) is back! Well, sorta. He’s actually been dead for several movies now. To be sure, this is America’s favorite torture-porn franchise and it’s back for a seventh installment. We still get to see our twisted game master through flashbacks and hear his voice on all those ominous tapes that explain those games. I swear, this guy has left behind more recordings than Tupac. As has been the case for the  last couple movies, Jigsaw’s work is carried on by Det. Hoffman (Mandylor) who finds himself in a war with Jigsaw’s widow Jill Tuck (Russell). You may remember she ended Saw VI by  trying to kill him. She enlists the help of Det. Gibson (Donella) who apparently knows and has a beef with Hoffman. Finally, there’s Bobby (Flanery of Boondock Saints fame). He’s a Jigsaw survivor who’s written a best-seller about his ordeal.

As you can see there are a lot of pieces to this jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, when they’re put together they still don’t make any sense. The biggest problem is we have two different movies going on at the same time. On one hand, we have the Hoffman/Jill fued. This tries to advance the plot from the better than expected part VI, but it hardly feels like a Saw flick. On  the other hand, the story of Bobby, along with brief but gruesome asides involving a love triangle and a group of racists, seems to fit the franchise motif. Sadly, neither storyline seems to have anything to do with the other. Helping to fog things up even more, the movie itself appears to have no idea who’s doing what. Rhyme and reason are this chapter’s real casualties. They are left for dead as we rush along to see how the next person will die.

Many a horror flick has been guilty of that same exact sin. For various reasons, I’ve enjoyed lots of them. One of those reasons is the morbid sense of humor on display. The Final Chapter has no sense of humor whatsoever. Like the rest of the franchise, it takes itself dreadfully serious. Our dueling plots joylessly lurch forward dragging our butchered carcass through the murderous traps until we rach perhaps the most eye-rollingly bad climax of the series.

There are plenty of disgusting moments for gore-hounds. The human body is cut, impaled, squashed and ripped apart. More accurately, a number of painfully obvious dummies and rubber body parts are mutilated. This is a sad step down from the rest of the series which got the gore part right in even the worst of the series. Still, these scenes are what people come for and are easily the highlight of the film. The rest of it lacks both cohesion and a funny bone, making us feel like the ones in an inescapable trap. The makers have claimed this will be the last of the Saw movies. If this is the best they could muster for then I hope it truly is “game over.”

MY SCORE: 2/10

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