Saw III: Unrated (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Odds are that if you’re reading this then you’re a fan of the “Saw” movies or at the very least, a fan of horror. That or you’re bored and figure you’ll see if “Saw III” is really worth it. Well, let me tell you that all three “Saw” movies aren’t your typical horror movies. Every January for the last three years, I’ve sat down and watched a new installment of these films and “scared” isn’t the word I’d use to describe how I felt while watching them. They’re tense and more of a psychological type of horror than anything else. For the uninitiated, the basic premise of all of these movies is that normal people are taken against their will and put in extreme situations. These situations involve some sort of game and the end result is usually death. The point is to make them appreciate life, but they have to be willing to sacrifice a great deal to live. Most don’t and most end up dying in one of these gruesome “games”. “Saw III” is like the others but with more of a linear plot to it.

Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is at it again. Even though he’s literally on his death bed, he’s got an apprentice in Amanda (Shawnee Smith). Amanda is the only person to ever survive one of Jigsaw’s games (see “Saw” for the whole story) and part of her newfound appreciation for life now involves carrying out the traditions set forth by Jigsaw. Jigsaw has a brain tumor and needs the help of a doctor so that his life can be prolonged. If she fails to keep him alive, the collar around her neck will go off when he dies thereby killing them both. Now that’s motivation! At the same time a grieving father, Jeff (Angus Macfayden) must make his way through a series of tests so that he can finally face his demons. In Jeff’s case, it’s the drunk driver responsible for killing his only son. Will Jeff be able to make it through the series of events and be able to forgive and forget? Will Dr. Lynn (Bahar Soomekh) be able to save Jigsaw or are they all doomed?

I have to admit that the premise behind these “Saw” movies is pretty intriguing. I think they’re somewhat similar to the “Final Destination” movies in that the plot essentially remains the same; they just swap out the actors for every new installment. These movies are highly profitable and have fairly unknown casts so my guess is that we’ll see some more of these. Then again, maybe they’ll go out on a high note. I will say that these are gruesome too, so if you have a weak stomach then you might want to watch something else. At any rate, the “Saw” movies are something to see and if any of us were put in these situations I can’t imagine how we’d react. Let’s hope it never comes to that. At any rate, fans of the first two movies will be right at home here as “Saw III” delivers the goods.

Video: How does it look?

Having just watched the standard DVD of “Saw III”, I was curious to see what differences I could discover in the Blu-ray version. As I suspected, the detail was much higher (by comparison, switching back and forth from the Blu-ray to the standard DVD makes it seem as if your TV is going in and out of focus) than in the standard DVD. The “Saw” movies have a very unique look and feel to them in that they don’t really look like a lot of other movies out there. To say they’re dark is an understatement and the 1.78:1 anamorphic image is excellent. There aren’t too many shots outside and the ones present are very dark. The entire movie has a green tint to it, giving it a very unique look and feel to it. Thankfully the transfer doesn’t falter during these scenes as I noticed very little artifacting. Edge enhancement is at a minimum as well and though there’s an abundance of grain, I think that’s what the filmmakers had in mind as opposed to a fault of the transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

The standard DVD of “Saw III” contained a fairly robust Dolby Digital 5.1 track but this Blu-ray version contains a DTS HD track, not to be confused with a DTS lossless audio mix. One is uncompressed and the other one isn’t, this one is the latter. I’ve been impressed with all three of the “Saw” movies in terms of audio and this one takes what the standard DVD offers and bumps it up, but just by a little. Everything sounds just a fraction bit cleaner here, with some of the little nuances sounding a bit more robust. Perhaps the splatter of blood with a little more “splat” or the grinding of saws giving off just a bit more than it should. Or maybe it’s just a placebo effect and it’s the exact same mix that I had heard on the standard DVD. In any case, “Saw III” sounds pretty darn good. Nary a complaint here!

Supplements: What are the extras?

Some of the earlier Blu-ray discs from Lion’s Gate have left out the supplements from their standard DVD counterparts. Thankfully this isn’t the case with “Saw III” – coming out at the same time as the DVD, this contains all of the supplements that the other one had and many are actually shot in High Definition. Additionally, there are even a couple of featurettes that aren’t present on the standard DVD. These are: “Amanda: Evolution of a killer” which provides us some insight into the character of Amanda and how she has gone from being the only survivor of the games to the person now making them. Next up is “The Writing of Saw III” which features interviews with the director and screenwriters as we delve into their heads. Additionally, this is the unrated version but having never seen the movie in theaters, I have no idea what was added. That said “Saw III” has a fairly good share of supplements starting off with no less than three commentary tracks. There are a number of key players on these tracks, namely the director Lynn Boosman and some of the other producers. They speak of the production, living up to expectations and the medieval influence of some of the torture devices used in all three movies. These tracks are informative, but not necessarily a “must hear” for fans of the movie. “The Traps of Saw III” focuses on some of the devices used in the film and this is expanded upon in “The Details of Death” which looks at the props. It’s scary to think that some of these devices were actually used on humans and I can only hope they never will be again (or at least not on me)! There are some deleted scenes and an interview with the director, Darren Lynn Boorsman. In a nutshell, if you’re a fan of these movies then this is for you but if you’re not sure, then a rental will surely suffice. If you have a choice and are so equipped, this Blu-ray version is clearly the choice to have.

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