The Establishing Shot: SAW: The Final Chapter (Extreme Edition) Review

Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Monday, March 07, 2011

SAW: The Final ChapterSAW the highest grossing horror franchise comes to an end - with a bang and not a whimper. I’m pretty sure anyone reading this has seen or at a very minimum is aware of one of the 7 SAW films as well as who Jigsaw is, such is its proliferation into popular culture’s consciousness that it has spawned console games, multiple theme parks, fan events as well as a comic.

SAW: The Final Chapter

The story of SAW started back in 2004 when Australian filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannel pitched their idea to Hollywood. After making a short film as proof of concept, they were given the green light and £1.2 Million. They made SAW in 23 days. The rest is history.

As a refresher below is a brief summary of the SAW saga up to SAW 7 aka SAW 3D or rather SAW : The Final Chapter or SAW 3D: The Final Chapter. As well as an infographic showing the SAW characters and which of the SAW films they are in.

Two men wake up with a dead body lying between them. The men must follow various rules and objectives if they wish to survive and win the deadly game set for them.

How far would you go to save your own life? Prepare yourself for a gut-wrenching trip into the heart of terror with SAW, Lions Gate Films’ gripping horror film starring Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter and Leigh Whannell. Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer is abducting morally wayward people and forcing them to play macabre games for their own survival. Faced with impossible choices, each victim must struggle to win back his/her life, or else die trying…

Stars: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell and Danny Glover

“Hello, Michael. I want to play a game…”

Jigsaw is back. The brilliant, disturbed mastermind who wreaked havoc on his victims in last year’s SAW is back for another round of horrifying life-or-death games. When a new murder victim is discovered with all the signs of Jigsaw’s hand, Detective Eric Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg) begins a full investigation and apprehends Jigsaw with little effort. But for Jigsaw, getting caught is just another part of his nefarious plan. Eight more of his victims are already fighting for their lives – and now it’s time for Mathews to join the game…

Jigsaw locks a few unlucky people in a booby trapped shelter and they must find a way out before they inhale too much of a lethal nerve gas and die. But they must watch out, for the traps Jigsaw has set in the shelter lead to death also.

Stars: Donnie Wahlberg, Beverley Mitchell and Franky G

With his new apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith), Jigsaw, the puppet-master behind the cruel, intricate games that have terrified a community and baffled police, has once again eluded capture and vanished. While city detectives scramble to locate him, Doctor Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) and Jeff (Angus Macfadyen) are unaware that they are about to become the latest pawns on his vicious chessboard.

Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen through a brutal test.

Stars: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith and Angus Macfadyen

Saw IV
Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead. Now, upon the news of Detective Kerry's murder, two seasoned FBI profilers, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez, arrive in the terrified community to assist the veteran Detective Hoffman in sifting through Jigsaw's latest grisly remains and piecing together the puzzle. However, when SWAT Commander Rigg is abducted and thrust into a game, the last officer untouched by Jigsaw has but ninety minutes to overcome a series of demented traps and save an old friend or face the deadly consequences.

Stars: Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson and Louis Ferreira

Saw V
In the fifth installment of the SAW franchise, Hoffman is seemingly the last person alive to carry on the Jigsaw legacy. But when his secret is threatened, Hoffman must go on the hunt to eliminate all loose ends.

Following Jigsaw's grisly demise, Mark Hoffman, the final apprentice to the serial killer is deigned a hero. Meanwhile, Agent Strahm continues to track Hoffman while another group of strangers are put through a series of gruesome traps.

Stars: Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor and Tobin Bell

Saw VI
Special Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw's legacy. However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw's grand scheme is finally understood.

Stars: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor and Mark Rolston

Which brings full circle to SAW: The Final Chapter

I have seen all the SAW films and went from being impressed that someone managed to get Cary Elwes and Danny Glover in an innovative fairly hardcore horror film. Look I’m sure it has a more appropriate sub genre categorisation but I’m old school, and if the film has a creepy puppet and a twisted guy setting up death traps it’s Horror. Anyway I went from impressed to being mildly interested. Even though at one point I had a Saw-athon and watched 6 of the Saw films back to back. But in all honesty couldn’t tell you what happened after the third film.

I think they did an admirable job, stayed innovative and stuck to the core principals that made the first one interesting while exploring the Jigsaw universe.

By the last chapter we have come full circle: “As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror.”

Firstly let me say I saw, SAW: The Final Chapter (Extreme Edition) so I can’t vouch for the regular version but this version was pretty brutal & bloody. I’m pretty sure it is the most gruesome of the series so far as probably way up on the list of hardcore visual horror.

In a nice touch SAW: The Final Chapter starts where the first SAW ended. And we are reminded where it all began. We are then taken to a packed public square where in a large glass display room? In the room we see two guys and a girl locked into a Jigsaw deathtrap. Turns out the girl has been seeing both guys. The guys have to decide whether to kill each other or the girl dies. What follows is classic Jigsaw. A moral dilemma that can only have a completely gruesome ending either way it goes. I saw the first 8 minutes of SAW: The Final Chapter in 3D and can say the 3D brought a whole new level of gross to SAW.

There is almost a dual narrative going on in the Final Chapter. In one story we pick up right where SAW VI ended with the same characters fighting it out, that is Jigsaw’s protégé Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and Jigsaw’s ex-wife Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) Jill exposes Mark Hoffman. This raises the stakes of their cat & mouse game and sparks off a new player trying to stop “Jigsaw”.

In the second story we explore the universe of SAW a little further and are introduced to Bobby Dagen played by Sean Patrick Flanery. Bobby is one of the few living survivors of a Jigsaw death trap. He has subsequently written a book on his experience and has become a fairly famous. He is also an inspiration to many after surviving the ordeal. I’m pretty sure you already know where this is going. Unfortunately Bobby drags his close circle of associated into the firing line with him.

Both stories merge fairly early on around the casualties of another gruesome Jigsaw deathtrap. Again I can’t say what the regular edition is like but in the Extreme Edition this trap inflicted upon some racial supremacists is pretty gruesome. The rest of the film pretty much follows the SAW formula; the police try stop “Jigsaw” whilst a group of victims try survive a deathtrap against a clock with some surprises along the way.

I enjoyed SAW: The Final Chapter much in the same way I enjoy a decent burger. Fairly good at the time but after a little while you don’t really remember it. Even though SAW: The Final Chapter has the highest production budget, it does feel a little lower budget than previous efforts. I’m guessing this had a lot to do with paring down the visuals to make the 3D more effective. But if you are not watching it in 3D it loses some of the previous viscerality while it brings the series to a close. Or does it? If you watch SAW: The Final Chapter with the producers commentary on they are more than happy to hear your ideas for the next one.

SAW: The Final Chapter (Extreme Edition) DVD includes:

- Producers' Audio Commentary which does have some interesting bits of info from across the SAW series.
- Writers' Audio Commentary
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Music Videos

SAW: The Final Chapter
Director: Kevin Greutert
Stars: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor and Betsy Russell

The last chapter in the world’s most successful horror franchise in history SAW : The Final Chapter (Extreme Edition) is available DVD & 3D Blu-ray as of yesterday Monday 7th March.

Also available from 7th March is SAW: The Final Cut - the Limited Edition Ultimate Collection of all 7 movies!

SAW: The Final Cut

To purchase SAW : The Final Chapter (Extreme Edition) or SAW: The Final Cut - the Limited Edition Ultimate Collection of all 7 movies! head over to Play

SAW: The Final Chapter (Extreme Edition) Review


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