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Judge Bill Gibron • Location: Tampa, FL
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Blood Bath
November 2nd, 2006 11:34PM

The power of gore…a thing some deplore…cleaning my soul. Nothing gives a grue-loving horror fan like myself a bigger jaundiced jolt than a movie that promises buckets and barrels of blood and then actually delivers in dynamic, drenching deluges. Usually, those of us with a craving for claret have to wait for the ubiquitous "unrated director's cut" DVD of a cinematic scarefest to get our fair share of sluice, especially with the MPAA's determination to snip and clip anything remotely repugnant out of the theatrical experience. Even the hardest "R"s – films like Hostel, etc. – are trimmed of excessive elements to make the parental replacement guardians of generic taste happy. As a result, your film is more easily marketable, especially if you can dry it down to a thoroughly antithetical PG-13. That's why home video has become the safe haven for those of us desperate for decapitations, delighted by disemboweling, and happy whenever a body is hacked, hobbled or otherwise torn into a thousand tasty morsels.

I know, it makes me sound sick, but I don't buy into the psychological dictum that argues for the universal effects of violence on the human consciousness. Will viewing excess splatter cause some people to snap, turning their attentions unnaturally to things dark and disturbing. Absolutely. Should it keep more levelheaded individuals like myself from seeing a good old fashioned zombie gut grinder? Hell friggin' no! Certainly, desensitization and the notion of becoming blasé to massive bloodletting are important ideas for study, but if I'm going to a movie about axe murders, blades better be cleaving skulls. Without the gore, what's the point? That's why I'm so shocked and amazed that Saw III managed to make it into the local Cineplex with so much of its splashy arterial spray intact. It is safe to say that those who'd rather not witness the systematic dismantling of the human carcass should avoid this film at all costs. This is a movie where rib cages are ripped open, arms and legs are twisted in two, and heads are opened so that full blown brain surgery can be viewed in complete disturbing detail.

Credit has to go to the Saw savants Leigh Whannel and James Wan for continuing the carnage they created so successfully with the original Saw. Somehow, they managed to get Darren Lynn Bousman on board as well. After helming the good, if somewhat generic Saw II, the second time is clearly the charm for this directorial newbie. He gets into the splatter spirit early and often. What's particularly fulfilling, especially in light of all the wonderfully disgusting Jigsaw puzzle setpieces in the film, is how rounded and deep the narrative is. Almost all the characters, from serial killer in training Amanda (Shawnee Smith bringing it once again) to desperate, disconnected doctor Lynn go through some major mental changes during the course of the story, and Bousman allows the movie to meander to provide such a potent underscoring. Also, unlike other franchise films, Saw III actually makes an effort to incorporate elements we saw in the first two installments to keep the overall concepts linked and truly fascinating. Considering the way the film ends, it will be interesting to see how Saw IV (yes, it's already tagged for Halloween 2007) keeps the series stable.

This is definitely not a film for all fright fans, however. As a matter of fact, anyone who thinks the original Saw pushed the limits of atrocity acceptability ain't about to cotton to III's numerous nauseating moments. Watching someone smash their own foot into a pliable pulpy mess, witnessing a 'game participant' pierced through several parts of his body, including an incomparably large bull hook through his chin, observing maggot-ridden dead pigs being 'food processed' into a torturous goo, are just a few of the foul moments in a film filled with such lunch launching inducements. Other MPAA addled moviemakers should get themselves a copy of the Saw III cut to argue for their own onscreen splatter. There are facets of this flick that, in retrospect, still cause my jaw to drop. With so many Indie filmmakers promising the pus but completely unable to deliver, it's wonderful to see a legitimate mainstream offering bringing the bile. Saw III may not be the scariest, or most successful horror film ever made, but if you're looking for your pound of fright fan flesh, you'll get a nice craven corpse-full with this shockingly sick flick.

7.5 out of 10

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