Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), a depressed man left sorrowful after his son was killed in a hit and run, wakes up in Jigsaw's (Tobin Bell) next game. He has to navigate through several games that force him to decide the fate of those involved with the car accident which will ultimately lead him to the man who put him up to these sick games. Meanwhile, Jigsaw's life is in jeopardy as his cancer worsens and his apprentice, Amanda (Shawnee Smith), kidnaps Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) and forces her to perform medical procedures to save his life. If she fails, the device Amanda places round her neck with explode, which would kill her instantly... obviously.
Yes, this is the one with the Rack trap and, yes, it is horrifying and is one of two moments that I have to look away at in the entire franchise (it was three but I got over that one). Saw III ups the horror and gore element even further. It's worth noting that this is the last Saw film that was written by the original writers as they originally envisioned it as a trilogy. One event implies that however the ending itself seems to imply otherwise. It's not exactly stapled on, it's just that it continues that Saw trend of cliffhangers. This seems more flawed than the previous entry because it tries to over complicate things. It is interesting to see the scenes with Jigsaw and Amanda as it does give more context to certain aspects of the first film and clears up most of the second yet it throws a lot at you. It's not as complicated as 2001: A Space Odyssey but, for the genre, they expect to take in a lot. It gets easier as the films go on but this is the first one to shove exposition at you.
There are still good things, not as many as the first two but still good things. I complained about the Jigsaw and Amanda scenes but they really are the best parts of the film. The develop the two characters further with a much deeper look at Jigsaw's origins and sort of enforces the idea that...he's right. Okay, he goes about mutilating and forcing people to kill themselves or each other but he is some what justified. Illegal, yes, but it starts to hit what, to me, Saw is about. Saw is cathartic. While most of the people in THIS entry aren't worthy of this punishment, we see in the previous one and later ones that you do want these people to suffer for their crimes. These are horrible people, some that are beyond the help of the legal system leaving only one action - someone has to take it upon themselves to prove there is still humanity left in them. The basic human instinct of survival kicks in and that is what Jigsaw is trying to prove. Admittedly, Saw III's traps are a bad example as most of them are innocent in this one but this was one time thing and is more designed to lift Jeff from his rut. Painful...yes but at least it doesn't happen in real life, right?.....right?
Saw III is a step down in quality but I guess you can just call that ‘Sequelitis' (meaning that it's worse just because it's a sequel). You do start to realise what Saw is really about at this point as we see the film from the perspective of a survivor and Jigsaw himself. The scenes with Jigsaw and Amanda really are the more interesting parts of the film while Jeff's scenes are filler that is in the film for the sake of violence and quite a good twist (not as good as Saw II, but still good). We're going to keep going as it gets more and more violent (not sure how they can top the rack but...I'm sure they will).
Horrifically violent and filled with pointless filler but the effects are convincing and the plot focusing on Jigsaw is the core of the film and is strong.