Initial Note: I refuse to call this film by its official name "Saw 3D" because its a stupid gimmick and a poor choice on filmmakers in an attempt to make this film stand out from the rest of the franchise and sell more tickets. From this point on this film will be referred to as "Saw VII". Thank you.
Was I excited for "Saw VII"? How can I not be? "Saw VI" was a return to form for the series as it focused down on the lessons learned through the traps. So "Saw VII" should do this too right? Sort of. Although the storyline is pretty interesting (both main plots) and the general things one looks for in a "Saw" film are all there, the blending and execution of these elements is where the film lacks and makes it only mediocre in the franchise.
PLOT A: Dagen (Flanery) is the author of a bestselling novel called 'S.U.R.V.I.V.E.' where he discusses surviving a Jigsaw trap. He calls to arms to find the positive parts of the lessons learned for survivors of the traps and happens to make a shit load of cash doing it. Too bad Jigsaw gets rather pissed about this because Dagen is a liar. So Dagen is thrown into an abandoned place and must save all of his conspirators in his lie eventually leading to a final challenge to save his unknowing wife. Can he do it in time and follow his own advice?
PLOT B: At the end of "Saw VI" we had Jigsaw ex-wife Jill Tuck (Russell) loading new Jigsaw Det. Hoffman (Mandylor) into the bear trap headset. Luckily (not for Tuck) Hoffman survives with only some minor face tearing. Now Hoffman is out to take out Tuck and get his revenge all the while setting up one of Jigsaw's final traps (Plot A) to distract police while he tries to infiltrate the police station and get him some Tuck.
As you can see, there are two distinctive plot lines going on with "Saw VII". Both are quite interesting generally and both are distinctly "Saw" story lines that we have become something we are all dying to see continue on. The poor part about this one is that they don't intertwine like they should. Although they attempt to intertwine them, its mostly surface level and rather weak. Throw in some poorly developed subplots in those (including a poorly acted IA cop looking to score on Hoffman and poorly developed story that includes a random machine gun climax that comes completely out of the blue and makes no sense) and there just seems to be an odd loss of focus in the plots.
Luckily, for us the two stories do rock when they do. Although we get very little new material in back story for most of the big characters sans a new surprise appearance by "Saw" alumni Cary Elwes as Dr. Gordon (although I'm pretty sure that there was a footless corpse in one of the previous entries that we were to assume as him...oh well) the film does like to throw its own surprises that work quite well even if they get pretty obvious later on. The film does come full circle by the end (it IS the final chapter right? -_-) but it leaves it open for continued franchising.
Although "Saw VII" does have some great and unique traps, on a side note this was the first saw I gagged at with the key on a string sequence - if you saw it you know it, and its plots are fairly well developed. Its just poor blending of some of the plots and subplots that hurts the overall experience. I also have some issues with some of the films twists but I won't go into those without giving away some crucial spoilers. If you want to talk about it shoot me a message on Facebook or an email to Blood Brothers. Otherwise, I still liked "Saw VII" its just not near the best of the franchise.
BONUS RANT: I saw this one in 3D, my first 3D experience mind you, and I thought that it felt like the film forgot it was in 3D more often than not. Except for a few moments thrown in of CGI gore and a dream sequence seemingly thrown in just for the 3D, there really is no reason to see it in 3D.
Written By Matt Reifschneider