Brit, who is going to be our Voice of Reason, tries to calm everyone down and get them to brainstorm a way out of this. They pretty much ignore her and go back to bickering, Mallick finally getting pissed off and making a run for the keys. This activates the 60-second timer, everyone making a haphazard run for their keys and freeing themselves. Everyone except Ashley, who soon becomes the latest member of the Marie Antoinette Reenactment Society. The door to the room pops open at the conclusion of this, everyone leaving before the nail bombs go off. Brit has the bright idea of taking all five keys with her, just in case.
Hoffman leaves his base, trying to call Strahm but learning Erickson is now handling things. What? The omniscient Hoffman doesn't know something?! What madness be this? We find Strahm is currently busy researching Hoffman, pulling his files on the Jigsaw case. We learn one of the Jigsaw victims was a man named Seth Baxter, a name that should sound familiar to you. He killed his girlfriend Angelina Acomb in a domestic dispute, Angelina revealed to be Hoffman's sister. Putting two and two together, Strahm heads to the building where Seth was killed. He finds the eye hole, which smoothly transitions to a flashback of Hoffman watching his sister's killer die. Apparently Strahm was WATCHING the flashback, because at the end he concludes out loud that he now has Hoffman.
The four prisoners try again to figure out how they're all connected. Luba works for the Department of City Planning, but Charles reveals she got the job to illegally help her ultra-rich father build a new stadium for the city's football team. Brit is a senior vice president for a real estate development company called the Marshvard Group, but Charles doesn't appear to have any dirt on her. Mallick is a trust-fund kid with seemingly no ties to anyone, while Charles outs himself as an investigative journalist for the local newspaper.
Getting nowhere again, the movie throws us a bone and starts the next trap. The room has a series of small jars attached to the ceiling filled with keys, the keys must be used to unlock... rhaargh, you know I don't even care. This movie is already losing me faster than the last one did, and there's still an hour to go. They're doing the worse fucking job possible of making us give a damn about ANY of this, they haven't even said the name of a single one of these characters yet! Cutting to the chase, Charles dies. Yay.
Strahm continues his gripping RESEARCH MONTAGE, accompanied by flashbacks of Hoffman getting kidnapped by Jigsaw after killing Seth. The detective wakes up tied to a chair with a shotgun strapped to his chest, the barrel pointing right at this face. Jigsaw confronts him over Seth's murder, offering Hoffman the chance to dispense justice HIS way in a very intense speech. Tobin Bell SHINES here as always, as I wonder at what point the filmmakers realized they fucked up by killing him off so early. You kind of have to feel bad for Melton and Dunstan, being handed the keys to a franchise where all the best characters were already six feet under. Then again, they did kill off Rigg and Matthews... so maybe not THAT bad.
Strahm begins to retrace scenes of old traps from the previous films, which gives us more flashbacks of Hoffman's apprenticeship under his new master. You know what these completely pointless scenes remind me of? The Silent Hill movie, which is something I hope to review as soon as I can find a copy because I'm itching to tear that one apart. When the filmmakers submitted the original script for it, the studio was troubled by a lack of male characters so they made them splice in all these scenes of Sean Bean researching stuff. They totally break the flow of the movie and are one of the biggest things people complained about, so hey, let's repeat that here! We're BOUND to get it right this time, yeah?
And this is pretty much the rest of the film, research, flashback, the dwindling group of victims gets smaller with every room, rinse, wash, repeat. The mind numbing boredom is broken up by Erickson getting a visit from Jill Tuck, who tells him she's being followed by Strahm. This is immediately suspicious because he totally HASN'T (at least from what we've been shown), but the film has had a subplot where Hoffman was meet subtly putting the idea in Erickson's head that Strahm just might be the third accomplice in the killings. Is she working with Hoffman? Stay tuned!
After the meeting Erickson gets in his car to head home for the night when we see Hoffman watching him from the parking lot. Using Strahm's phone that he stole from evidence, he places a call to the agent and powers it down when Erickson answers. Troubled, Erickson calls another agent and orders a trace put on the phone. Hoffman returns to base and powers the phone back on, placing it on the table next to his monitors. Devious! This movie is boring as fuck, but I will admit I was always slightly interested in the CONCEPT of it. It actually is pretty rare we get to see the villain's side of an entire movie, it's just such a shame this rare opportunity was wasted for this one.
We're down to Brit and Mallick, STILL unnamed in the movie if you're curious. Their final test involves sticking their hands into a machine with blades inside, the blades cutting through their hands to draw blood. The blood will be used to fill a beaker with a floater in it, and when the floater is raised high enough it'll pull on a wire that will open the door and let them leave the nightmare house once and for all. After seeing the machine has five holes in it, Brit has a horrifying revelation that the five were meant to survive every trap and could have if they all worked together.
After making a stop at the police station for some reason, Hoffman returns to his base with Strahm secretly tailing him. Erickson gets a call from his agent letting him know the location of Strahm's phone, so that means the end is FINALLY in sight. This movie is only ninety minutes but blood hell does it feel like three times that. Brit and Mallick get ready to stick their hands in the machine, Mallick confessing his crime was burning down a building with people in it in exchange for drugs.
Brit figures out the building was their connection: Ashley wrote a bogus fire report stating it wasn't arson, Luba pushed through the permits so a new complex could be built in its place, Charles buried his story about the fire, and herself who made the deal for the building to be burnt down so she could get the complex built. Concluding they're both monsters, they stick their hands into the blades.
Strahm and Erickson enter the building and begin to search around with guns drawn, and call me crazy but I don't think Erickson is in the same place as we're supposed to think it is. I'm basing this off the fact EVERY SINGLE FUCKING SEQUEL has already done this particular fake out. Strahm finds a glass coffin full of broken glass that we saw Jigsaw building in the last film, with a tape player sitting out in plain sight.
“Hello Agent Strahm, if you are hearing this then you have once again found what you're looking for. Or so you think. Your dedication is to be commended. But I ask you if you have learned anything on your journey of discovery. As the old adage goes: 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me'. The situation you find yourself in is one of trust. So I ask you, Special Agent Strahm, have you learned to trust me? The only way to survive this room is by entering the glass box before you. Pain will be incurred, but you have a chance of survival”.
Ten pints of spilled blood later, the door opens for Brit and Mallick. We do get a pretty bitchin' shot of Mallick's arm, cut in half all the way down to his freaking elbow damn near. Definitely not worth sitting through this borefest to see, but certainly a VERY nice bit of prosthetic work. Erickson discovers the monitor room, seeing an open door nearby and finds Brit and Mallick bleeding to death. He calls for help, searching the rest of the room while he waits and finding Strahm's phone to confirm his suspicions.
Hoffman enters the coffin room, shocked to see it's empty. Strahm magically appears out of nowhere and attacks him, throwing him into the coffin and sealing it shut. He begins to taunt Hoffman when the door behind him seals shut, locking him inside. He yells at Hoffman to open it, the detective simply motioning at the tape player. Strahm picks it up and plays the rest of the message, and huh? Why the hell didn't he finish playing it before? I guess he must have heard Hoffman's footsteps down the hall and hit stop, but this is something they probably should have showed us.
“However, if you choose not to, you will never be heard from again. Your body will never be found. You will simply vanish. I ask you, Special Agent Strahm, have you learned enough to trust me? Will you heed my warning? For if you do not this room will forever be your tomb, and my legacy will become yours.”.
We see gears start up, as the coffin begins to descend into the floor. The patented Saw Montage Reel begins to play, showing us how Hoffman has now framed Strahm as the new killer. This is just not Strahm's week, is it? Definitely not as the WALLS BEGIN TO CLOSE IN, Saw now UTTERLY out of ideas at this point. I anxiously await the next movie where Hoffman kills people with products he purchased from the Acme Corporation. Strahm tries in vain to stop the walls but gets crushed to a bloody, pulpy death. Whee.
Cue the credits.
This demotivates me about seeing part seven about as hard as humanly possible, as that's the lowest ranking movie in the series per Rotten Tomatoes scores. You mean to tell me they managed to make a WORSE movie than this?! Is Saw VII a musical? Does it reveal John Kramer is actually an alien from the planet Zeist? You know, scratch what I just said. I desperately want to see it now to see how they could outsuck what we just saw.
Earlier I said Saw II was one of the most baffling sequels I've ever seen and I meant it, but this one is right up their albeit for different reasons. Did they honestly think this qualified as a movie?! Who would actually want to watch this? Did they really think audiences would be on the edge of their seat over the story of bland, not at all established hero trying to track down bland, barely established villain through the power of RESEARCH MONTAGE?
If you're going to rip off your own movie, at least pay attention to what made that movie interesting. Saw II's cast of characters trapped in a house were written to be somewhat entertaining, and that was largely a no name cast. In this movie they had some really good actors and gave them NOTHING WHATSOEVER, not even freaking names! In Saw II, the victims were the main storyline to drive the movie, helping to make the B-plot really intense and riveting since it was directly tied to it. Here, the plots are TOTALLY separate with no effect whatsoever on the other, and the victim storyline wasn't even resolved!
Want to know what the payoff for all this was, loyal audience? Well, guess what? You'll have to shell out more money a year from now to find out!
P.S. Fuck you!
TERRIBLE movie: boring, dull, wretched acting (except for Tobin Bell's one scene), and largely uncreative to boot for a franchise that has thrived of surprising us, this is the textbook definition of a cash grab. Even if this had been straight to video I still would have been insulted by it. Steel yourself though, things are only going to get worse from here if you can believe it.
Although just not yet... Saw VI just might surprise you.
Although just not yet... Saw VI just might surprise you.