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Film / Saw III

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WARNING: All spoilers from previous films in the Saw franchise are unmarked here. Read on or go backmake your choice.

Saw III is the third film in the Saw series, released in October 27, 2006 and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. As opposed to the second film, which was based on an original independent script of Bousman's that was later revised by series co-creator Leigh Whannell, this film was written exclusively by Whannell.

The police continue their investigation for the elusive Jigsaw, but find that his recent murders seem to go against his modus operandi of giving his victims a chance to live, as the recent traps have been designed to kill their victim regardless if they complete their task.

In comes the latest victim of Jigsaw's game, Jeff, a man who lost his son and has yet to move on from his death. Jigsaw offers him a chance to do so, but potentially at the expense of the people he feels were responsible for his son's passing.


As this goes on, Jigsaw himself is dying from cancer and aided by his apprentice, Amanda Young. To delay his inevitable demise, he kidnaps a doctor named Lynn Denlon to operate on him, thus placing Lynn's life on the line as well in the effort to save him.

Whannell and fellow series co-creator James Wan were initially averse to the idea of a third film, but after Saw II producer Gregg Hoffman's death shortly following its release, the two and Bousman convened and decided to make the film in honor of him. While the writers intended for III to be the finale of the series, producers' interest in continuing the series shot down this idea and led to the story being modified to leave loose ends to be addressed by future installments.

Preceded by Saw II. Followed by Saw IV.


Saw III provides examples of:

  • Agony of the Feet: Eric Matthews cannot work up the will to saw off his foot when he's chained up in the bathroom; instead, he breaks it with a toilet lid and further snaps it down to slip it out. He then has to walk out of the room and ends up getting in a fight with Amanda with his foot essentially pointing the opposite direction, which is about as unpleasant as you'd imagine.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Amanda's death scene is dramatic and anguished, as she dies a slow and agonizing death from a gunshot wound to the neck. It doesn't forgive everything she's done, but with her being a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, there is a level of tragedy in it.
  • All There in the Manual: An early draft of Saw IV that would have been a direct sequel to Saw III would have shown Jeff's game to which John Kramer alludes at the end of this movie. It would have had him dying in a blender trapnote , along with Chris, the man with whom Lynn had an affair. Even though neither this scene nor the trap made it to the film, it still explains what game John wanted Jeff to play to find his daughter.
  • Asshole Victim: Troy is potentially this, as he is a known repeat offending criminal, though exactly what his crimes were is never elaborated on, so it's unclear how bad he was.
    • Subverted and deconstructed with the victims in Jeff's trial. All of them are shown to be complex people with regrets and sympathetic qualities despite being involved with the accidental death of a child. The very idea of Jigsaw putting them into these death traps for honest mistakes in life calls into question how much of a sham his philosophy is throughout the movie.
  • Attack the Injury: Amanda's fight with Eric pretty much ends when she kicks his broken foot, causing it to break even further.
  • Attack the Mouth: One of the chains in Troy's trap is hooked into his lower jaw. It's the only one he's unable to remove in time.
  • Ax-Crazy: By this movie, Amanda has become a nihilistic Serial Killer, creating deliberately inescapable traps, and openly threatening to trying to kill Lynn, which becomes her demise when the latter's husband takes revenge.
  • Being Evil Sucks: By the end of the movie, Amanda has realized how meaningless Jigsaw's path is, is wracked with remorse over her atrocious deeds, and ultimately dies a monstrous killer alongside her mentor.
  • Big "NO!": Jeff at the end of the film after realizing his fate (detailed in Downer Ending below).
  • Bit Character: Troy's only real purpose is to foreshadow the fact that Amanda has started rigging traps.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This film is where the franchise really starts to earn the Torture Porn label, with the traps reaching a level of brutal dismemberment unseen in the previous two and far more detailed, nauseating gore. Reportedly, at least two audience members fainted during the premiere.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Judge Halden gets himself shot in the side of the head by a shotgun in a trap not even meant for him; he just happened to be positioned in the line of fire.
  • The Can Kicked Him: A flashback reveals that Amanda gave Adam a Mercy Kill to prevent him from suffering from starvation upon getting locked up in the Bathroom from the first movie.
  • Crucified Hero Shot:
    • When Lynn is shot by Amanda, her arms stretch out as she falls into Jeff's arms.
    • Timothy is restrained on the Rack in a crucified position.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Troy was mutilated by having chains pierced through his body, and was forced to pull them out before being blown up with a nail bomb.
    • Danica is left naked and tied up in a freezer room. She dies freezing to death when Jeff fails to save her in time.
    • Halden was set to drown in the gore of rotting pig carcasses ground up above him, but it's subverted when Jeff saves his life. He later dies a comparatively much less horrific death of taking a shotgun blast to the side of his face.
    • Timothy, the prime object of Jeff's obsession for vengeance, was set to get the worst death of the victims of Jeff's trial. He's put into a device known as "the Rack" that will twist all his limbs apart before his neck unless Jeff chooses to save him. Jeff fails to do so despite trying his hardest.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: John's cancer has advanced considerably over the previous movies, and has by now left him bedridden and physically dependent upon his apprentice Amanda, with Lynn Denlon being kidnapped in order to keep him alive until Jeff completes his test. In the end, it's not the cancer that kills John, but Jeff slitting his throat with a circular saw.
  • Dead Man's Switch: Jigsaw has his heart rate monitor hooked up to a device that will kill Lynn if he flatlines, which he eventually does when Jeff kills him. This example of the trope has a twist in that it's not about preventing somebody from killing him, but coercing them into keeping him alive (despite John's late-stage cancer) for as long as possible.
  • Death of a Child: Jeff's son Dylan died in an accident off-screen.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Happens twice early on. First, Eric Matthews seems set to continue his role as protagonist of the previous film, but he disappears after his first scene, only reappearing in a flashback. Next, it looks like Allison Kerry will become an Ascended Extra, but she is swiftly killed. The actual protagonists turn out to be two new characters, Jeff and Lynn Denlon.
  • Delirious Misidentification: While undergoing surgery, John mistakes Lynn for his ex-wife Jill, saying "Love...I love you..." to her, making Amanda jealous.
  • Determinator: After Amanda leaves Eric with the same fate as Adam's, he smashes his own foot apart with a toilet lid to escape. Not even Lawrence or Adam thought of that.
  • Downer Ending: By killing Jigsaw, Jeff inadvertently fails his final test. Not only does he get his wife Lynn killed, as his flatlining heart rate triggers her collar to detonate, but Jigsaw uses the last of his energy to play a tape revealing that he is the only one who knows where Jeff's daughter is locked away with a limited supply of air.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: While she did support Jigsaw's testing, Amanda is revealed to be the one behind the inescapable traps. This is because she believes that death would be more merciful, and that nobody really changes.
  • Drowning Pit: The Pig Vat is a rather disgusting version of this, involving ground up/liquefied rotting pig corpses.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Amanda has been creating inescapable traps, unlike Jigsaw, who intends for his victims to survive. Played with in that she does this because she believes letting them live through the trauma they would have suffered afterwards would be a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Exact Words: At the start of Jeff's trial, Jigsaw promises him that should he complete the tests, he will come face-to-face with "the man responsible for the loss of his child". Jeff (and the audience) naturally assumes it is the drunk driver who killed his son in an accident. However, Jigsaw never exactly said which child was he speaking of; only after Jeff kills him does he reveal in a tape that he is the person responsible for the loss of his child, as only he knows where Jeff's daughter is.
  • Excessive Mourning: This is what bring Jeff under Jigsaw's radar. He's so totally consumed by the death of his son that he's neglecting his life and the rest of his family, to the point where his introduction to the audience is him scolding his daughter for taking a toy bear from his son's room. All of his games in the film are about getting him to let go of his obsession. Too bad he learns the wrong lesson.
  • Explosive Leash: Amanda locks a collar onto Lynn's neck that will discharge five shotgun shells into her head if John dies. Come the end of the film, Jeff kills John, thus killing her as well.
  • Eye Take: One of Amanda's main expressions throughout the film; it's her go-to whenever things go sideways with John, and the expression she has as she dies.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Danica in the Freezer Room trap; one movie critic once said that her scene may be the most un-erotic scene featuring a naked woman in all of horror movie history. She was originally going to be wearing just a shirt and panties, but the director thought it would be too erotic for her to be wearing a tight T-shirt and getting wet, so they just decided to strip her completely.
    • On another note, Amanda is a rather attractive woman, and apart from her spending the entire film in a tight shirt, there's one scene where she pulls her pants down and exposes her underwear...promptly before running a large knife across her inner thigh, where scars are visible from prior cuts.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: If you are knowledgeable, you may realize that removing the chain from his lower jaw would be impossible to do with his bare hands. This is a hint that his test was rigged to be nearly impossible to escape. Unless he could free himself from the other chains and grab the bomb to disarm it or throw it out one of the windows, he would have no way to survive. Even then, he would be forced to stay with his jaw hooked until help arrived, assuming he didn't bleed to death first.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Halden hadn't died in such a stupid way, Jeff's confrontation with John may have gone very differently.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: One instance of note in a film notorious for its onscreen violence: Lynn's collar detonating takes place offscreen, and we only see the incredibly grisly aftermath.
  • Hanging Judge: Inverted. Judge Halden is, if anything, too lenient and essentially gives Timothy a light slap on the wrist for running over Jeff's son.
  • The Heavy: In this movie, Amanda is the one running the games and capturing victims, since John is literally on his deathbed from terminal cancer.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Subverted. After hearing Lynn's sincere words of wanting to turn her life around, he orders Amanda to release her shotgun collar and seems to genuinely see the error of his ways. Unfortunately, Amanda refused to do so, and once John sees Jeff learned nothing from his test, he decides to condemn everyone in his room to death.
  • Holier Than Thou: Amanda perverts Jigsaw's philosophy by making inescapable traps designed to kill the victims as she believes they won't change if they do survive, while arrogantly believing herself to be the sole exception.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: Judge Halden's reasoning with Jeff to not let him and Timothy die.
  • Kidnapped Doctor: Amanda kidnaps a surgeon named Lynn and fits her with an Explosive Leash to force her to treat (and later perform cranial surgery on) the terminally ill, cancer-ridden John. Which was just one reason for her kidnapping, as Lynn is also married to Jeff, Jigsaw's latest karmic victim, and he wanted to put Jeff through a series of traps for him, all while seeing if Amanda, in the main purpose of the whole movie, would grant someone (Lynn) the chance to live, instead of condemning everyone to an inescapable death.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Freezer Room has a victim tied up naked and sprayed with cold water to freeze them to death. It ends up killing Danica as Jeff fails to save her in time.
  • Locked in a Freezer: One of the traps sees this happen to Jeff and Danica, the bystander who saw Jeff's son die in a car accident. Jeff is tasked with saving her while trying to get a key that will open the door to the freezer, all while a naked Danica is sprayed with freezing cold water.
  • Morton's Fork: Even if Troy had been able to remove the final chain in time, the door to the room was welded shut. Technically, despite the attempt to rig his test, he could have possibly survived by cheating and removing the visible batteries from the bomb's timer or throwing the bomb out the window, but with the mercilessly short timer of a minute and 37 seconds and no foreknowledge of the door being welded shut, his chance of surviving is still virtually nonexistent due to just how much of the time he would have spent getting out of the chains.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: A non-romantic example. Amanda does this towards Lynn, since she wants John for herself. If she only knew Lynn was really Jeff's wife.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Jigsaw seems to explain the rules of the game to Lynn as she is brought into his room. In the film's climactic flashback montage, we learn that the explanation, as well as the entire central game, was Amanda's, and the rules were mainly meant for her.
  • Papa Wolf: All of Jeff's rage is over the death of his son. Anyone even remotely involved with the boy's death is responsible in his eyes.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The only victory Jeff can really be said to have is that of putting an end to Jigsaw and his apprentice. Not that it matters much, since it condemns his wife and daughter to death.
  • The Reveal: Two of them.
    • Lynn and Jeff are married, and Jigsaw kept this information from Amanda to test her.
    • Jigsaw is responsible for the loss of Jeff's other child, locking her away in a location that only he knows.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Jeff's fatal flaw. He could have forgiven all those responsible, save them from death, and find peace for himself. He could have also chosen to live the rest of his life with his other family members, learning to live with his son's death. Yeah, he doesn't. The result? Every victim of the games dies, including his wife.
  • Seamless Scenery:
    • The camera follows Troy's body before panning to a rug in Kerry's apartment.
    • And after Kerry is killed in a trap, the camera pans from that to Lynn's bedroom.
    • In another scene, Amanda walks through the factory floor, passing the crate Jeff is trapped in... which is actually in another part of the building.
  • Secret Test of Character: Jigsaw does this to Amanda by asking her to let Lynn go free if she could keep him alive for the duration of his last "game". She refuses and kills Lynn, but it's eventually revealed in Saw VI that she did so intentionally because Hoffman threatened to reveal that she had a hand in the fact that Jigsaw's wife had her miscarriage if she didn't kill Lynn.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: In the first two films Amanda just looked like any average young woman, albeit a little scruffy, but after she was revealed as Jigsaw's apprentice, she wears a more revealing bright red outfit in this movie to go with Jigsaw's typical red and black color scheme.
  • Slashed Throat: Jigsaw ultimately meets his end this way, courtesy of Jeff Denlon and a buzzsaw.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: After two films as a central character, Kerry is the second person who dies in this movie.
  • Thanatos Gambit: At the end, a bedridden Jigsaw gives Jeff the chance of forgiving him or killing him. Jeff takes the latter option. In doing so, not only does Jigsaw's death set off the Shotgun Collar that leads to Lynn's death, but Jigsaw plays a tape (or drops it with Jeff playing it instead in the movie's Director's Cut version) in which he reveals that Jeff's daughter has been trapped in a location that only he knows about.
  • The Tooth Hurts: A What Could Have Been example. The commentary reveals that the creators wanted to have Troy pull his teeth out in the way of various promotional posters (including the one pictured above). Setting up his trap like this didn't go well.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: A variant; Jeff freezes one of his cheeks onto a set of pipes while reaching for the key to free Danica, and has to rip the skin off.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Halden stands directly in front of a shotgun's line of fire when Jeff was willing to take the blast to his arm to save Timothy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In this movie, Amanda starts designing inescapable traps, and she antagonizes Lynn throughout her test.
  • Unreveal Angle: Amanda reads a note moments before shooting Lynn, but what she's reading isn't shown at all. The actual text isn't revealed until a flashback in Saw VI.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Amanda's traps in this movie are some of the most brutal in the franchise, and she rigs them to be inescapable as she doesn't really share John's warped philosophy.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: When confronted with Timothy, he doesn't exactly feel too great about watching his torture device slowly kill him despite openly stating he's wanted to kill him for years. Jeff then tries to save him. Ironically, he didn't actually learn anything from this and tries to exact revenge on John after, which ends horribly for him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: We see Amanda methodically commit self-harm early on in the film. Towards the end, she does it again, but this time without the ritual, just cutting herself quickly. When she's forced to kill Lynn and realizes what a shame John's philosophy is, she's almost sobbing.
  • You Have Failed Me: Essentially the point of the Shotgun Collar. Lynn Denlon was kidnapped, put in the collar, and made to operate on Jigsaw. If Jigsaw died, then the five shotguns on the collar would go off, killing Lynn. They do.
  • Your Head Asplode: Lynn's demise, thanks to her husband killing John.


Video Example(s):


Jigsaw and Dr Denlon

The Jigsaw Killer's cancer has advanced considerably over the last three movies, and has by now left him bedridden and physically dependent upon his apprentice. But even on his deathbed, he is still engaged in the process of "testing" his victims...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / DarkLordOnLifeSupport

Media sources:

Main / DarkLordOnLifeSupport