A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Saw 3D (aka Saw 7 or Saw: The Final Chapter) is as gory and bloody as the first six installments, if not more so. There are many graphic, grisly deaths via elaborate torture devices and lots of violence against women. Very often, there's a chance to save one victim if another victim is willing to endure high amounts of pain or risk death; the supposed idea is that all of the victims are being punished -- and tested -- for their "everyday" bad behavior. Language is strong, with multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Although the movie was shot in 3-D, the effects aren't particularly impressive or memorable -- and they're already so gross and over-the-top that the 3-D aspect doesn't up the ante as much as it does in other movies.
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What's the story?
In SAW 3D, Jigsaw's widow, Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell), begins by trying to kill Jigsaw's current disciple, Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) -- but fails. She then agrees to provide the police with all the information they need in exchange for protection. Meanwhile, Jigsaw survivor Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) has published a successful book about his ordeal ... but the killer knows the truth, and so Bobby is tested with an elaborate series of gory traps involving his beloved wife and all his various handlers. For "fun," there are a couple of random, gruesome traps that have nothing to do with the rest of the plot. Chad Donella plays an internal affairs detective trying to solve the whole thing, and Tobin Bell appears in flashbacks as the original Jigsaw.
Is it any good?
In its defense, the seventh installment of the bloody Saw franchise does occasionally attempt to rise above the typical "torture porn" flick. The killers act out of a sense of duty, and all of their victims are "guilty" in some way of some transgression. Additionally, the series has built up a complex lore around the original Jigsaw and his followers. And the traps themselves are incredibly elaborate; it's difficult for viewers to predict just what they're going to do, so the movie does manage to create a certain amount of tension around them.
Unfortunately, Saw 3D also thrives on extreme, ghastly gore as its primary motivation, making all other concerns secondary; in essence, it's more an endurance test than it is a movie. Plus, the writing and directing are strictly "C"-level, and the acting -- with the exception of Cary Elwes -- isn't much better.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Saw 3D's extreme violence. How did it make you feel? What was your reaction?
How do the gory images in movies like this impact viewers, especially young ones? Why do you think there's been a trend toward these "torture porn" movies in recent years?
What draws audiences to movies like this? Why have the Saw movies been so popular?
- In theaters: October 29, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: January 25, 2011
- Cast: Cary Elwes, Costas Mandylor, Sean Patrick Flanery
- Director: Kevin Greutert
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language
- Last updated: February 20, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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