Sawing off your ankle to spite your thigh is now officially kid stuff. In Saw III, a man consumed with vengeance over his dead child is asked to play a stomach-turningly vile game. The judge who let the killer off easy lies chained at the bottom of a pit. The vengeful man (Angus Macfayden) has the ability to let him go, but until then a series of giant rotting pig carcasses — they have veins like blue cheese — begins to wheel around on an assembly line of horror. Fed into whirring blades, the carcasses spill over the judge, drowning him in a putrid river of liquefied hog guts. Until, that is, he is saved — a victory for compassion over vengeance!
Admit it: It’s not every horror film that can make you feel preached at and slimed at the same time. Saw III is constructed as a game within a game. Tobin Bell, who plays the psycho behind the papier-mâché harlequin puppet Jigsaw, has now been elevated to tragic-leading-man status. Dying from a brain tumor, Bell lies in bed in what looks like a smeary hospital for Nazi experiments, assisted by Amanda (Shawnee Smith), his victim/accomplice from Saw II, who helps him create the ultimate sick challenge. It involves putting a physician (Bahar Soomekh) in a suicide-bomb collar and having her perform brain surgery on him as he lies awake. How any of this connects to that other game, pig guts and all, made for some avid postfilm head-scratching on the multiplex escalator. That’s what happens when you try to pass off a blood feast as a morality play.