In keeping with tradition, I went to go see the latest Saw movie. In a bit of a break with tradition, because I planned to go get my workout after the movie, and because I'm still a little too easily-depressed to trust myself with alcohol, I decided to see it sober. In hindsight, this was a mistake. If this review seems angrier and darker than my last few, it's because I didn't properly anesthetize myself before seeing this shit sandwich.
Anyway, on with it.
One of the complaints about Saw I was that you not only never saw the villain coming, but you had no way to see him coming. In a murder mystery, it's cheating to introduce a character on page 293 and have him turn out to be the murderer on page 294, right? Well, in Saw VII, they take the opposite approach, introducing Dr. Gordon (who turns out to have survived Saw I)
right at the beginning, and thus makes it clear he'll be involved at the end. So, instead of a villain coming from out of nowhere, we get thumbfingered foreshadowing.
As with the other movies, there are lots of deaths that only barely affect the plot -- in fact, due to the heavy use of flashbacks (I'll get to this in a moment), this movie has a lot more than the others. In fact, one of the threads in this movie is that Jigsaw has gone a lot more public, and the first trap is in a storefront, seen by thousands of people and filmed on dozens of cellphones with cameras. (A few people call 911, and one person tries to break the window with a suitcase, but the whole scene is very Kitty Genovese.)
One of the more "amusing" barely-related scenes involved a trap with Chester Bennington as a racist scumbag superglued to a car seat, in which he had to get out of the seat (ripping the skin off his back) and pull a switch to save himself and his racist scumbag friends. Because Chester Bennington is the vocalist of a certain whiny-ass band, I heard a certain song
in my head, and it was all I could do not to stand up in the theater and scream:
"PEEEEEELING OFFFFF MY SKIIIIIIN!
THESE WOOOOUNDS THEY WIIIIIL NOT HEEEAL!"
He doesn't reach the switch in time, so his car comes off its jacks with the tires running, crushing his girlfriend's skull. The car itself runs forward, smashing into another friend and ripping a fourth friend's arms and lower jaw off. Gruesome, but we're dealing with white supremacists and the vocalist of Linkin Park, so we're not exactly supposed to have a hell of a lot of sympathy...
Anyway, the first of the two main plots. A guy has written a life-affirming book about his own experience with Jigsaw and how he has a new lease on life, he regularly visits support groups of Jigsaw survivors, he has a book tour... and then, he, his handlers, and his wife all get kidnapped. Are you one of those people who got burned when A Million Little Pieces
turned out to be bullshit? Did you have your suspicions about A Child Called "It"
? Well, you are this movie's target audience -- Jigsaw did this because the survival memoir was a heap of lies, and everyone involved, except the wife, knew it. In trap after trap, he tries (and fails) to save first his publicist, then his lawyer, then his best friend. He shows a little bit of promise when he opens a combination lock to get to the final room (the combination was etched on two of his molars, which he had to yank out). Then, he sees his wife, and a tape plays, as it usually does when a trap is introduced:
"Hello, Joyce. You've been the perfect wife, standing behind Bobby, a man you honestly believed to be a survivor of a horrible experience. It turns out that his experience wasn't real, though, so here he is and here you are. His experience was also not anatomically feasible, so you get to watch him show you how unfeasible it was, and then you get to burn to death in a Brass Bull. Live or die. Make your choice... oh, wait, you can't. Okay. Just die then.
Actually, I tease. The tape instructed Bobby to put hooks in his chest and then lift himself up about ten feet to connect a power cable, but the hooks ripped out before he could make it, so he failed. I'm just making a point about the Jigsawverse, in which it's apparently okay to burn an innocent woman alive to make a point to her husband.
Now, onto the second of the main two plots. Hoffman apparently survived the events of Saw VI. (In my review of Saw VI, I claimed he had died. I was obviously in error. Forgive me, I was drunk.) After he stitches his face back together, he goes after Jigsaw's widow, who tried to kill him in Saw VI, and creates a pretty impressive pile of bodies on his way to getting to her. He finally gets to her, puts her head in one of those reverse bear-traps, and sets it off. Obviously, she dies.
Then, Hoffman leaves, starts to burn his old hideout to the ground, and gets apprehended by three people in pig masks, one of whom turns out to be Dr. Gordon, who turns out to have been Jigsaw's most important accomplice all along. (This actually makes sense. At least one of Jigsaw's traps would have required a surgeon.) Gordon chains Hoffman to a wall, in the same bathroom he took his own foot off in in the first of the Saw movies, and seals him in. Hoffman will now starve to death in this room, unless he's needed for more sequels, but considering that Gordon is clearly Jigsaw 4.0, and has two accomplices, we may be able to have lots and lots of sequels without Hoffman.
Hell, with so much room for sequels, I may just write one myself. I even have a title for it: "I Saw Zombies."