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Saw 7

Every beginning must have an end and so it is with the Saw series.  Supposedly the ‘final chapter’, hopefully Saw 7 doesn’t make a mockery of this promise as others have.  Going all out in upping the terror, it puts all of the pieces of its own jigsaw together to create a horrific portrait.  With 3-D helping it along, it goes out with a savage flourish that would have met with its lead villain’s sinister approval.
 

After years of mentally and physically torturing his victims, Jigsaw’s (Tobin Bell) diseased tenure appears at an end.  With his black widow Jill (Betsy Russell) and crooked detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) fighting for his legacy, his satanic grip on power slowly slips.  Like any wicked genius, he has one last trap in store.  With the survivors of his previous ghoulish games banding together to crush his acolytes, Jigsaw gives friends and enemies alike a final endurance test where the final trap is usually the deadliest.
 

If there was ever a star over the entire series it would have to be the special effects.  Given a bigger budget, the team responsible for making scenes of horror uncomfortably realistic certainly put it to good use.  Coupled with that unsightly effectiveness is a script giving answers long-time fans have been expecting.  That’s what made the franchise so potent even during its worst hours – its ability to maintain a consistency to its mythology whilst moving the story in fresh directions.
 

Although suffering from mediocre 3-D work and occasionally dud acting, Saw 7 gains interest when focusing on its established characters.  When the survivors group together and discuss how their experiences have changed them, it actually becomes almost compelling – a mood missing from most recent horror films.  It’s saying something that this strand plus some genuine surprises makes this one of the franchise’s better entries with its R rating well deserved. 
 

As the red curtain descends on the series for the last time, it can’t be said it’s been a ‘pleasure’ viewing it.  Some may be sad it’s over, although Saw 7 gives an appropriate coda to a hugely successful series which should live on in dubious memories – at least until its next instalment.
 

Rating out of 10:  6

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