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Saw III is a horror film and sequel to the film Saw II and written by the first film's writers/directors, James Wan and Leigh Whannell and directed by Saw II's writer/director, Darren Lynn Bousman. It was released on October 27, 2006.

The film ends the first trilogy of the series that focuses on a bed-ridden John Kramer, and his new apprentice Amanda final tests before he dies. The film contains additional back-story about the two antagonists.

The film was dedicated to Gregg Hoffman, producer of the first two movies. Hoffman died on December 4, 2005, shortly after the official Lions Gate Entertainment announcement of Saw III.


Minutes after the room is sealed, Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) escapes the underground bathroom from the first film by breaking his foot with a toilet lid and slipping it out of the ankle chain.

Six months pass. Another Jigsaw victim is discovered by Lieutenant Rigg (Lyriq Bent) and Detectives Allison Kerry (Dina Meyer) and Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). In his test, Troy (J. Larose) had to rip chains from his body to flee from a bomb. Kerry points out that the room's door was sealed, making the trap inescapable and going against Jigsaw's modus operandi. She is later kidnapped from her home and awakens in a trap of her own, held upright by a harness. Her ribs are pinned to a device that can only be unlocked by a key within a beaker of acid. When she manages to unlock the device, she discovers that her trap is also inescapable and is killed when her ribcage is torn from her body.
Amanda setting Lynn's "Shotgun Collar" trap for her game.

Jeff Reinhart (Angus Macfadyen), a vengeful man who lost his son Dylan in an accident with a drunk driver, and Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh), a depressed doctor having an affair, are also kidnapped under the orders of John Kramer (Tobin Bell), who is now bedridden from his cancer. Lynn is brought before John by Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), his apprentice, and is given a straightforward game: keep John alive for the duration of the other victim's game, or else the collar around her neck will fire five shotgun shells at her head. Jeff, meanwhile, awakens in the middle of the abandoned meatpacking plant and discovers that he must go through tests which will lead him to "the man responsible for the loss of his child."

The first test takes place in a freezer, where he finds Danica Scott (Debra Lynne McCabe). She was the only witness to his son's death, but refused to testify in court. She is stripped naked and bound at the wrists between two bars that spray ice-cold water at random intervals. He eventually tries to free her by reaching for a chain suspended behind frozen metal bars, ripping his cheek in the process, but Danica freezes to death before he can free her. In his next test, he finds Judge Halden (Barry Flatman), who gave Dylan's killer only six months in prison, chained at the neck at the bottom of a pit slowly being filled with liquefied pig corpses. Jeff eventually saves the judge by burning his son's toys to obtain a key to free Halden. As the two move on to the third test, Halden tries to reason with Jeff but is ignored. The third test revolves around his son's killer, Timothy Young (Mpho Koaho), who is locked in a device that will twist his limbs and neck one by one until they break. Jeff does nothing at first, having never forgiven Timothy, while Halden attempts to stop the machine. In the end Jeff tries to save Timothy by getting a key tied to the trigger of a shotgun: though he manages to get it, the shotgun discharges and kills Halden, who was unknowingly standing in its line of fire. He is too late to unlock the binds holding Timothy, who is killed when his neck is twisted and broken by the device as Jeff screams that he's forgiven him.

While these tests are playing out, Lynn and Amanda work together to keep John alive. Lynn performs several procedures to help ease John's pain that include an improvised brain surgery, during which a semi-conscious John professes his love to Lynn, believing that she is another woman. Amanda, distressed from witnessing this, leaves to see the envelope that Jigsaw told her to see it before his surgery, she finds a letter inside it which causes her even more distress. After the surgery, Lynn and John talk privately, and Lynn reveals that her ordeal has given her a new appreciation for her family. Amanda returns and reveals that Jeff's tests are over, though she refuses to remove Lynn's collar, not believing that she learned anything from her experience. She furiously tells John that nobody changes from their tests and that she intentionally designed the tests she made to be inescapable; Troy and Kerry's tests were designed by her. She also reveals that she was found by Eric Matthews after he escaped the bathroom and, after being overpowered, managed to savagely injure him and leave him for dead. Additionally, she returned to the bathroom long before and, out of guilt, gave Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) a mercy killing; she had been the one to capture him.

Jeff arrives in the room just as Amanda shoots Lynn in the back; she falls into his arms, and Jeff retaliates by shooting Amanda in the neck. A saddened John reveals to the dying Amanda that the test, "your will to keep someone alive," was actually hers; she had not known that Jeff and Lynn were married and had become estranged over Dylan's death. Amanda soon dies from blood loss, and John offers Jeff one last test, where he can choose to forgive John or take revenge, as he is responsible for the torment of him and his wife. If Jeff forgives him, John will call an ambulance to save Lynn. Jeff takes a circular saw, tells John he forgives him, and slashes John's throat. As John bleeds, he plays a micro-cassette from his pocket, the door to the room sealing simultaneously. The message reveals that by killing him, Jeff failed the test: John is the only person who knows where Jeff's neglected daughter, Corbett (Niamh Wilson), is hidden, and he will have to play another game to find her before she runs out of air. As the message ends, John goes into cardiac arrest and dies; the shotgun collar simultaneously destroys Lynn's head, leaving Jeff in the room with the three corpses.



According to the director's audio track on the DVD release, almost all the transitions from one place to another (such as from Kerry's trap to Chris' place, and Jigsaw's lair to Jeff's crate) were not made using digital effects. The transitions were shot on the spot. For example, when the camera moves from Troy's crime scene to Kerry being in the bathtub, Dina Meyer had to run, take off all her clothes, and jump into the tub. If you look closely, you can still see the water moving from when she got in.

According to Leigh Whannell, Adam had many more scenes in the original film, one of which was the scene between Adam and Amanda, included on the Saw III DVD bonus features.

According to producer Daniel J. Heffner, the film was toned down seven times to obtain the "R" rating. According to director Darren Lynn Bousman, the MPAA ratings board was less concerned with the film's graphic violence because television shows like CSI have expanded the scope of what is acceptable viewing with their graphic depictions of crime scenes and autopsies. Bousman says the MPAA is more concerned with emotional torture that disturbs the audience.


A scene from Saw III was planned to be shown when the action/thriller film Crank opened in theaters on September 1. However, the MPAA did not allow it, due to the scene's large amount of graphic violence. For similar reasons, an early teaser trailer for the movie was removed from the official Saw III site. The next trailer released featured flashbacks of Jigsaw attaching the "reverse bear trap" to Amanda and applying his makeup for posing as the corpse in the bathroom from Saw. The ads played up Saw's yearly release dates with the tagline, "If it's Halloween, it must be 'Saw'"

About 1,000 special posters were made and sold for $20 each in support of Saw III. The posters were made with a small amount of Tobin Bell's blood (mixed with the printing ink). One such poster was also signed by the entire cast and crew of the film, and was auctioned off. All the proceeds from the auctioned poster were donated to the Red Crossmarker.

At Spike TV's Scream Awards on October 10, 2006, Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith appeared on stage with director Darren Lynn Bousman. Smith pinned Bousman to a chair, saying "Payback's a bitch," while Bell staged sawing off the top of Bousman's head. Smith then found a blood-saturated piece of film on his brain. This led to a "World Premiere" trailer featuring the plight of Troy in the body chains trap.

In a promotional video featured on MySpace (with similar versions made for YouTube and, Billy, Jigsaw's puppet, addresses the viewer in the same fashion as in the videos in the film. He states, "Hello. Are you watching me on MySpace? Good. I'd like to play a game with you. Up until now you've...just sat there as a voyeur, watching other people in their videos without care about who that person is. Well, what do voyeurs see when they look into the mirror? Let's find out. Right now you are being watched. If you forget for one second that you're being watched, you will lose. Your only way out is to understand these numbers: 1, 0, 2, 7, 0, 6. Find the meaning and you will live. Just remember; knowledge changes everything." The numbers represent the film's release date, October 27, 2006.

The original cut of the movie ran for slightly over two hours, and several scenes have been confirmed to have been cut out, including a scene shown being filmed on... depicted an extended scene of Kerry and Rigg examining Troy's trap, where Kerry reveals to Rigg she has had nightmares about Eric, and she blames herself for what happened to him.

There was also reference in an interview with Bousman of a scene that was not shown, Jigsaw questioning if he was correct in his goal: He begins to question because he's near the very end, maybe this wasn't right. Maybe none of this really worked. Maybe he is a murderer. Maybe he is a killer... For the first time, we actually see him break down and cry. Imagine your entire life's work. You're on your deathbed. You know there's nothing else you can do and here's how you'll be remembered: as a killer, as a murderer. Not as someone who helped people. Not as someone who changed lives. Someone who took away lives. The one thing he didn't want to be and, as he's on his deathbed, he's realizing this. The audio commentary also notes that Leigh Whannell's character of Adam had more screen time, including a scene in which he passes by Amanda at the entrance of his apartment that was also included on the DVD.


At screenings in the United Kingdommarker, five people were reported to have fainted at separate cinemas with three at one cinema, resulting in ambulances needing to be called.

The film received mixed to generally negative reviews. Rotten gave the film a 26% rating, qualifying it as "Rotten", whereas Metacritic gives Saw III a 48 rating, indicating mixed or average reviews, but still earning the series' best score up to date.

Box office

Playing in 3,167 theaters Saw III grossed a total of $33,610,391 on its opening weekend. With a production budget of $9.98 million, the film was already considered a box office success. Saw III ended up grossing $80,238,724 domestically and $150,907,724 worldwide. As of May 2008, the film has made $164,874,275, making Saw III the most successful film in the series worldwide thus far.


DVD releases

The DVD was released on January 23, 2007 in two versions, both of which have the same bonus features:
  • R-rated (108 min.) fullscreen
  • Unrated (113 min.) Anamorphic widescreen and fullscreen
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0 tracks
  • 3 commentary tracks:
  1. Director Darren Lynn Bousman, writer Leigh Whannell, and executive producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine.
  2. Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg.
  3. Director Darren Lynn Bousman, editor Kevin Greutert, and director of photography David A. Armstrong.
  • Deleted scenes including the fight scene between Amanda and Lynn and the extra scene with Adam and Amanda.
  • "The Traps of Saw III"
  • "The Details of Death: The Props of Saw III"
  • "Darren's Diary: Anatomy of a Director"
  • Trailers

Also confirmed are two exclusive featurettes to the Blu-ray Disc release of Saw III, which includes a feature on the writing of Saw III, and an "Amanda: Evolution of a Killer" featurette. These featurettes were also included on an exclusive 2-disc edition, sold at Target stores in the USmarker and Future Shop stores in Canadamarker. They contain the Unrated Widescreen Edition on Disc 1.

Unrated Edition

The unrated DVD, released on January 23, 2007, features a 113-minute cut of the film that includes more gore. On the commentary track, Bousman notes that this is not his original, two-hour-plus cut of the film, and that is why he released the Director's Cut in October 2007.

The unrated version of Saw III differs from the theatrical in many ways. The first noticeable difference is that the opening scene is more violent. The shots of Eric's heel being broken are much closer, and more detail is shown. When Kerry is discussing Eric with Rigg, the scene is slightly extended, showing her commenting on how she can't sleep because of his disappearance. When Kerry's trap triggers, a frontal shot is shown of her ribs being torn from her torso, leaving her organs exposed. Flashes showcase her innards dropping to the floor. The next noticeable difference is during Danica's Freezer Trap. A few extra shots show Jeff slamming the door, trying to get out. During the Rack, Tim's limbs are shown much more, showcasing his skin tearing as the bone shatters out of his skin. The flashback fight scene between Amanda and Eric is also extended. Amanda is shown hearing Eric's cries for his son, and seems distressed. While maneuvering in the corridor, Eric sneaks up on her and the fight resumes from there. The last and most major difference is the film's ending. In the theatrical, once the montage of the victims passes by, Lynn's corpse is shown quickly, before cutting to Jeff screaming, then on Jigsaw's corpse, and finally cutting to black. In the unrated, during the montage the music slightly overlaps, skipping a couple of seconds forward, and then showing Lynn's mutilated head, zooming in on the gory details, and then slowly fading out to white.

The original theatrical version was also missing a soundtrack that was meant to play during the scene with Timothy Young in the Rack.

Director's Cut

A Director's Cut of Saw III was released on October 23, 2007 to coincide with the theatrical release of Saw IV on October 26. Extras on the 2-disc set include:

  • Three new audio commentaries:
  1. Writer Leigh Whannell
  2. Director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor J. Larose (who portrayed "Troy")
  3. Actors Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith (who portrayed "Jigsaw" and "Amanda" respectively)
  • "Jigsaw's Plan" - A trivia game.
  • "Filmmaker Favs" - Texts about the favorite scenes/lines/details as chosen by the production crew and certain cast members.
  • "Looking Tortured" - Featurette explaining how to replicate certain make-up effects from the three movies.
  • "Choose the Death" - Commentary on 10 different traps (Primarily from Saw II and Saw III)
  • Music video: "Killer Inside- Messed Up World Remix" (Hydrovibe featuring Shawnee Smith)
  • A clip of the first trap in Saw IV

This version of Saw III is the definitive one that Darren Lynn Bousman had originally intended (prior to being forced to edit the film by the MPAA for the theatrical release), with a total running time of 121 minutes. A deleted scene reincorporated into this version of the film depicts a brutal catfight between Amanda and Lynn. In another added scene, Amanda appears to be having nightmares about kidnapping Adam before she finally decides to give him a mercy killing. This scene also reveals Jigsaw knew Amanda killed Adam. Also included is the original ending, which shows Jeff stumbling over to Lynn's corpse, playing Jigsaw's tape, then screaming before the credits begin.


  1. Hollywood Gothique: SAW IV - Darren Lynn Bousman Interview

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