Every era gets the horror movies it deserves. Halloween was born out of ’70s promiscuity, Hellraiser out of the ’80s S&M boom. The torture ordeals of Saw and its increasingly duff sequels are either a result of mallrats’ nu-metal leanings (all piercings and self-harm) or maybe even Abu Ghraib.
For III, Tobin Bell returns as Jigsaw, the psycho with an inventive repertoire of deadly games. He’s on his deathbed, tended by apprentice Shawnee Smith and a kidnapped ER doc (Bahar Soomekh), but he still has time for one last cellar full of victims: women are deep frozen; men drowned in rotten pig meat. It’s sick and slick but also – incredibly – rather dull. It doesn’t help that it’s a movie without a hero (Danny Glover and Donnie Wahlberg long gone); the vacuum ineffectively filled by Jigsaw moralising about torture as a form of salvation. Is he on the CIA payroll?