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Saw3 cape10.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDarren Lynn Bousman
Screenplay byLeigh Whannell
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyDavid A. Armstrong
Edited byKevin Greutert
Music byCharlie Clouser
Distributed byLionsgate[2]
Release date
  • October 27, 2006 (2006-10-27) (United States)
Running time
108 minutes[3]
CountriesUnited States[4]
Budget$10 million[5]
Box office$164.9 million[6]

Saw III is a 2006 horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman from a screenplay by Leigh Whannell and a story by Whannell and James Wan. It is the third installment in the Saw film series. The film stars Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, and Dina Meyer. The plot follows Jeff Denlon, a man whose son was killed by a drunk driver, who is put through a series of tests by Jigsaw meant to help him overcome his anger towards the killer driver. Meanwhile, John Kramer, now bed-ridden due to progression of his cancer, has his apprentice, Amanda Young, kidnap Dr. Lynn Denlon (Jeff's wife), who is tasked with keeping John alive for one final test before his death.

Much like its predecessor, Saw II, the film was immediately green-lit after the successful opening weekend of the prior film. Filming took place in Toronto from May to June 2006. Whannell aimed to make the story more emotional than previous installments, particularly with the Amanda and Jigsaw storyline. The film is dedicated to producer Gregg Hoffman, who died on December 4, 2005.

Saw III was released in the United States on October 27, 2006, by Lionsgate. It was a financial success, opening to $33.6 million and grossing $80.2 million in the United States and Canada. It is the highest-grossing film of the series in the international market with $84.6 million and the highest-grossing film in the series overall with $164.9 million worldwide. It received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Bell was nominated for "Best Villain" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards and the film received nominations for a Saturn Award as "Best Horror Film". The film was released to DVD and Blu-ray on January 23, 2007, and topped the charts selling 2.5 million units in its first week. A sequel, titled Saw IV, was released in 2007.


After being left in the bathroom to die, Detective Eric Matthews breaks his foot with a toilet lid to escape his shackle. Six months later, the aftermath of a Jigsaw game is discovered by Officer Daniel Rigg's SWAT team. The victim, Troy, had to rip chains from his body to escape a bomb. Detective Allison Kerry points out that the room's exit was welded shut, breaking Jigsaw's modus operandi of giving his victims a chance to survive. While reviewing the videotape, Kerry is abducted and awakens in a harness hooked into her ribs. She retrieves the key from a beaker of acid as instructed, but the lock does not open and the trap inevitably kills her.

Dr. Lynn Denlon is abducted from the hospital she works at and brought to the bedridden John Kramer. His apprentice, Amanda Young, locks a collar armed with five shotgun shells around Lynn's neck that is connected to John's heart rate monitor and will detonate if she moves out of range or John dies. Lynn is instructed by Amanda to keep him alive until another test subject has completed his game; the victim Jeff, a grief-stricken father consumed with vengeance after the death of his son Dylan in a drunk driving accident, must undergo a series of tests around the abandoned meatpacking plant to confront those involved in the case.

Jeff's first test leads him into a meat freezer where he finds Danica Scott, the only witness to the accident, who refused to testify in court; naked and chained to a metal frame inside the plant's freezer, with nozzles inside the frame to spray her with water to quicken her hypothermia. Jeff retrieves the key after Danica persuades him to help her, but she freezes to death before he can do so. In his next test, Judge Halden, who passed a lenient sentence on the driver who caused Dylan's death, is chained at the neck to the bottom of a vat. Rotting pig carcasses are dropped into a grinder that slowly fill the pit until Jeff saves him by burning Dylan's memorabilia in an incinerator to retrieve a key. His third test involves Timothy Young, the driver who killed Dylan, who is strapped to a machine that will slowly twist his limbs and then his head. The key is tied to the trigger of an enclosed shotgun that goes off after Jeff retrieves it, accidentally killing Halden. Jeff fails to save Timothy in time and the machine breaks his neck.

Lynn is forced to perform an improvised surgery to relieve pressure on John's brain. The surgery is successful and Lynn convinces John to order Amanda to remove the collar. However, Amanda refuses and threatens Lynn's life, having become jealous of her interactions with John. John pleads with Amanda, who admits that she no longer believes in his philosophy and had been manipulating her traps to Troy and Kerry. Refusing to listen to John's warnings, Amanda shoots Lynn just as Jeff arrives. Jeff, who is revealed to be Lynn's husband, retaliates by shooting Amanda with a gun provided by John after his tests. As Amanda dies, John reveals that Lynn's test was actually hers: John was aware of her motives and unwilling to allow a murderer to continue his legacy. He then addresses Jeff, offering to call an ambulance for Lynn if he has learned everything from his ordeal, and accept one last test: either killing John or forgiving him. In response, Jeff slashes John's throat with a power saw, activating Lynn's collar as the room is sealed shut. Before dying, John takes out a tape recorder to inform Jeff that his daughter, Corbett was also captured and he must face another test to save her.


Archival footage of Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Erik Knudsen, Beverley Mitchell, Mike Butters, and Paul Gutrecht, as David Tapp, Steven Sing, Daniel Matthews, Laura Hunter, Paul Leahy, and Mark Wilson respectively are seen in the film as well.


Development and writing[edit]

Darren Lynn Bousman, director and co-writer of Saw II (2005), James Wan, director of Saw (2004), and Leigh Whannell, screenwriter on both, turned down the offer to make a third film in the franchise. Saw II producer Gregg Hoffman died a few weeks after its release. Bousman, Wan, and Whannell got together to have lunch the day they heard of Hoffman's passing and decided to make Saw III in dedication to Hoffman.[7] Whannell aimed to make Saw III more emotional, describing the plot as essentially a father-daughter "love story" between Jigsaw and Amanda Young.[8]

Wan (left) and Whannell (right) returned to write Saw III and also served as executive producers.

Dr. Lawrence Gordon, the protagonist of the first film, was originally meant to return as the protagonist again, being forced by Jigsaw to play another game to save his wife and culminating with him killing Jigsaw and Amanda, ending the series as a trilogy. This ended up becoming Jeff Denlon's role in the finished film. Gordon eventually returned to the series in Saw 3D (2010), but with a whole different storyline.[9]

Bousman said they did not intend to have a twist ending, as distinctly as the previous films, noting that "I think most people will figure it out in the first 15 minutes of the film". Whannell added, "What Darren and I struck for Saw III was to have an emotionally impactful ending". As with the previous two films, the ending was only given to the actors who appeared in the final scene at the time it was filmed. At one point the script was stolen from Bousman's chair; however, it was returned before it was leaked online.[10]


Bahar Soomekh became close with Lionsgate after appearing in their film Crash (2004) and they wanted her in their next big film, being cast in the role of Lynn Denlon. Not a fan of horror films nor having seen the first two Saw films, she found the role challenging. "I had nightmares the first month I was on set", she said. She did, however, enjoy not being typecasted as a Middle Eastern like in most of her previous roles. Angus Macfadyen, a fan of certain horror films including Saw, was cast as Jeff Denlon after reading the script.[11]

Costas Mandylor was cast as Mark Hoffman after being introduced to Bousman, who asked him if he wanted to come up and have some fun on the film for a week.[12] J. Larose was cast as Troy, Jigsaw's victim at the beginning of the film. Larose found challenge in playing a role that required making the character's pain look and feel authentic, but nonetheless felt grateful for playing the opening sequence victim of a Saw film, appreciating his opportunity to work with Bousman.[13]

Monica Potter, who played Dr. Gordon's wife Alison in the first film, was approached to reprise her role in the film, but she declined the offer due to a lack of interest, feeling that she had done "plenty" with the first film.[14] Similarly, Daniel Rigg's role in the movie was significantly reduced as Lyriq Bent was unavailable due to his work in Angela's Eyes (2006) at the same time; despite the filmmakers' attempts to make his schedule work, Bent was only able to shoot one day. Bent later speculated that Rigg's intended role in the film could have been that he later had in Saw IV (2007) if he had been available.[15]


Saw III was given a larger budget of $10 million,[16] compared to Saw II's $4 million.[17] Principal photography took place for 27 days[7] at Toronto's Cinespace Film Studios[18] from May 8, 2006, to late June.[19] Production borrowed the bathroom set used in Scary Movie 4, which parodied the franchise.[8] Almost all the transitions from one place to another 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, Meyer had to run, take off all her clothes, and jump into the tub.[8] Visually the film is akin to the previous two with using quick cuts and fast-paced rhythms. Bousman said, "We're using a lot of whip pans and flash frames to create a dynamic feel". Post-production services were provided by Deluxe.[20]

Trap designs[edit]

Bousman described the hardest scene to film was the "Pig Scene", explaining that they had to rush and it involved filming "so many moving parts".[21] The pig carcasses were made out of foam, rubber, and latex.[10] The pig props had live, disinfected maggots attached with honey.[22]

For "The Rack Trap", Whannell originally conceived it as a trap that would fold a person into a box, though it eventually morphed into the twisting of body parts.[23] Bousman wanted to have a trap that involved freezing someone to death since the films had already covered burning to death, bleeding to death, and being cut to death. A body cast was made of Debra Lynne McCabe for "The Freezer Room" trap, but due to safety regulations a person cannot be entombed; only a front or back body cast could be on the actress at any given time.[24] For the "Classroom Trap", J. Larose's character was originally going to be hanged from the ceiling by meat hooks, but it was decided against since he would not have been able to rip the chains out himself (as the script called for). It proved to be a challenge since it was done with prosthetics and practical effects.[20][25]


Saw III was released domestically and in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2006.[26][27] It was released in Australia on November 2, 2006, and on January 4, 2007, in New Zealand.[28] According to executive producer Daniel Heffner, the film was toned down seven times to obtain the "R" rating. According to Bousman, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings board was less concerned with the film's graphic violence than it was with emotional torture, citing television shows like CSI for expanding the scope of what is acceptable.[29] In Japan, Saw III received a R18+ rating while the previous two films received an R15+ rating.[30] In Canada, Saw III is rated 18A by the Maritime Film Classification Board.[31] In the United Kingdom, the film has a BBFC rating of 18.[32] At screenings in the United Kingdom, five people were reported to have fainted at separate cinemas with three at one cinema, resulting in ambulances being called.[33]


The opening scene of Troy's trap was shown at San Diego Comic-Con International on July 21, 2006.[34] The same clip was planned to be shown before the opening of Crank in theaters on September 1, 2006. However, the MPAA would not allow it.[35] On October 10, 2006, Bell, Smith and Bousman appeared at Spike TV's Scream Awards to promote the film and the clip of Troy's trap was shown.[36]

Lionsgate's president of theatrical marketing Tim Palen thought of the idea to make 1,000 posters with a small amount of Bell's blood, which was mixed with the printing ink. He said, "I asked if it would be possible to use actual blood. There was silence. He said, 'We could try, but are you serious?' I said I was dead serious." The posters were sold for $20, with the first being auctioned off; all the proceeds from the auctioned poster were donated to the Red Cross.[37] Lionsgate also held the third annual "Give Til It Hurts" blood drive for the Red Cross and collected 23,493 pints of blood.[38]


The soundtrack was released on October 24, 2006. James Christopher Monger of AllMusic gave the soundtrack three out of five stars.[39] Ed Thompson of IGN Music gave it a 7.2 out of 10.[40]

Saw III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedOctober 24, 2006
LabelArtists Addiction
Various artists chronology
Saw II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Saw III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Saw IV: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Track listing
Saw III: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."This Calling"
All That Remains3:38
2."No Submission"Static-X2:40
3."Eyes of the Insane"Slayer3:33
4."Walk with Me in Hell"Lamb of GodLamb of God5:11
5."Monochrome"Page HamiltonHelmet3:47
7."Drilled A Wire Through My Cheek"
Blue October4:25
8."No More" Drowning Pool4:26
9."Burn It Down"Avenged SevenfoldAvenged Sevenfold4:59
10."Your Nightmare"Eighteen VisionsEighteen Visions3:23
11."Dead Underground"Opiate for the Masses3:58
12."Suffocating Under Words of Sorrow (What Can I Do)"Bullet for My ValentineBullet for My Valentine3:36
13."Fear Is Big Business"
14."The Wolf Is Loose"MastodonMastodon3:34
15."Killer Inside"HydrovibeHydrovibe Featuring Shawnee Smith3:17
18."Effigy"The SmashUpThe SmashUp4:36
19."Siesta Loca"Ghost MachineGhost Machine3:50
20."Sh*! hole Theme"Charlie ClouserClouser3:15
Total length:72:01

Home media[edit]

Saw III was released to DVD and Blu-ray through Lionsgate Home Entertainment on January 23, 2007. It topped the home video charts in the United States and Canada with 1.6 million units sold its first day and finished the week with 2.5 million units sold.[41] The "Unrated DVD" was also released that day and features a 113-minute cut of the film that includes more gore.[41] A 120-minute-long Director's cut was released on October 23, 2007, to coincide with the theatrical release of Saw IV on October 26. It also included an alternate ending.[42] The director's cut was released on Blu-ray in Region B on October 7, 2008, in France only.[43]

Deleted scenes[edit]

The original cut of the film ran for slightly over two hours, and several scenes were cut out, including 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. Adam had more scenes in the original cut.[44] A scene that showed Jigsaw regretting his actions was also cut. Bell said, "I'm glad they cut that scene. This guy knows exactly what he's doing. Does he start off with a model, then refine it? Yeah, he probably does. But there are certain things that are interesting and advance the story, and there are other things that are basically sort of backstory, and you don't really need to know".[45]


Box office[edit]

Saw III opened at number one on 4,700 screens at 3,167 theaters grossing $33.6 million from its opening weekend, a two percent increase from Saw II's $31.7 million. It held the biggest Halloween weekend debut for five years until it was beaten in 2011 by Puss in Boots ($34 million).[46] It was also Lionsgate's highest-opening weekend. Lionsgate's exit polling indicated that 69 percent of the audience was under 25 years old and 51 percent was male.[47] In its second weekend it placed number four, dropping down 56% to $14.8 million, compared to Saw II's second weekend drop of 47% to $16.9 million.[48] The film was closed out of theaters on December 14, 2006, after 49 days of release.[6]

Saw III opened at number five in the international market with an estimated $6 million. It opened at number one in the United Kingdom to $4.7 million. In Taiwan it placed third and opened to $320,000.[49] For its second weekend it opened to number two with an estimated $9.7 million. In Spain it made $3.1 million, an improvement over the previous films.[50] For its third weekend, Saw III grossed $8 million, including Japan's opening on 86 screens with $1.1 million. Australia made $4.3 million, Spain grossed $3.8 million and Brazil made $3.8 million.[51] In its fourth weekend it placed fourth place with an estimated $5.6 million from 24 territories. Its best market was a second-place start in France.[52]

The film took $80.2 million in the United States and Canada and $84.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $164.8 million.[6] Saw III has the highest-grossing weekend in the series, holds the records of highest-grossing in the international market and is the highest-grossing film in the series worldwide.[53] It is also Lionsgate's fifth highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada.[54]

Release date
(United States)
Box office revenue[6]
United States/Canada Other markets Worldwide
October 27, 2006 $10,000,000 $80,238,724 $84,635,551 $164,874,275

Critical response[edit]

The film was not screened in advance for critics.[55] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 28% based on 92 reviews, and a rating average of 4.23/10. The site's consensus states: "Saw III does little beyond repeating its predecessor's tropes on a gorier level."[56] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 48 based on 16 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[57] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B" on an A+ to F scale.[58]

Variety's Robert Koehler gave the film a mixed review. He criticized the use of several flashbacks in the film, saying that it "[...] hinder[ed] the movie, ratcheting down its tension and pace". He explained, "A bigger problem lies with Leigh Whannell's script, which utilizes so many flashbacks and explanatory inserts that the tension, a defining feature of the first Saw, is lost". He did, however praise the acting.[59] Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel gave it two out of five stars, criticizing the plot and acting.[60]

The San Francisco Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub gave the film a negative review, criticizing the plot.[61] Michael Ordoña of the Los Angeles Times said that "More gore is really all Saw III has to offer",[62] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "C".[63] Randy Cordova of The Arizona Republic gave it a negative review saying, "Saw III is devoid of any suspense or terror".[55] Empire's Kim Newman gave the film two out of five stars. He said the acting was "surprisingly good" but criticized the script and torture devices.[64]


Saw III was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film, but lost to The Descent.[65][66] It was also nominated as the "Choice Movie: Horror/Thriller" at the Teen Choice Awards, but lost to Disturbia.[67] Bell was nominated for a MTV Movie Award for Best Villain,[68] but lost to Jack Nicholson for his role in The Departed.[69]


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External links[edit]