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A Series of Understatements

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | October 29, 2010 | Comments ()


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After following the trials and tribulations of the Jigsaw Killer through seven Saw films, one conclusion at this point seems inescapable: John Kramer was not a very nice man. In fact, he was a troubled person. He was a civil engineer, and though he was a decent family man for most of his life, the frontal lobe tumor that developed from unfortunate colon cancer might have scarred the gentleman psychologically. He may have been very well intentioned, but his means were misguided. It's easy to understand why, after a failed suicide attempt, he'd have a renewed sense of life and purpose, but perhaps his desires to instill that same renewal in other people were ill-advised. He might have considered providing self-help books to his victims instead putting them through the rigors of his games, where more often than not, these flawed individuals would find themselves mutilated, punctured, or divided into multiple segments. This is no way to treat the human body, sir. Certainly, while the reward is very high -- the victims could unearth their own survival instincts -- the risks seemed disproportionate to ultimate reward. Mr. Kramer, given his profession, should've understood the statistical probabilities behind these elaborate shenanigans.

Granted, at one point the Jigsaw Killer was denied a health-coverage claim that might have saved his life, but while many of us might sympathize with his plight, it seems unreasonable to put an insurance executive through a series of tasks that involved allowing others to die unnecessarily only, in the end, to watch that poor executive pumped full of hyrdoflouric acid, which dissolved him from the inside. There's a grievance and appeals process that Mr. Kramer should've availed himself of before ending the lives of those people. Likewise, Mr. Kramer could've properly notified the authorities when dealing with those insidious individuals involved in a disastrous fire instead of putting them through a series of games designed to test their ability to work together. After all, there are corporate retreats that teach similar skills and at substantially less costs to human lives. Mr. Kramer unfortunately never understood that we are only human. Some of us may, on occasion, lie or cheat on a loved one. However, a bear trap designed to snap someone's jaw apart seems somewhat excessive punishment in light of the circumstances.

Another thing: After he was diagnosed with cancer, Mr. Kramer might've been better served in fulfilling his bucket list instead of meddling in the lives of others. With the proper diet and self-care, he probably could've extended his life for a few months, or even years, instead of meeting his untimely death. A power saw is such an unfortunate way to go out. Nevertheless, that Mr. Kramer would leave a tape recording in his stomach providing instructions to his accomplices, in addition to a series of tapes and envelopes he left to both an accomplice and his ex-wife, leads one to imagine that Mr. Kramer perhaps had too much time on his hands. Who thinks of all these things? Mr. Kramer must have had a very skilled trusts and estates lawyer to assist him in these matters.

That brings us to Saw 3D, the 7th film in the franchise. Poor Mr. Kramer: He had so many personal slights he needed to avenge, and even in death, the man simply can't let go. Once again, Mr. Hoffman -- who cleverly survived the bear trap that Kramer's ex-wife left in his mouth in the last film -- is carrying out the Jigsaw Killer's wishes. It seems that a certain individual lied about having survived a Jigsaw Killer trap, and he and his handlers made a mint writing a self-help book about those made-up experiences. Mr. Kramer, rather than resting peacefully in the afterlife, simply could not abide this, so Mr. Hoffman set up another game, similar to those in previous movies only slightly heightened while wearing the 3D glasses provided by the theater at an additional cost. The author that fabricated the story had then to attempt to save his publicist, his lawyer, his agent, and his wife from games that seem better suited to test his threshold of pain than his survival instinct. He often fails, however, and it is his friends who have to suffer, be it by neck puncture or conflagration.

In Saw 3D, the former cop, Mr. Hoffman, no longer seems to be working within the spirit of Mr. Kramer's moral code. There's a certain disregard to human life behind Mr. Hoffman's motivations. Fortunately, Mr. Kramer made contingency plans for even this. What foresight! No one certainly could accuse the Jigsaw Killer of not planning for a number of certain scenarios. But one wonders if he'd put that much effort into his marriage and into fighting his insurer, perhaps he'd still be alive today and happily married! Better still, the police would've been spared many lives and multiple investigations footed by we, the taxpayers.

But who are we to judge? I'm sure there are many among us who have imagined putting a certain co-worker, a disloyal friend, an unfaithful companion, or annoying family member through similar trials in the hopes that they, too, could become better people with more appreciation for their lives. Perhaps it is we who are flawed for not having the courage and intelligence to follow through on our own macabre designs. Maybe we should be celebrating the Jigsaw Killer -- here's a man with a six-year plan, and not even his own death could prevent him from carrying it out. What spirit! What determination! It is my only hope that he had no other accomplices or slights to pursue so that he may finally rest in peace, although the events at the end of Saw 3D perhaps suggest otherwise, despite a certain studio's insistence that this would be the last in the series.

I suppose we'll find out the real truth next Halloween.



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