Tobin Bell returns as Jigsaw, the mastermind behind the gruesome death games. Angus MacFadyen and Bahar Soomekh are the principal additions to the cast. Director Darren Bousman returns after Saw II .
“The hardest thing is trying to give the audience something they haven't seen before,” says Bousman. “We have to make it more violent, more intense, more horrific, but also stay true to the story and the characters.” Bousman and Executive Producer/Writer Leigh Whannell emphasize how important it was to provoke the audience and involve them with greater horror. “This movie is a horror film for a much smarter audience. It's non-linear like the first two films. There are flashbacks within flashbacks.”
Usually, horror films depend on many of the same staples of the genre: blood, gore, graphic violence. Saw III required some preparation and pre-visualization from both the cast and crew.
Shawnee Smith, who plays Amanda (Jigsaw's daughter and the heir to his criminal games), says she had difficulty on the set and simply absorbing the violence. “It's a dream part for an actress. This chick [her character in the film] kicks ass! We had insomnia on the set, violent images, blood.”
In this installment, the manipulative Jigsaw is ill and bedridden. He sends Amanda out to kidnap a doctor (Soomekh), who will be in charge of keeping Jigsaw alive long enough so that he can finish playing another one of his sick torture games with a guy named Jeff (MacFadyen). Just like Saw I and Saw II , Saw III is both disturbing and disgusting. According to Bell, though, it's also more complex than its predecessors.
“As soon as you begin to answer one question about a particular scene or a particular moment, that question opens up two more questions and those two questions pose four more questions. There's a lot of work to be done,” he says.
Indeed, the cornerstone of this film is a combination of psychological torture and the actual, physical violence that takes place. Bauman says “the uneasiness, pain, and disgust” are what make Saw III unique.
Soomekh agrees, expounding, “My preparation was seeing Saw I and Saw II and to meet Darren and to know his vision. Genuine, animalistic fear and learning to let go [of what we take for granted were my preparation]. This script is really smart and there's depth to it. We've dissected it and analyzed it, and Leigh and Darren and the producers have been so receptive to the actors' input. This story gets to the rawest of emotions. It's really terrifying.”
Whannell adds, “It did something new to the horror genre.” Bousman and Whannell collaborated closely on the film every step of the way.
“ Saw has a signature style,” says Bousman. “We're using a lot of whip-pans and flash-frames to create a dynamic feel. I really don't like to cut away from the gore. I'm a big fan of actually showing the audience what they want to see. We've littered this movie with nods to the first two films, with clues and puzzles – everything the fans love, more traps, more blood, more twists, more turns. So this, really, is a movie for them.”
Whannell comments that one always faces the question from friends about “would you do this or that,” “would you trade this for that.” This film is an application of that mind game and our willingness to sacrifice in the most excruciating of circumstances.
Saw III releases in theaters Oct. 27.