SAW 7 Vicious and violent beyond description, this grotesque gore fest is amplified in 3D to satisfy the bloodlust of fans who enjoy pain, suffering and extreme torment. This could be the last chapter, but who knows? Is it "Game Over"? This seventh installment picks up with Jigsaw's vengeful wife and Hoffman, his bloodthirsty handyman, battling for control of Jigsaw's legacy. As Jill enters protective custody and makes Hoffman's true identity public, Hoffman sets up a new game involving skinheads to find a way to Jill. Meanwhile, Bobby Dagen, a fraud who has written a book about escaping a Jigsaw trap he never had experienced, is captured and forced to confront people around him who knew he lied about being in a trap. What follows is a series of elaborate and hard-to-watch death-traps, with victims spilling their guts out on to viewers' laps. The expected twist at the end will be quite surprising for die-hard fans who feed off the intricate plots that spin a web of deceit and unveil deadly secret. Following the release of Saw V the franchise became the most successful horror franchise based on US domestic box office, grossing more than the Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and Friday the 13th franchises in unadjusted dollars. (reviewed by Daniel Dercksen)ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw's brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror...
The first theatrical feature to be shot exclusively on the cutting-edge SI-3D digital camera system, SAW 3D brings the horrifying games of Jigsaw to life like never before. The film stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, with Sean Patrick Flanery, and Cary Elwes. SAW 3D is directed by Kevin Greutert, written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, and produced by Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules and Mark Burg. SAW 3D is a Lionsgate Release. Twisted Pictures presents a Burg/Koules/Hoffman production.
ABOUT THE SAW FRANCHISE
"What the fuck is going on? Where am I?"
Those words, uttered two minutes into 2004's SAW, express the primal emotions - the hopeless confusion, the awful sense of powerlessness and sheer, panic-stricken terror - that lie at the heart of Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures' SAW franchise; emotions that are a key to its phenomenal success. The SAW films follow the machinations of Jigsaw, a terminally ill cancer patient with an exacting moral agenda and a genius for gruesome games of survival, "played" with those he believes have ceased to value and appreciate the gift of life. The approach of Halloween each October has brought a new SAW title, replete with gruesomely inventive traps and tantalizing clues about Jigsaw's master plan. To date, the six SAW titles have taken in over $730 million in worldwide theatrical box office, DVD sales have exceeded 30 million units, and SAW has earned an official place in the Guinness Book of Records has as the "Most Successful Horror Movie Series." Furthermore, SAW has picked up the baton from classic horror series such as HALLOWEEN and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET to become a part of the pop cultural landscape, referenced in mainstream entertainment like "The Simpsons" and known even to non-horror fans.
Now, seven years after Jigsaw introduced himself to the world, the final pieces of his puzzle will fall into place in the last of this SAW series, SAW 3D. SAW 3D is the first theatrical feature to be shot exclusively on the cutting-edge SI-3D digital camera system, which allows for the extremely close, fast shooting style that is a SAW hallmark. It includes the most traps of any SAW film, eleven; and even answers a question raised back in SAW: what happened to Dr. Gordon, last seen crawling away (minus one foot) from Jigsaw's subterranean chamber of horrors?
SAW 3D director Kevin Greutert has been with the franchise from the beginning, having edited the first five features before moving into his current role with SAW VI. Greutert thinks part of the franchise's enduring appeal lies in a storytelling approach that deviates from the horror norm. "Most slasher films introduce the victims and then kill them off, one by one, and there's not much going on beyond that. SAW is very different. The plotting is very intricate. We always have at least three central character storylines that are interwoven throughout the movie, and if you look at the seven films as whole, it's even richer. So many ideas, so much talent go into the making of these films. And I think the films have evolved and are each unique, from one to the next."
Producer Oren Koules explains that the filmmakers have kept in mind both the dedicated fan and the casual viewer in conceiving the SAW sequels. "We've taken a two-pronged approach in doing every SAW film. We want to make sure we take care of our loyal fans that come to every single movie and live and breathe our films. We really spend hundreds of hours going, 'Okay, if someone dies, how does it affect three movies ago? How does it affect two movies from now?' And we also want to make sure that for someone who'd heard about them and just decided to walk into, say, SAW IV, that it's a great movie from beginning to end."
Producer Mark Burg goes on to note another key factor in SAW's longevity: actor Tobin Bell, who has portrayed Jigsaw, a/k/a John Kramer, throughout the series. "Tobin's contribution to the franchise is enormous. In SAW, he's lying motionless, ostensibly dead, on a cement floor for virtually all of the movie; now he's writing a lot of his own dialogue. He is the character. He is a cornerstone of the success of SAW."
Without question, Bell's Jigsaw has become one of most indelible characters in modern horror, and the actor has received glowing praise from critics. In a September 7, 2007 essay on contemporary horror movies in the L.A. Weekly, critic Luke Thomson wrote, "Tobin Bell's performance as Jigsaw is a wonder; he's the best 'real-world' horror antihero since Anthony Hopkins first played Hannibal Lecter."
Bell describes the role as a rewarding creative adventure. "You don't often get an opportunity to play the same character in seven films, so this has been fantastic," he says. "In terms of horror villains, I think he's been a richer character than most because of the concepts that the writers have come up with regarding his actions. John Kramer talks about things that we all think about, like appreciating your blessings and relationships with other people, and how friends can sometimes climb over friends to get what they want. I never play him like he views himself as an evil guy, because he doesn't."
The SAW series is its own saga, of course. Directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell from a story by Wan and Whannell, SAW made its world premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival as part of the Festival's popular "Park City at Midnight" program. Festival Director Geoffrey Gilmore, who programs the annual event, recalls that he was impressed by the first-time filmmakers' command of both form and theme. "SAW grabbed the viewer from the first frame; it was bold, cleverly constructed and flat-out terrifying," he comments. "But what really set SAW apart was its moral seriousness. This movie didn't just want to scare you, it wanted to make you think about what you would do to stay alive. In today's world, that is not a trivial thing to contemplate -- either as an individual or as a member of society."
As the SAW series continued, the films tunneled further into Jigsaw's beliefs and worldview. Says series co-creator Whannell, who wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for SAW, SAW II and SAW III, "Jigsaw's cancer has led him to think very hard about what it means to be alive and how close we are to death at any given time. But he's not someone who stops with a simple 'carpe diem' and a trip to Europe. The concept of life's value becomes a springboard to look at other personal moral choices, like forgiveness versus retribution. Jigsaw keeps digging into these issues, which become grist for his games. And as twisted as the games are, his intention is to help people. Between his philosophical bent and his sick take on altruism, I like to think Jigsaw is somewhat unique in the horror universe."
The SAW franchise has been part of a wave of horror films that have drawn favorable comparisons to the independent horror cinema of the 1970s, a connection highlighted in a Summer 2007 series at New York's Museum of the Moving Image, entitled "It's Only a Movie: Horror Films from the 1970s and Today." The six-weekend retrospective drew a thru-line between films like Wes Craven's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and Tobe Hooper's TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974), which shocked audiences of their day with envelope-pushing gore and disturbing explorations of human behavior; and the films of the SAW age, including Darren Lynn Bousman's SAW II, which contain images and stories that have left today's viewers just as stunned and terrified -- and eager for more -- as the moviegoers of the 1970s. "It's Only a Movie" presented double features that paired films from each era, with SAW II sharing a bill with Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
Announcing the series in June 2007, the Museum's Chief Curator, David Schwartz said, "These movies are of considerable aesthetic and cultural interest, clearly reflecting the fears of contemporary lives…. Of course we are aware that these films contain disturbing, often shocking images, but they are powerful precisely because they tap into our deepest anxieties."
Assistant Curator Livia Bloom also weighed in. "The filmmakers in this series use the horror genre as a commercial framework to make smart, often subversive films. Their work examines deep psychological concerns, and comments on social and political issues of the day." Bloom noted that in SAW's "startling scenes of torture," she found "reflections of a life during a time of war and turmoil."
The thematic and stylistic consistency of the SAW series owes much to the stewardship and participation of a core team, many of whom have been with the series for most, if not all of, its life. In addition to Burg, Koules and Greutert, this team includes SAW originators Wan and Whannell; the late producer Gregg Hoffman; and executive producers Daniel Heffner, Stacey Testro, Peter Block and Jason Constantine; director of photography David A. Armstrong, who laid the creepy visual template for the series and shot the first six installments; screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who have delved into psychology and mayhem since SAW IV; composer Charlie Clouser, a onetime member of the band Nine Inch Nails; costume designer Alex Kavanagh; and casting director Stephanie Gorin. Writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman joined the team with the critical sequel SAW II and went on to helm SAW III and SAW IV. Production designer David Hackl created Jigsaw's universe for the first four films in the series before directing SAW V, at which time current production designer Tony Ianni (V, VI, 3D) joined the crew.
The SAW franchise is not only about big-screen blood; it also about the blood that saves lives. With the release of the first SAW in 2004, Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures embarked on a cutting-edge promotion tailored specifically to the franchise's profile: a nationwide SAW blood drive that exhorted fans to "Give Til It Hurts" to benefit the Red Cross. The SAW "Give Til It Hurts" Blood Drive became a key element of the SAW franchise, as much a part of its annual rituals as the Halloween premiere date. Each year brought a new ad campaign photographed by Tim Palen, Lionsgate Co-President of Theatrical Marketing and fine art photographer, and featuring the SAW nurses, seductive angels of questionable mercy and considerable visual impact. In six years of blood drives, SAW filmgoers donated nearly 124,641 pints of blood to help save as many as 373,923 lives.
As intricate as one of Jigsaw's games, the SAW films reveal their twisting plots gradually. The series itself resembles an even larger jigsaw puzzle, with each new film linking up in some way with its predecessor. As SAW 3D arrives to bring this series to its conclusion, now is the time to look at the pieces thus far. To paraphrase Jigsaw's victims: where are we?
KEVIN GREUTERT (Director) is a native of Pasadena, California. He received a production degree at USC Film School and rose through the ranks of film editing on such projects as TITANIC, ARMAGEDDON and INSPECTOR GADGET. He was brought onto the first SAW film through the merits of his work on the Disney comedy GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE II, and edited all five films of the horror series before directing SAW VI AND SAW 3D. He also edited several other horror films, including THE STRANGERS.
PATRICK MELTON (Writer) hails from Evanston, Illinois and attended the University of Iowa, where he met his writing partner, Marcus Dunstan. After moving to Los Angeles and working for various film companies, Patrick attended Loyola Marymount University, where he received his MFA in Screenwriting. In 2004, Patrick won the filmmaking contest Project Greenlight for the script he co-wrote with Marcus Dunstan titled FEAST. Since then, Patrick and Marcus have become household names in the horror genre with such films as SAW IV, SAW V, SAW VI, the two FEAST sequels, and THE COLLECTOR, which Dunstan also directed. They have provided rewrites for the successful MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D and the recently released PIRANHA 3D. Currently, Patrick and Marcus are writing a film version of THE OUTER LIMITS for MGM and they are preparing to film THE COLLECTOR 2 this fall with Dunstan returning to the director's chair.
MARCUS DUNSTAN (Writer) hails from Macomb, IL and attended the University of Iowa, where he met his writing partner Patrick Melton. After moving to North Hollywood in January of 1999, Marcus attempted to stay in shape by jogging in a nearby park. He found a gun in that park, ran back to his apartment and shortly thereafter gained 50 pounds. Odd job after odd job followed as Mr. Dunstan watched his youth dim under the mocking gaze of his Communications Degree. A fateful call from Patrick Melton began with, "What if we took a shot at writing a horror film?" That script became FEAST, which was selected by Project Greenlight and released by Dimension Films. The success of FEAST led to the creation of two sequels that so offended one viewer, Dunstan was asked not to reproduce. In 2007, Marcus co-wrote SAW IV with Patrick Melton, during which time, Dunstan, fearing kidney stones, endured an ultrasound only to discover that his jeans were so tight they had pinched a nerve under his ribcage. With shame intact, Marcus co-wrote SAW V, SAW VI and SAW 3D for director Kevin Greutert. Dunstan's next offering as director will be THE COLLECTION, a sequel to his directorial debut, THE COLLECTOR, which is based, once again, on a script co-written by his college bud, Patrick Melton. The screenwriting duo are currently working on the film adaptation of the sci-fi series THE OUTER LIMITS which will hopefully bring Dunstan one step closer to realizing his lifelong dream of living on the moon…or within walking distance of a Jimmy John's Subs…whichever comes first.
JAMES WAN (Executive Producer) returns to Toronto's Midnight Madness with INSIDIOUS, a supernatural thriller starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne and conceived with long time writing partner Leigh Whannell.
Wan was one of the youngest students ever to be accepted into the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's highly respected film and media school in Australia, where he first met Whannell and together they started creating and developing the world and characters that would become known as SAW, now the most successful horror movie series of all time as named this year by the Guinness World Records.
Wan directed the first SAW, which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and stars multi-award winners Danny Glover and Cary Elwes. Lionsgate released SAW in October 2004 and has subsequently released a new installment every October since.
DEAD SILENCE, Wan's second feature film, was released by Universal Pictures in March 2006. Wan's third feature film DEATH SENTENCE, an action packed revenge thriller starring Kevin Bacon, was released by Fox in 2007.
In 2008, Wan co-created, produced and directed a comedy short film DOGGIE HEAVEN as part of a slate of original programming which premiered on XBOX Live Marketplace. Wan's other credits include creative consultant on the SAW video game and co-creator and director of "Loved Ones," a trailer for EA's Dead Space.
Wan received the Greg Tepper Award in 2004, a prestigious award for outstanding achievement in Film.
LEIGH WHANNELL (Executive Producer) hails from Melbourne, Australia, where he began his career as an actor appearing in Australian series such as "Neighbours" and "Blue Heelers" and as a presenter on the cult hit TV series "Recovery," which he later went on to host in its last two seasons. As a film critic on "Recovery," Whannell interviewed such people as George Clooney, Jackie Chan and Tim Burton. While studying film at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Whannell met filmmaker James Wan, where they started developing ideas together, including the 2004 Lionsgate release SAW, which Whannell wrote and starred in. In addition to his work on the screenplay for SAW II, Whannell wrote and starred in SAW III and is an Executive Producer on the SAW franchise and a creative consultant on the SAW video game. Whannell's other writing credits include the Universal release DEAD SILENCE. Whannell's acting credits include the Warner Brothers release MATRIX RELOADED, the Fox release DEATH SENTENCE, the independent feature THE PARDON starring Jaime King, the Australian feature DYING BREED which premiered at Tribeca, a character voice in Warner Brothers' upcoming release LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS, and INSIDIOUS which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. Whannell wrote the screenplay and stars in the picture with James Wan once again directing. Whannell received the Greg Tepper Award in 2004, a prestigious award for outstanding achievement in Film. Whannell is currently developing a number of projects, including a thriller with Wan.
THE ART OF SEQUELS