DIY torture's back in Saw 3, a sequel that has nothing new just more of the bloody same. Tobin Bell returns as the terminally ill serial killer, who's being nursed by apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith) and kidnapped doc Lynn (Bahar Soomekh) while another group of victims fight for their lives in his dungeon lair. The inventive torture has a baroque feel (rusty killing machines like something out of the Marquis De Sade), but the dull plot crawls slower than a man with broken ankles.
After its glorious debut the Saw series stuttered with a rushed sequel that was strictly second-rate. The third entry is the weakest yet, as development haemorrhages into a franchise blood clot. The story's virtually an after-thought, screenwriter Leigh Whannell apparently spent all his time inventing new tortures: a man drowns in rotten pig flesh and brain surgery with power tools lets us hear what a drill bit clunking on skull bone sounds like. When you're not covering your eyes, though, you're looking at your watch.
"WEAKEST IN THE SERIES"
Jittery, crack-high editing adds an extra layer of horror to the proceedings. The production design is what you'd expect a snuff movie to look like - dark basement cells, shower rooms with blood-smeared white tiles, a soundtrack of yells and pleading. Most of all, the shadow of current news headlines lies heavy over this movie. The fact that it contrives to give its torture master the moral high ground (apparently he only tortures his victims for their own good) is possibly more perverse than any of its violence.