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FAQ for
Saw III (2006) More at IMDbPro »

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Saw III can be found here.

John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is on his death bed. He has Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) kidnap Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh), a skilled surgeon, and a collar loaded with five shotgun shells is placed around her neck. She is informed that it is her duty to keep John alive long enough for him to watch a second game involving another person. If she moves too far away from John or he dies, the collar will trigger, killing her. If she keeps him alive, they will let her go. Jeff Denlon (Angus Macfadyen), whose eight-year-old son was killed three years ago by a drunk driver, has become obsessed with revenge against those he deems responsible. His obsession has put a great deal of stress on his marriage, and caused him to neglect his remaining child, Corbett (Niamh Wilson). His test is to make his way through a meat packing factory where the three people he holds most responsible for his son's death have been imprisoned: Danica Scott (Debra McCabe), the only witness to the accident who refused to testify; Judge Halden (Barry Flatman) who sentenced the driver to only six months in prison; and Timothy Young (Mpho Koaho), the drunk driver that killed Jeff's son. Jeff must choose whether to save them and let go of the past or to exact his revenge by letting them die and put his future at risk.

Saw III is the third film in the Saw series, preceded by Saw (2004) and Saw II (2005), all of which stem from an original screenplay by screenwriters Leigh Whannell and James Wan. Whannell also wrote the screenplay for Saw III. It is followed by Saw IV (2007), Saw V (2008), Saw VI (2009), Saw 3D (2010), and Jigsaw (2017).

Immediately. The opening of Saw III shows Detective Eric Matthews still trapped in the bathroom where Amanda left him shackled to the plumbing at the end of Saw II. With only a flashlight to see in the dark, Eric is able to see the leftovers from the previous incident in the bathroom (from Saw), which are Dr. Gordon's decayed foot and the bodies of Adam and Zep. Realizing that he is going to die if he doesn't get out of the bathroom, Matthews reaches for the hacksaw, but cannot bring himself to cut off his foot. Instead, he uses a piece of the broken toilet tank lid to break his ankle so that he can slip it out of the chain. The film then shows another incident several months later, in which Detective Allison Kerry is investigating Jigsaw's latest victim, Troy (J. LaRose), whose body was blown apart when he failed to break free of the chains that pierced his body and held him prisoner. She also notices that this game is not typical of Jigsaw, as the door to Troy's chamber was welded shut. Even if he had escaped the chains in time, there was no way for him to escape the bomb. That night, Kerry is kidnapped and forced to play another of Jigsaw's games. Her rib cage is attached to a device that can be opened by obtaining a key that has been placed in a beaker of acid. When she gets the key and unlocks the device, it does not open. She sees someone in the shadows and says "You" before her rib cage is torn apart, killing her.

It is open for debate, but there could be six games in total. First, there is Troy, who needs to escape the room he is in before it explodes. The second game involves Det. Kerry, who needs to retrieve a key to free herself before a device pulls her rib cage apart. However, both games are revealed to be unwinnable, i.e. there is no outcome where they can survive. Both games appear mainly as subplots.

There are two games in the main plot, concerning two victims: Jeff, a grief-stricken father who neglects his family in a quest for vengeance, and Lynn, a doctor who is cheating on her husband. Jeff is put through a series of trials whereby he must learn to forgive and stop living for revenge; Lynn simply has to keep John "Jigsaw" Kramer alive until Jeff completes his trials. What is atypical here for Jigsaw's games is that there doesn't seem to be any danger to Jeff's life; normally, the victim's own life is at stake. We later learn why: Jeff's final trial is a confrontation with John "Jigsaw" Kramer himself, where Jeff will be given the opportunity to forgive John for all the hardship he has put him through. If Jeff succeeds, he and Lynn (who are husband and wife) are free to leave; if Jeff fails, this will cause Lynn's death, and his daughter's (who has been kidnapped as well).

It is not until the very end that we learn that both Jeff and Lynn were actually part of the fifth and (arguably) sixth game, with the victims being Amanda and John themselves. Amanda built traps that were unwinnable, making her no better than a killer in John's eyes. So Amanda's game is to give Lynn a fair challenge: if Amanda allows Lynn to survive, Jeff will leave with his wife and Amanda will not be harmed; if Amanda fails, Lynn will die and Jeff will kill Amanda. John has made it his life's work to put his victims to the test by placing them in life-threatening situations, in the hope that he can "cure" them and make them appreciate their lives again. His game involves putting his method to the test, and himself at the mercy of one of his victims: if the victim is indeed cured, he will forgive John; if not, he may kill John out of revenge.

Who wrote the letter is revealed in Saw IV, and what it says is shown in Saw VI. Since Darren Lynn Bousman directed both Saw III and Saw IV, it was his intention to reveal who wrote the letter, but he has stated that he himself never had any intention to reveal its contents. Therefore the contents of the letter as seen in Saw VI may not have been what Bousman or Whannell intended, as Saw VI was written and directed by a different team.

John makes it through the brain surgery, thanks to Lynn's skill. While semiconscious, he professes out loud his love for a woman named Jill. After his vitals have stabilized, he asks Amanda to leave the room so that he can speak alone with Lynn. Amanda takes this to mean that John cares more for Lynn than for her, so she goes off to brood. Meanwhile, Jeff has made it through all three tests and is making his way through the meat packing factory, looking for the exit. As Lynn confesses to John that she now has learned to appreciate her husband, Amanda suddenly bursts into a room with a gun. She points the gun at Lynn, even as John explains to her that, although Lynn means nothing to him, she means everything to Amanda. Amanda refuses to believe this. She shoots Lynn just as Jeff walks into the room. Having found a gun on his way out, Jeff shoots Amanda. As Amanda is dying, John explains that Jeff is actually Lynn's husband. John hoped to make her a worthy disciple to continue his work after his death, but her shooting Lynn out of jealousy, as well as for changing the rules of some games in order to make the traps inescapable, proved to him only that she is just another murderer, and he can't abide murderers. As Lynn is dying, John gives Jeff a chance to save her. He reveals a table full of instruments with which Jeff can kill him. If Jeff has learned anything from his ordeal, it should be that it is better to forgive than to seek revenge. Therefore, John asks him to simply forgive him. For a moment, it seems like Jeff might do just that but instead, he picks up a circular saw and slices through John's throat. As John dies, he plays a tape explaining that this was Jeff's final test (which he has now failed by killing John). The tape ends with John offering Jeff one more game for a chance to find out the whereabouts of his daughter Corbett, whom John had kidnapped and hidden somewhere in the building, and that John is the only person who knows where she is. John then dies, the bullets in Lynn's collar are fired, and the chamber door swings closed.

Troy, Allison Kerry, Danica Scott, Adam Stanheight (flashback; fate finally revealed), Judge Halden, Timothy Young, Amanda Young, John Kramer/Jigsaw, and Lynn Denlon. Jeff and Corbett Denlon's fate are left open as is the fate of Detective Eric Matthews.

In the U.S. three versions have been released: The Theatrical Version, the Unrated Version, and a Director's Cut. The theatrical version was trimmed down in 132 scenes (most of them cuts due to violence to secure the R rating). The theatrical version has also been released on DVD as well as an unrated version which includes the scenes that were cut from the theatrical version. A few months later a Director's Cut was released. It includes all of the scenes from the unrated version but also offers some new plot scenes and an alternate ending. A detailed comparison between the Theatrical Version and the Unrated Version can be found here. A comparison between the Unrated Version and the Director's Cut can be found here here.


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