Directed by Kevin Greutert, with Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston returning to write the screenplay, Saw VII delivers yet more twists and turns that seem to neatly wrap up the movie series for good.
Now we know of course, that this Final Chapter isn’t actually the last instalment into the franchise but, at the time of release, it was intended to bring everything to a close. In doing so, it brought us some revelations we could never have expected.
Where does the end begin?
We're taken all the way back to the original Saw movie with this film's opening flashback, as we watch Doctor Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) crawl through a hallway after sawing off his own foot in the infamous dilapidated bathroom. Along the way, he finds a steaming hot pipe which he uses to cauterise his wound and stop the bleeding, causing him to pass out due to the pain.
An unknown part of the timeline is then visited, as we see our first public Jigsaw trap in action. At either side of a contraption are two male teens, whilst a third female hangs over them. We discover that she is the girlfriend of both of these men, thus cheating on them both.
Jigsaw tells the men that they may fight for her love by pushing the three circular saws on their trap towards the other; or they can work together and keep the blades in the middle, bringing their girlfriend’s life to an end.
As a huge crowd watches on through the front window of the store in which this trap is taking place, the boys look to want to kill one another before realising that they are both being used by their ex, who simply wants to live and doesn’t care which one of them dies. Thus, they choose to sacrifice her and as their 60-second timer reaches its end, she is lowered down onto the saw and sliced in half. Game over.
Now, where were we?
Shifting to where we left Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) back in Saw VI, where he escaped the Reverse Beartrap despite Jill Tuck's (Betsy Russell) best efforts, we see him chase her down but fail to capture her. Instead, he goes straight into hiding.
Hoping for protection, Tuck goes straight to the authorities where we are introduced to Internal Affairs Officer, Matt Gibson (Chad Donella). She asks for protection and immunity in exchange for information about Detective Hoffman, which would lead to his arrest and prosecution. Though wary, Gibson sees an opportunity to finally bring an end to the Jigsaw killings and so agrees to her conditions.
Our second major trap of the film is then shown, which brings together a group of four racist white supremacists. Taking place in a junkyard, we see the skinheads leader Evan (Chester Bennington) glued to the driver’s seat of a car, which is held up by jacks. One of his group is strapped to a platform beneath one of the rear tires, whilst a third is strapped to the garage door right in front of the car and the fourth is chained to the back of the vehicle.
A tape inside the car tells Evan he has just 30 seconds to tear his skin away from the car seat, so that he can reach and pull a lever that would stop a deadly series of events from taking place. Though he appears to be making some progress in ripping his skin off, he is too late and the car starts up, before dropping onto the head of the woman below it.
It then moves forward, ripping off the arms and lower jaw of the man chained to the motor in the process, before hitting the man strapped to the door and killing him in the process. Upon crashing head-on into another car outside of the garage, Evan is thrown through the windshield and also ends up dead.
Once the bodies are found by the police, Gibson and his partner Officer Rogers (Laurence Anthony) find the Reverse Beartrap from which Detective Hoffman had escaped. Finding Tuck's fingerprints on the device, she is taken into protective custody.
Though she is taken into a safe house, a tape is sent to the address with a video message directly from Detective Hoffman, who promises to stop another game currently taking place if Gibson delivers Tuck to him and turns the other way. Wanting to be the ultimate hero, Gibson of course refuses and instead takes Tuck to a cell at the detention centre, with round-the-clock protection.
I want to play a game
With all of the chaos going on, we are also introduced to Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery), who claims to have survived his own Jigsaw trap and has since rose to high levels of fame and fortune thanks to working with other Jigsaw victims, as well as releasing a book and appearing on multiple television shows.
After leaving a session in which he talked with fellow survivors - which also featured an appearance from an aged and weathered Doctor Gordon - Dagen himself is captured by a Pig-masked hooded figure, along with his wife and members of his publicity team.
He wakes up in a cage and witnesses a video tape, which tells him he has 60 minutes to make his way through the building and a series of tests, in order to save his wife Joyce (Gina Holden). We also find out here, that Dagen has been lying about surviving a Jigsaw trap; he's never before been abducted by Jigsaw or a Jigsaw acolyte. This is something we assume his team knew, but are told his wife had no idea about.
Escaping the cage - which was hoisted into the air before being suspended above a bunch of spikes - Dagen moves into his first official test where he finds his publicist Nina (Naomi Snieckus) strapped into a chair, with four metal posts each armed with a spike facing towards her throat.
A tape tells Dagen that he has a minute to retrieve the key that will unleash Nina from her bindings; but it is attached to a fish hook that has been placed in Nina's stomach, hanging on a wire. Dagen must pull it out of her throat to save her, but if she screams or any loud noise is made, the metal rods will move closer to her throat and kill her even before the time runs out. Though Dagen succeeds in retrieving the key, Nina’s screams mean she is impaled and killed.
At his second test, Dagen finds his lawyer Suzanne (Rebecca Marshall) strapped to a plate in the centre of a large wheel, placed in a horizontal position. As this test takes place, the wheel slowly rotates and moves Suzanne into a vertical position, pushing her closely towards three metal rods; two of which are placed in front of her eyes with the third in front of her mouth.
Dagen is instructed to move into the most terrifying weight machine we’ve ever seen, where he can stop the circuit of the wheel’s motion by lifting up a heavy weight but in doing so, will see himself stabbed in the sides of his body by four spiked rods. In this trap he fails, with Suzanne falling victim to the poles right in front of her face.
The third room includes a trap unlike anything we've ever seen in a Saw movie before. Dagen finds himself in a long hallway where most of the floor has been destroyed, apart from some wooden beams and stone arches. His best friend Cale (Dean Armstrong) is also in the room, but has a mask strapped to his face stopping him from seeing anything around him, as well as a noose around his neck.
A tape in the room tells Dagen that he has 60 seconds to guide his friend over the beams to get as close to him as possible without falling, whilst Dagen himself has to grab the key hanging from the ceiling in front of him. It's something Dagen does well but, when he throws the key to Cale, it's dropped and Cale ends up dying due to hanging.
In what is his final room before reaching the same location as his wife, Dagen finds a locked metal door and his most simple task so far; retrieve the combination for the padlock on said door by removing two of his wisdom teeth, on which the numbers have been etched. It’s a beautiful throwback to the third Saw film, as the poster for Saw III included a bunch of removed teeth and so, fans were disappointed when no trap involving them was included.
Dagen rips both teeth from his mouth after much distress and a heck of a lot of blood, finally reaching Joyce who is chained by her neck to a metal platform, surrounded by an electric fence. A final video of Jigsaw’s puppet plays, telling Dagen that he must now engage in the trap he invented to bring himself fame to save his wife. That means forcing two hooks through his pectoral muscles and hoisting himself up to the ceiling, where he must connect two extension cords.
Just as he reaches those cords however, his pectorals fail to support his weight and the hooks rip straight through them, leading to him falling away from the extension and hitting the floor. With the timer running out, we watch as Joyce is contained within a large over, before being burned alive with Dagen watching on.
Meanwhile, with Officer Gibson…
Detective Hoffman sends another video message to Gibson whilst Dagen’s game is taking place, with a cryptic undertone that Gibson quickly understands. Embarking with his partner Rogers to the abandoned Crossroads Manufactory, we learn that Detective Hoffman had once saved Gibson’s life by using excessive force and murdering an assailant. Gibson then lodged a complaint, for which Detective Hoffman had always promised to get him back.
The victim who Detective Hoffman had slaughtered had been institutionalised at the Clear Dawn Psychiatric Hospital, leading to Gibson’s realisation that this must be the location where Dagen’s game is taking place.
As he and a SWAT team move in to raid the location, Gibson himself is drawn back to the junkyard after being told that Detective Hoffman’s video message has been traced to the location. After he leaves, the SWAT team members are gassed and killed in the asylum, ensuring they cannot interfere with Dagen’s game.
Back at the junkyard, a hidden surveillance room is discovered behind a mirror where a message was left for the authorities by Detective Hoffman. Though they move in on a hooded figure sat at a desk inside the lair, it turns out to be the corpse of one of the skinheads. A flashback shows how Detective Hoffman has been watching Gibson’s team all along and how he had been able to retrieve the body of the racist, before placing himself inside the body bag to infiltrate the detention centre, after being taken to the morgue.
Though Gibson comes to realise this, just as he warns those at the station, a sentry gun rises up in the lair and puts countless bullets into our lead officer, as well as those working with him in the room.
Back at the morgue, we see Detective Hoffman rise out of the bodybag he used to infiltrate the morgue, killing everybody in his path on the way to Tuck’s cell. Though she does at first manage to escape his grip, she is eventually found and brutally beaten by the Jigsaw Killer.
Tuck is then strapped to a chair, with Detective Hoffman getting his revenge in true Saw fashion; by placing the Reverse Beartrap onto her head. After seeing this trap applied to two victims in the past, audiences who have stuck with the film series from beginning to end finally saw some payoff, as Tuck’s head was ripped apart in grisly fashion.
Returning to his lair, Detective Hoffman sees that the news channels have picked up on the slaughter, before setting fire to all of his hideout, likely hoping to slink into the shadows for the foreseeable future.
Outside however, Detective Hoffman is assaulted by three figures in pig masks and hoods. It is at this moment that we see perhaps the single most shocking twist of the entire franchise take place; one of the figures removes their mask and reveals themselves to be none other, than Doctor Lawrence Gordon.
Through flashbacks, we see that Kramer had found Doctor Gordon after he cauterised his leg wound, before helping him heal and eventually recruiting him as an apprentice. We see how Doctor Gordon had been a part of traps from previous films; usually those which required surgery, such as placing a key behind the eye of one victim. Following Kramer's death, a video tape had been left for Doctor Gordon in which our original Jigsaw Killer asked him to watch over Tuck and take action if she were ever harmed.
This results in Doctor Gordon taking Detective Hoffman to the original bathroom in which Gordon’s own test had taken place. There, Hoffman is shackled to the wall by his ankle but, as he reaches for the hacksaw to prove he can survive, Gordon picks it up and throws it out of the room.
Turning off the lights, he moves to close the door, leaving Hoffman to die as he says those two famous words, "game over.”
Spiral: From the Book of Saw is in cinemas across the UK now!
- Saw revisited: Looking back at the film that changed the horror genre forever
- Saw II revisited: The twists that shaped the future of the franchise
- Saw III revisited: A test within a test... within a test
- Saw IV revisited: A new Jigsaw Killer rises
- Saw V revisited: The walls are closing in
- Saw VI revisited: The beginning of the end
- Saw VII aka Saw 3D aka Saw: The Final Chapter revisited
- Jigsaw revisited: The Saw franchise is brought back from the dead
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