Just in time for Saw IV, now in theatres, Lionsgate has released a six-disc box set collecting the special edition releases of the previous three Saw, but is this release worth picking up? The film series itself has been met with lukewarm enthusiasm by critics, but unbridled positive enthusiasm from the fans. With each new installment, a new quirk was added to the story, a new layer to the killer Jigsaw. And, if you’ve yet to pick up the many previous releases of Saw I – III, then this is definitely the collection for you. So, let’s move right on to the synopsis, shall we?
For the first time ever, get all three special edition, unrated Saw movies in one DVD collection with the release of the Saw Trilogy. The 6-disc DVD box set includes Saw: Uncut, Saw II: Special Edition, and the all new Saw III: Director’s Cut, which features even more gut wrenching footage and bonus features including “ultimate villainous” commentary with actors Shawnee Smith and Tobin Bell, a trivia game, music video, filmmaker faves, make-up “how-to’s” and more! The Saw Trilogy is packaged in a special limited edition, collectible 3-D puppet head box and will be available just in time for the release of Saw IV. The Saw franchise has become the most successful global independent horror franchise in history making this DVD collection a must-have.
Since we know the story behind the three Saw films, I’ll go through each as quick as possible. The original Saw, available in the “Uncut” format here, starts with two men waking up at opposite sides of a dirty, abandoned bathroom, chained by their ankles to pipes. They quickly find out that one must kill the other in order to survive. As you can imagine, things get a little messy after that. But here, we are introduced to Jigsaw and his unique brand of murder. He doesn’t actually kill his victims; instead he finds ways to make them kill either themselves, or each other.
We then jump to Saw II, starting with the discovery of a new murder victim, apparently at the hands of Jigsaw. Detective Eric Matthews begins a full investigation and manages to apprehend Jigsaw with little effort. However, for Jigsaw, getting caught is just another part of his evil plan. This second installment, which some fans would call the weakest, leads directly into the next installment . . .
And now, Saw III, finds that Jigsaw has vanished. With his new apprentice Amanda, the puppet-master behind the cruel, intricate games that have terrified a community and baffled police has once again eluded capture and vanished. While city detectives scramble to locate him, two more people are unaware that they are about to become the latest pawns on his vicious chessboard. And, all of this leads to an explosive finale which puts an end to Jigsaw’s reign . . . or does it? Well, what it does is give us a broader scope of exactly who Jigsaw is, including flashbacks covering the previous two movies, and even more than that. Perhaps it’s the finite nature of the story, and the fact that I have no clue how the writers of Saw IV will get past that finale, but this installment ended up being my favorite one. Some of the franchise weak points remain, like the odd weak death trap of the incredibly rapid cuts, but here, we get all the answers, a few new questions, and one hell of an ending.
Of course, the first two aren’t without their charm. The first Saw has an unbeatable quality only a balls-out, indie horror film could produce. While it remains as bleak and dark as its successors, this one can really be appreciated on a filmmaker’s level. Now, granted, it’s not the best indie horror film, but it does have enough gusto to not only catch on with audiences, but also spark a new major franchise. Not everything about the first film is perfect, and both Cary Elwes’s acting and Danny Glover’s acting can be borderline ridiculous, but given that this is the first Saw experience, everything seems fresh and new and the flaws can be quickly forgiven. It has that special charm the second don’t, that of an indie film free of any studio interference. The sequels can sometimes appear stale, but thankfully opt to expand on the premise of the original. They’re not perfect films, but they’re enjoyable and sometimes engaging nonetheless.
And all of these, all three of these movies, are wrapped up in one tidy box set. And wow, what a nice looking box set! The six DVDs located within come in a plastic transparent box, the box itself tinged with fake brown stains, dirt, and scratches. Through the transparent container you can see the face of the famed Jigsaw doll. The doll itself is an actual dollhead, with the face only reproduced for the set, accessible through the opening at the top of the box. The six discs are held in an Amaray case stored behind the doll in a cardboard sleeve (which is also attached to the puppet head). The six discs are held by six holders, one on the front, two on a hinged double tray flap, and the last on the back of the container. I have never seen this type of packaging before, but – wow! It’s incredibly compact! It’s a great looking box set, but – be warned – it can be easily destroyed. One drop, or mishandling, will likely result in the transparent plastic box getting a huge crack on the surface.
The extras included in this box set are ported over from the previous releases of each DVD included. Saw comes with two audio commwentaries from the cast and crew, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a Jigsaw-focused featurette, the original Saw short film, an art gallery, a preview of Saw II, and some DVD-ROM extras. Saw II also features two audio commentaries with the crew behind the movie, a short film, a documentary on Scott Tibbs, a making-of featurette, a featurette on the inspiration behind the franchise, a tribute to the movie producer, the theatrical trailer, and a DVD-ROM game. Finally, for Saw III, we get three more audio commentaries, a Saw-themed trivia came, a music video, a featurette and how-to on the make-up effects used in Saw III, plans for Jigsaw’s assorted traps, the filmmaker’s favorite moment of the Saw series, and a peek at Saw IV. It’s a solid collection of extras. Not as thorough as I’d like, but it does provide fans with almost everything they’d like to know about the film series.
The big question to ask yourself is whether or not you need this Saw Trilogy box set. The collectible packaging is quite stunning, and the fact that all three movies are in one tidy collection is definitely a bonus. However, this collection is merely a massive repackaging of Saw: Uncut Edition, Saw II: Special Edition, and Saw III: Director’s Cut into one case. If you own these editions, then there’s no real need to buy this. But, if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, I think this is definitely worth picking up, especially at the price I’ve seen this available for. Personally, I would Recommend this collection to any Saw fan, especially if you’re looking for a stunning looking collection (the image above does not do the case justice) or wish to upgrade some of Saw DVDs. They’re all here and they look great. The audio/video is top notch and the extras are overwhelming. This is one collection that die-hard fans should not pass up.
Saw Trilogy is now available on DVD.