Saw III continues the story of Saw II, by showing us the final fates of Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) and Kerry (Dina Meyer), and even bringing back Adam (Saw III scriptwriter Leigh Whannell) for a curtain call.
But, with Darren Lynn Bousman again in the directing chair, this episode in the franchise deliberately veers into torture porn territory as Jigsaw's deranged protégé and Julia Louis-Dreyfus lookalike Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) takes the reins on designing some of the elaborate traps.
She doesn't exactly play by Jigsaw's rules, enjoying the power of putting her captives into death-traps that have no escape route and throwing some Hellraiser-level shit at people purely out of sadistic glee.
One of the set-pieces in particular ("the rack") is so over the top that it transforms into Grand Guignol, having raced so far past good taste that it has emerged on the other side as grim humour.
With the police investigation dismissed early on, the main thrust of Saw III is the kidnapping of depressed but brilliant surgeon Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh).
She is forced by Amanda to operate on her mentor's brain tumour while simultaneously a vengeance-driven grieving father, Jeff (Angus Macfadyen), is put through a maze of tests.
Lynn is told that she must keep John Kramer (Tobin Bell) - aka Jigsaw - alive for the duration of Jeff's "game". If he dies, or she tries to escape, the collar fitted around her neck will blow her head off.
Once again, the plot builds to grand twist, and while very cleverly engineered it somehow lacks the impact of the magnificent reveals from the pervious two chapters in the story of Jigsaw.
However, especially with the resolution of Adam's arc, you also realise that the three films could easily work as a single epic movie (James Wan, while not directing, returns to assist Whannell with the story).
The ending clearly shuts the door on one major plot thread (or does it?) and I'm fascinated to see how the franchise will be milked for five further sequels... and a soft reboot.