Film scores

Soundtrack review: Saw 3D (Charlie Clouser – 2010)

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“Saw 3D” or “Saw – the final chapter” is the last movie (so far) of the Saw franchise. It was directed by Kevin Greutert, written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and starring Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Sean Patrick Flanery, and Cary Elwes, who returns for the first time since the first movie. This was the only thing I liked about this final film, the closure and the fact that we got to know the fate of the good doctor from “Saw”. Charlie Clouser also completed his work on the franchise with a score that also included some remixes or reworks of themes from previous scores, as if it were a greatest hits album. Luckily the themes he chose were some of my favorites.

The remixes though sound a bit two synthetic for me. I preferred the original versions of “The fittest” and “Hoffman coffin” then their renditions here under the titles “Tablesaw” and “Chase Jill”. I felt the new versions, just like this final movie, lacked emotion. The first few cues of this final score are a bit too cold for my taste, even if they serve the movie exactly the way they are supposed to.

I like “Only you” which is a rework of “Step back” from “Saw IV”. The composer focused here on the motifs I enjoyed from that theme and got rid of the extra fat. “Talk show” is surprisingly tender and dreamy and it represents a welcomed moment of rest in all the madness that sometimes gets unintelligible.

“Car trap” the cue written for the bloodiest scene from the entire franchise is all rock, just a step away from the industrial sound of the score. It almost doesn’t sound like film music. “Support group” comes next and is one of the more complex and layered themes from this score. This is what was lacking in some of the previous albums. This is my sweet ambient sound.

There are fewer highlights in this one than in the sixth score but still the moments in between those highlights are enjoyable. Charlie Clouser still builds the tension but this time the music is more interesting. This score is also loud almost all the time and this keeps my attention focused. I like this about the final “Saw” because the music doesn’t just stay in the background; it fights to keep me invested no matter what I might be doing in the meantime.

The final chapter of the “Saw” musical franchise was a satisfying conclusion to the series. I enjoyed the music throughout the movies and we are left with the legacy of a magnificent theme and a unique atmosphere.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 20 / 66

Album excellence: 30%

Highlights:

Tablesaw Intro

Only You (Remix of “Step Back” from Saw IV)

Car Trap

Support Group

News Bar

Flashback

Dr. Gordon Montage (Remix of “Zepp Six” from Saw VI)

The final Zepp

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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