The first film in this trilogy was made purely for shock value. The marketing campaign was simple. Put the most horrific concept imaginable out there and tell people you made the most disturbing film of all time. This plan worked well. This film was quickly labeled a notoriously disturbing horror film for the world to see. Everyone saw it. It wasn’t just the horror freaks. It was a film that everyone was talking about, just so they could say that they saw it.
The only problem with the film was…well the film. It is just a bad movie. The bad guy is brutally boring and the victims are just as annoying as he is boring. The film moves so slow that you can’t wait for these people to meet a brutal end, so you can just go home. Aside from the pacing, it just doesn’t build to much at all. The movie puts all of its chips in on the fact that it is going to have a shocking ending, and it doesn’t. The horror rookies ran around repeating what the distributor was saying. This meant that it was hailed by many lightweights as the most disturbing film of all time. Well guess what? The ending is predictable and disappointing. In the end, this is nothing but an average horror film. I gave it a 3/5 just because it did what it set out to do, for the most part. So if you haven’t seen it, you may as well watch it to say you saw it. That is what everyone else did after all.
So with the first film being clusterfuck of disappointment, you would think that it could only get worse from there. The second film, however, is a little better. I loved the choice to go with black and white. I think it added to the bleak and gritty feeling of the film, thus enhancing the disturbing nature. I even think that the black and white added an original feeling to the final scenes of gore. On feeling alone, this film needs to get a slightly higher score than the first one.
It still, however, has all of the problems that plague the first film. It has another slow-moving storyline that assumes the viewer will sit through anything to witness a shocking ending. This ending, while not nearly as disappointing as the first one, is still nothing extraordinary. The actors are a little better. The storyline is mildly interesting. Although there isn’t a whole lot to say about this film, it is still slightly better than the first. So while I don’t usually give half points, this film is no 4. I have to break my own rules and give it a 3.5 out of 5.
So for a trilogy of films that thrives on shock value, you would hope that they would finally get it right by the final installment. After recently watching it, I feel like it was just a money grab. It also moves incredibly slow and has the worst characters to date. The prison warden does nothing but scream incessantly throughout the film. His porn star companion is just there. They try to bring in the director of the film as a character…like that’s never been done before. They also suddenly feel like they need to make political statements. Maybe I just didn’t get it…you know like people just don’t get Eraserhead? Or maybe it is just a confused attempt, full of unclear motives.
So now we have a trilogy that became famous from claiming to have the most disturbing films of all time, suddenly having a conscience and political statements. Now don’t get me wrong, I love allegory and hidden meaning in film. This is just the least subtle political statement ever. They want to tell us about American violence and the absurdities in the prison system. Trust me, America is a pretty fucked up place. I just didn’t see why this film had to become so aware of the world around it. This third film made me miss the I don’t give a fuck mentality that went into the creation of the original story. It also made me miss the fact that they at least tried to be disturbing with the first two. This film doesn’t even attempt to give you a climactic ending. The bottom line is that everything in this film was already done. It took everything the first two movies did poorly, and made it worse. It did nothing to add to an already weak set of films, so it got a 1/5.