Image Credit: Brooke PalmerKevin Greutert edited the first five Saw movies and directed the most recent pair—last year’s Saw VI and Saw 3D, which opens Friday. So it isn’t a huge surprise to discover that the horror franchise, in which victims must try to escape torture-traps set by Tobin Bell’s character Jigsaw, has infiltrated his subconscious. “I do have Saw dreams,” says the filmmaker. “I can’t even escape it in my sleep.”

Nor has he been able to escape it in real-life, despite his best efforts to do so. Following the huge success of last fall’s Paranormal Activity, Greutert and TV writer Michael Perry (The Dead Zone, Millennium) were approached to oversee the second film in the PA franchise, despite the original movie taking a big bite from the box office of Greutert’s Saw VI. “When I was approached by the Paranormal guys, I was thrilled,” says Greutert. “We had quite a few meetings and did a lot of pitching with them. And of course Michael stayed on.” Greutert did not. In January, the producers of the Saw movies exercised an option in the director’s contract, which allowed them to extract Greutert fromParanormal 2 and deposit the director on the Toronto set of Saw 3D, shortly before the film was due to start principal photography. Greutert reportedly responded by blogging that “lawyers are sending me to Canada.” “I don’t remember that!” Greutert protests, with mock innocence. “Starting with the release of Saw VI, and the disappointing box-office performance, it’s been a dark time for me, no question. But honestly, this subject, while it’s fascinating, I should probably not say more on it.”

Image Credit: Brooke PalmerThe director does admit to being “very daunted” by the idea of making a 3-D movie with almost no prep time. “I got to Toronto just a little over a week before we went to camera,” he says. “There was a lot of crazy turmoil in this production. Frankly, I’m glad it’s over. Because there were definitely things that I would have done a lot differently if I had been on the film from the beginning. But at the same time, they wouldn’t have brought me on so suddenly and at the last minute if they didn’t trust my opinion. It all worked out.”

While the director may have reluctantly returned to the Saw franchise, Greutert is clearly proud of the latest entry which, in addition to its 3-D mayhem, boasts the long-awaited return to the franchise of actor Cary Elwes. Greutert reveals that audiences will finally find out the fate of Elwes’ character Dr. Lawrence Gordon, who we last saw disappearing to points unknown after severing his own foot at the end of the first movie. “We absolutely find that out,” says the director. “I think that in this film, we’ve done a better job than any of the other sequels in making this movie stand alone, for people that aren’t totally up to speed with all the Saw movies. That said, for sure, it delves deep into the background of most of the characters.” Greutert also says that Saw 3D features “more of the general world, not just the creaky chambers we’ve seen in previous movies. They put some money into this sucker, no question.”

Image Credit: Brooke PalmerMoney, however, can’t buy you everything. Saw 3D was originally slated to hit cinemas on October 22, the same day as Paranormal Activity 2. But in July, Saw distributors Lionsgate pushed the film back a week. The move seems like a wise choice, given the extraordinary box office success of Paranormal Activity 2, which grossed $41.5 over the weekend. “There were assorted reasons for why it happened,” says Greutert of his film’s release date change. “But I think it was a good choice.”

This may be the final year the two franchises have to worry about what the other is doing. Greutert confirms that Saw 3D is the last in the series. Of course, he could just be saying that to, ahem, trap people into seeing the sucker this weekend. “It’s funny how skeptical people are that this really could be the last one,” says Greutert. “Anything’s possible, I suppose, and it’s not something that I personally have any power over. But in my opinion, we have exhausted the Jigsaw storyline with Saw 3D. And any future movies would not be in the annual cycle that we’ve experienced for the last seven years. Realistically it would have to be in pre-production for now. That said, we really did want it to be the last one. If you start making movies that don’t live up to the ‘greatest hits’ in the series, it denigrates the past, and nobody wants that. We want this to go down in history as a great franchise. I think it is the last Saw movie,” he adds, “but it’s absolutely my last Saw movie.” Which would leave him free to direct… Paranormal Activity 3? “Let’s not go there,” he laughs.

You can check out the trailer for Saw 3D below. Are you a fan of the series? Do you believe this will be the last in the series?

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