To open with, this entry is not for the squeamish. Either stop now or don’t run the videos. You may have to click on the links several times for them to load, because yeah, man, gross.
The first Saw, to me, was an incredible movie. It was suspenseful, and freaked me the fuck out for a good few days — part of it had to do with those “John Work a Days” (Leigh Whannel and Cary Elwes) — one of whom happened to be working in cancer — that were integral to its plot. In other words — I felt it coulda been me in those chains (except for the fact I’ve always been extremely sympathetic to the patients I’ve met, and truly enjoy talking to them about their experience, and doing what I can to make that better. In Scotland, I brought up to nurses on the wards issues the patients were concerned about, and I ‘d do it again — it’s better for everyone to have understanding and blameless communication about issues facing patients, nurses, physicians — and everyone involved in the overall healthcare experience). ANYWAY.
The first Saw was pretty amazing in my book. The “puzzle” was innovative — two people, chained in a room, facing each other (with a dead body in the center). Add to that plot reveals sprinkled in (based on the two character’s ability to relate to each other and their environment), and the plot moved at a charming, and sometimes relentless pace. The flashbacks were understandable, given the time we were given with the characters (presumably, their last), and the incredible last ten minutes, where the movie reached a manic frenzy. Here’s the trailer:
And here’s one of those vicious traps:
Besides Amanda’s reverse bear trap, here’s another particularly nasty outing:
Jigsaw was reminiscent of another notable, tense killer, John Doe in Se7en (don’t watch unless you haven’t seen the movie):
And, I might as well interject this here, I was looking for a video to include regarding a particular sequence and the sin of ‘avarice.’ What I ended up findign (and what is hopelessly hilarious to me) is this video of William Shatner, and those last moments of Se7en:
Okay, now that I have that out of the way, I can contine on.
Jigsaw (back to the Saw franchise), in the early days, was super devious, and had an incredible insight into human behavior. I loved this about Saw, and they continued in that spirit – I truly loved Saw II and forced many of my friends to watch it. Saw II included traps and human puzzles galore. One of the many traps involved a young lady we had seen earlier in the Saw franchise (Shawnee Smith), and is one of those moments that still creeps me out when I see it:
Then, to top it off, they put this lovely little twist in : they altered the timeline (at least in movie viewer’s heads). All in all, however, it was a not too terrible study of these characters as they encounter some too-nasty twists.
Then along comes Saw III.
I had such hope. And pretty much what followed was a jaded look at a bloody path through the first few movies. There was something missing, however – the morality of the first two movies. You see, Jigsaw was all about making people appreciate their lives, and this future was mightly bleak, replete with traps that were cool from an outsider’s perspective (if one liked horror), yet unsolvable:
That’s about when the series lost any kind of comprehensible message. And, whatever, if you want to start off with a slasher killer like Jason, that’s fine — but don’t get too wrapped up in the idea of plotting. Yet, Saw advertises themselves as something different.
Darren and I went to see Saw IV in the theatre, and really other than this:
there was little else to justify our ticket price.
I didn’t got to see Saw V in the theatre, and I’m glad I didn’t — it was more horribly Ritalin-timed than Saw IV.
I was hoping that the Saw franchise would do so much more- and instead, what I have is this farce of a series that picks up on gimmicky devices, and rests on those instead of talent in the industry.
I watched Saw V today knowing that I would probably abhor it, and I pretty much called it. The traps were cool, but not the same amount of coolness when the first movie came out. Even more of a crime is the splintering of the mythology of Jigsaw – instead of one cohesive character, we get one character and his two, often differing, disciples.
‘We’re smart!’ they tell you. Meanwhile, they took this:
And made it into absolutely useless tripe.
I get it — now, it’s all about those crazy traps, except they aren’t as interesting.
Overall, look, if you are looking for yummy horror situations, this movie has it. But if you are looking for the spirit of the original, where the plot is in, say, the possible, this isn’t really it.
But you have to love those traps. . .