I Like Saw-Does That Make Me a Douche-bag?
With the boundaries of horror being pushed to more extreme plains, and the search for good-enough, original plots becomes harder and harder, we get remakes, blatant rip-offs and films like Saw and Hostel.
On the surface, both films are simply excuses for cinematic violence, and on the inside there is a plot trying to get out. Unfortunately, it seems the plot drowned in the amount of blood in both of these series of films.
With the maturity of today’s youth, which I am apart of unfortunately, its not surprising that these ‘torture-porn’ films are becoming more and more popular. People below the adult-borderline are desperate to cross it, and so look for more and more ‘adult’ films. The funny thing here though is that once you crossed that line, it somehow clears your view, and you can finally see what they really are.
Let me make it clear though, I only like the first Saw film.
I can only reference Saw 1 to 3 in this retrospect/review, but from what Ive been told that’s probably a good thing, with the awfulness of the fourth and fifth. However, 1, 2 and 3 serve quite an adequate representation for the genre as a whole.
The first film, is widely regarded as ‘pretty-good’, while I may even venture to rate this film as ‘pretty-awesome’. The hardly-existent story revolves around two guys called Adam, and Lawrence. One is a family man, and the other is a loner photographer. They both awaken in a nasty bathroom chained
The rest of the story is then played out in a confusing set of flashbacks, which can be understood if you try hard enough. The flashbacks range from past trials, one survivor of a game, and how they ended up in their current predicament. These also range from generally creepy, to kind of stupid.
Comparing this film to its sequels, there is an easy-to-see difference. The gore, simply. In this film, problematic situations are chosen over exaggerated gore. In one scene particular, the titular sawing through the leg scene, the camera angles used at mostly close-ups of faces and quick cuts to the foot. Compare that to Saw 3, where limbs are being twisted 360 degrees with close-ups of bone going through flesh; it’s not hard to see where the more sensible movie watchers stepped off.
Another difference from Saw to its sequel is the tension. With the original, the ‘players’ of Jigsaw’s games have until 6 o’clock to get out of the trap. Compare this to Saw 3, where Jeff has about two minutes to save the women from freezing to death. Where’s the tension for potential escape? There isn’t, as the viewers really want to see people die in horrible ways, apparently.
Along with the increase in the amount of blood, the films are becoming more caught up in ‘tense moments’, and ‘life and death choices’. However, when people are getting drowned in pig entrails, who really cares about realistic life choices?
Immersing yourself in the film only works if what’s happening is feasible. Also, it helps if you actually care about the characters in the story, which I don’t. If they stopped telling us their life story, and wasting time, I might actually care. Again, it may be realistic, but who cares? No-one does, because if you are still watching, the only thing you’ll want to see is people getting killed.
The sequels of Saw are also lacking in ingenuity, which was supposedly thrown out to fit in the gore. The cunning ways that Jigsaw plays Lawrence and Adam against each other is rarely seen in many other movies. The cruel twist at the end of the film is also genius, with a death that isn’t as brutal, yet still worse than others in the series (well, if we skip the flashback in 3, WHICH WE ARE). This film can also be described as a mental torture film, rather than the physical variety, which the sequels plainly are. The mental variety will always be preferable in films, due to its possible to ‘break the third wall’, and bring you into the film.
At the end of the day though, the first film is good. I came into this film after watching the trailers for all the others, and expecting a mess of blood, and preachy meanings. What do you get though? Decent tension, imaginative kills, and that guy from Lethal Weapon. No, not that guy, the other one. Not a bad deal, the sequel should be good to, oh wait…