Movie Review-SAW

 

Hi Folks,

 

So yeah we’re really behind.

 

But fear not there is time left in the day and I have no life!

 

For Saturday we’re going over a truly groundbreaking film, and while I understand that it is absolutely a love it or hate it kind of movie I have to say that I am firmly in the love it camp and anyone in the hate it camp clearly just doesn’t get the awesome. Because today we’re talking about the movie that started the ‘torture porn’ genre, even though it isn’t a torture porn movie…

 

 

 

SAW

 

 

Fast Facts

 

Saw was made in 2004 by the then nascent Twisted Pictures, based off of a short film done by two Australian film students; James Wan and Leigh Whannell. Those of you who read my review of Insidious Wan and Whannell’s most recent horror collaboration know exactly how I feel about these two.

Like I can forgive them for leaking this picture

Saw came out of nowhere to be a monster financial success and has spawned six sequels, two of which I will watch without a gun pointed at me…

 

 

Cast

 

Turns out he's powerless without the zorro outfit

Cary Elwes- Plays Lawrence Gordon an oncologist who’s been letting his life slip on him a bit and clearly needs to have it reprioritized a bit.

 

Like this is the first time you've woken up like this

Leigh Whannell- Plays Adam, a photographer and a bottom feeder who’s the perfect choice to assist Lawrence with this task.

 

Are you ever ACTUALLY going to be too old for this shit?

Danny Glover- Plays Detective Tapp, who’s been investigating the ‘Jigsaw’ murders and has become obsessed with Dr. Gordon whom he feels is a prime suspect.

 

God you're awesome

Shawnee Smith-Plays Amanda Young, one of Jigsaw’s earlier victims and the only one to have survived to date. Her role in the first movie is fairly small but she still does a fantastic job.

 

Yeah, Cary Elwes is having trouble appreciating that

Monica Potter-Plays Dr. Gordon’s wife Allison, who is caught up in the deadly festivities by association.

So how's it feel to ALMOST be a legend

 

Michael Emerson- Plays Zep Hindle who might be the best red herring I’ve ever seen ever.

 

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE CRAYON SCHEMATICS

Tobin Bell- Plays John Cramer a cancer patient under Dr. Gordon’s care and so much more than that.

 

 

Observations

 

Saw is not a torture porn movie. Honestly if I had to categorize it, it’s a slasher with a thriller bent. Not quite high minded enough to be a thriller, not quite gratuitous enough to fit into the genre that it spawned. Basically Saw is a mystery coated in lots and lots of blood but nearly as much as it’s detractors claim.

 

Ok so maybe there was a little

I didn’t go to see this movie in theaters, I waited for DVD and somehow managed to avoid the plot twists through the grape vine before finally seeing it. I have to admit that I was kind of unimpressed with it until the last fifteen minutes. I thought the plot was predictable, I thought the traps weren’t fleshed out enough to be frightening, I thought the acting was questionable and finally I thought that anyone with eyes had to know who the killer was from about five minutes in.

 

Damn was I wrong.

 

Not about everything, there are still moments in this show where Elwes and Whannell falter a bit and it takes us out of the moment. But taking the movie as a whole these minor imperfections are easily buried under what is in the end a very good movie.

 

This is the first and best example of the ‘elaborate trap’ slasher, and while unlike the sequels this one is much more character driven we still get a glimpse at some of the mechanical and sadistic marvels that Jigsaw has in his toybox. There’s the razor wire maze, the human candle and Amanda Young’s triumph over the reverse bear trap shown in flashback throughout the events of the film.

 

Hope you've had your tetnis shot buddy

The main trap for the first installment is pretty simple at first glance, there are two guys chained up in a room across from each other, between them there is a corpse with a gun in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. The poor fuck has seemingly blown his brains out as we are later informed by the spooky voice on the tape because he’d been pumped full of a slow acting poison.

 

Because Lord knows you wouldn't want to hold out for an antidote or anything...

And…massive freakout by our two main characters. Adam acts like a pissed off seventeen year old for most of the movie. The first time I watched it I thought this was bad acting on Whannell’s part, but the further we get into the storyline the more you realize that that’s just who Adam is.

 

God he's like every teenaged boy ever

A lot of my initial misgivings about this movie changed to strengths as it progressed. Saw is essentially a puzzle. The more pieces you put into place the clearer the picture gets and the more you get out of it. But if you put a piece in the wrong spot (as pretty much everyone did) the picture is distorted and it looks like shit. Which is why it’s only at the very end that you realize what you’ve been watching for the last hour wasn’t disjointed or badly filmed, it was giving you pieces of the puzzle.

Uh...you know what you just hold on to that...

 

There are three top scares in this for me.

 

Amanda’s Trap

 

This is still better than being on Becker

Even though we see it in flashback and we know going into it that she obviously survives; the way this is shot is amazing. I know the SAW films have gotten a lot of criticism for the blurry, spinny cam thing but I think in this situation particularly it builds the tension something awful. Watching Shawnee Smith thrash around in that chair, only to free herself and start the clock ticking really sends it home that ‘survival’ is the word of the day here. Plus there’s Billy.

 

Billy the puppet, the cute little guy with the spirals on his face. IS SAW. For real have you ever seen anything that goddamn creepy? This is the first time we see Billy, though it certainly will not be the last.

 

You freaky little bastard!

Goodnight Little Girl

 

Dr. Gordon’s recollection of how we came to be here, actually has two pretty good moments in it but we’re going to focus on what happens to his poor daughter Diana. Immediately after being Captain Tool Box, Dr. Gordon heads out to fuck a med student, Diana feeling fairly secure in the fact that Captain Tool Box has told her that the man she saw in her darkened room isn’t real and neither are the things he’s been saying to her. Now given this is an experience I think most people can relate to, but didn’t your Dad at least pretend to check the goddamn closet?

 

Should I go with the coming out joke or the furry joke?...

 

The Payoff

 

So we’ve spent the entire movie up to this point, wondering whether or not one of these guys was actually going to use that saw for what it was intended for. When Dr. Gordon finally does it, it is just as mind numbingly horrifying as you thought it would be.

 

Sort of regretting trying to saw through the chains earlier aren't we?

Final Thoughts

 

Saw isn’t what a lot of people assume it is, the fear in this film is real fear not just feeling sick to your stomach at the gore. The rip offs it spawned and a few of the sequels are certainly more in the vain of torture porn but the original Saw is more of a slasher or a particularly bloody thriller. But more than anything it’s a fun ride with plenty of twists and turns along the way. The fact that it spawned six sequels and birthed a slasher legend in Jigsaw is just gravy, because this film would have been just fine as a standalone thrill ride. Consider it the perfect first date.

 

 

You had me at 'Game Over'

All in all I give it an 8 out of 10

 

 

 

Your dizzy Screamstress,

 

 

~Fright Dyke

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