I want to play a game. Right now, you are seeing that this reviewer is planning a Saw Marathon in a similar vein to the Star Wars Marathon in preparation of the upcoming Jigsaw movie. Throughout its past seven-movie run, the series has earned its love and hate by many people for six years, and will reemerge in its eighth installment in Oct. 27. This reviewer will be watching all seven Saw movies whether he likes to or not. Will you be reading his reviews and take on his own perspective on how these movies succeed or fail, or will you ignore him and choose a safer option? Read or ignore, dear viewers. Make your choice.
1.) Here we go. Where do I begin? First off, I do find the premise of the movie very interesting. Two people stuck in a bathroom, and they are told to play a little “game” by a serial killer that does not really kill people, they just end up failing at his “games.” That premise alone intrigues me. It sounds like a great idea for a film, but…well, I will get to that in the cons.
2.) There are some creepy and suspenseful (or in a few cases, funny) moments throughout the movie. There are some good shots of dark areas, moments where that are uncomfortably quiet, and tone that are a mixture of dread and anxiety. While there are areas that are predictable jump scares, it was used effectively at least by somewhat foreshadowing it through tension and slow moments.
3.) The twist in the end is downright awesome. There are small signs of this twist, so it is not completely out of nowhere. I will not spoil it for people who are curious to see this movie (if you REALLY are curious), but I have a feeling if there is at least one thing that an average moviegoer will at least like, it will be the twist moment.
1.) There are so many moments that are forced, convenient, or just does not make any sense (I know some of them are answered in the sequels, but I am reviewing the movie on its own and not on the sequels yet). It does not really help that some characters have to be idiots in certain moments in order for some plot points to happen. Then again, this is a horror movie, so having idiotic characters is part of the norm.
2.) It is clear that the movie has limited production. From what I have heard, they only had time for two takes (three if they are lucky) of every line during an 18-day shoot. It is clear with various shots like one car chase (or filming a car with an actor inside in front of a black wall with the video sped up), sets that are clearly in warehouses despite it meant to be in a different setting like a house, and editing that many people can consider to be reflective on how the characters are feeling in certain moments, but I can understand if others see as nauseating. I grant it to the filmmakers that they managed to get things done despite those limitations, but they are obvious.
3.) The performances are not really top-notched, especially with great actors like Cary Elwes and Danny Glover. Considering they had only two to three takes to give their best performance, that gives them a disadvantage. As a result, some of the bad performances can range from hammy to outright hilarious. Moments that are meant to be serious end up hilarious due to their poor one-take performances. I know these actors can do better than what they have on-screen, and I understand the limitations, but it does not excuse what ends up in the big screen by the time the movie is finished.
In October 29, 2004, the first Saw movie was released in the United States, and it was the start of the torture porn craze in movies (whether you like it or not). The series revolutionized the horror genre; whether or not it was for the better is up for debate. You may be wondering: why on Earth would I review this franchise now? Two reasons: curiosity and inspiration. The reason for both of those is one of my favorite reviewers named Welshy, who is a big fan of the Saw series despite its flaws. Because of him, I decided to review these movies myself, and see if I agree with him or not.
Another reason is that Jigsaw is about to be released this Friday, so I thought, “Why not review the entire movie series?” Well, I might as well brace myself for this series. From the first movie alone, how does it hold up? I can see some great ideas for this movie: an interesting premise, a thoughtful mystery, a suspenseful tone, and a horrific twist. All of those could make a great horror thriller movie. However, there are some areas that they desperately needed to improve. Better production, improved writing, and finer acting could make the movie much better. If you love a good horror movie, this will satisfy you. If you want a well-written horror movie, look elsewhere, because this is clearly not it. Then again, it might get better in the sequels, right? Right?!