Saw: A Pioneer of Gorn

Hello everybody! Sorry for the lack of “Movie Club” recently, it’s been hard to keep up! Anyway, here is a little bit of Halloween spookiness for you with Saw.

SAW

saw_official_poster

DIRECTED BY: James Wan

STARRING: Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Michael Emerson, Ken Leung, Tobin Bell, Leigh Whannell

GENRE: Psychological Horror, Torture Porn

YEAR: 2004

COUNTRY: United States

hero_eb20041028reviews40923005arTwo men wake up at opposite sides of a dirty, disused bathroom, chained by their ankles to pipes. Between them lies a dead man loosely clutching a hand-held tape player and a handgun. Each finds a tape for the player in their back pocket. They play the tapes. One is threatened, the other isn’t. But they have a task: One must kill the other by 6:00, or his wife and daughter will die. They find hacksaws in a toilet, and try to cut the chains, but it doesn’t work. They are the two newest victims of the Jigsaw Killer. In a flashback, we learn of Amanda, a girl who falls victim to the Jigsaw Killer. On her head is a mask, which is hooked into her lower jaw. There is a timer on it. Only one key will unlock it, and that key is in the digestive tract of her cell mate who lies paralyzed on the opposite side of the room. If she doesn’t unlock the mask in time, her lower jaw will be ripped wide open. She survives, but her cell mate doesn’t. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn of more…

Oh Saw, it sure has been a long time since I first laid eyes upon you. Okay, now that sounds weird. As the first installment of this massively successful franchise, I didn’t expect much. Two people, locked in a bathroom with limited means of escape? Sounds intriguing. Since the film is essentially carried by our two main characters, I have to applaud them at least a little bit. They fit our traditional horror tropes rather well and still managed to actually keep me interested and their struggle, which is definitely a challenge. As with all of the other Saw films, atmosphere and tone are incredibly important. Even though the first film is definitely not a gore-fest like the later installments, Saw is able to utilized dread and despair to get their point across.

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Despite all that I mentioned above, Saw is definitely far from being perfect (it is a horror film after all). Saw was produced on a shoestring of a shoestring budget and it obviously shows. While it does showcase just what exactly can be created with an under $50.000 budget, if they had just a little more then they could have fixed the few production errors that it has. Also, while I know that Saw is 50% struggle and 50% world building, the creators could have left a few twists open-ended. Well, that could have worked if there weren’t so many god damn sequels.

PROS:

  • Main cast performance.
  • Atmosphere and despair.
  • World-building.

CONS:

  • Very slow.
  • Focus on shock value than torture.

SCORE: 7.0 / 10

If you have any suggestions for films/TV/Games/Music/Anime for me to review, drop me a comment!

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All check out my lengthier video game reviews over at Nerd Bacon Games.

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