by Gary Schultz
Happy Election Day! Where’s the bonesaw?
Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
With the Halloween season upon us I always anticipate the new horror films that come out with as much excitement as any true fan. Thanks to an amazing trailer and heavy web campaign, Saw is probably the horror film I am most excited to see. A lower budget film with a first time director named James Wan and a cast featuring Cary Elwes (Princess Bride, Kiss the Girls) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, The Color Purple) how could this not live up to the hype?! The early reviews on the film are mixed. Here’s my two cents.
Saw is about a mysterious serial killer nicknamed “Jigsaw” who finds ways to abduct people and make them kill themselves usually by trapping them in some sort of impossible scenario where they have to choose between two extremes, often their life and someone else’s. The bulk of this story is about two men trapped in a secured layer, with clues to their escape hidden all around them. They two trapped men are played by Cary Elwes and Leigh Whannell (Matrix: Reloaded) whose characters aren’t as innocent as they seem. Danny Glover is a beat cop who has grown obsessive with capturing the jigsaw killer after the murder of his partner and the film unfolds and back tracks and flashbacks from there.
A couple of film buddies got the see Saw before I did and basically said it was booty, meaning not good. I love horror as long as it lives as the beast it’s supposed to be. Meaning it’s okay for Troma films to be Troma films and it’s okay for Se7en to be psychological horror and Evil Dead to be gory. Saw doesn’t really do that. It’s scary and builds good tension and is gory enough to satisfy the exploitive nature of those who love gratuitous violence. But Saw is also silly and quirky at times. It tries to play psychological games with the audience’s mind by using strange images and horrific fast motion torture. I found that the audience I saw it with was laughing in certain parts that weren’t intended to be funny. Perhaps this was because within all the evil and macabre the audience sought laughter as a solution for uncomfortable moments. Or the acting could just be over the top in many scenes and therefore often comical. Saw will scare the shit out of many people, despite the over the top performances but lacks the sense of being truly gritty and evil. I feel as though this film will get shuffled along into the same category as House of a 1000 Corpses did last year. Being too strange for the mainstream. I love House of a 1000 Corpses and I thought Saw was a very entertaining film even with its faults. This is a good one for cult and hardcore horror fans.
So here’s what we’ve learned so far… puppets are scary (ex: Chucky, The Puppet Master) except when they are on tricycles. Danny Glover needs work. Somebody help this guy out. Where’s Mel Gibson when he needs him. Saw has already announced a sequel. Yeah, three days after it came out and it was number 3 at the box office. Cary Elwes is not the ‘Dread Pirate Roberts.’
Gary Schultz is an indie filmmaker in Chicago.
Got a problem? E-mail us at email@example.com