By Chris Campo
The Saw movies hold a unique legacy. It kickstarted several careers, including director James Wan, and started many genre mainstays/cliches. If I am being completely honest, these films have always been a twisted guilty pleasure of mine. I love bloody, horrific movies, so when I was younger, these were the go-to. However, I have not seen them in quite sometime, and I thought, to celebrate the release of the upcoming sequel Jigsaw, which I have already seen (JACK NOTE: Hits Australian cinemas next week. Review up on Halloween), I would go back with more mature/critical eyes and watch/review the entire series. All seven films will be reviewed on this one page, because to be completely honest, they're so similar to one another, I could never pull off multiple paragraphs for each film.
If you have never seen any Saw movie, I can almost guarantee that you have the wrong idea about the series' first outing. The first Saw is outstanding. It's a modern horror classic and a great reminder that even with limited resources, passion and perseverance by the people behind the camera will still lead to something special. You've probably seen the iconic image of the two men in the bathroom, with a dead body sitting between them. It's a brilliant concept, and the big evil plan by Jigsaw is rather smart here, before the sequels over-explain everything. James Wan doesn't over-do the gore. If you go back and watch Saw, it's rather tame, with a lot of the bloodshed being left to our imagination. It's a tight, well made and often frightening little concept executed damn well (albeit some hammy performances). Even if you aren't into insane gore, watch this film, you might like it. How could you not be genuinely shocked by that ending the first time you see it?
To most people, or most sane people, the original Saw is their favourite of the seven (or eight, now). While I recognise the that the original is superior, I think the second film is my favourite It is the launch into the Saw most poople know. With the twisty, turny, blood-soaked spiral down an increasingly complicated screenplay, Saw 2 is the last film in the franchise before the far-reaching plot bends too far left into the lore. I like the gimmick here, of never quite knowing certain puzzle pieces (pun intended) until the filmmakers want you, and for that matter, the characters to know them. The situation the Jigsaw victims are in is actually engaging, Tobin Bell as the titular killer is outstanding, and the twist is ridiculous, but damn is it cool. It's not as scary and the directing and script aren't as inspired, but Saw 2 is a worthy sequel.
3 1/2 Stars
Saw 3 is interesting while it lasts, but other than a few cool traps, there's not much to remember. Despite having some of the grossest, grizzliest and most cringe-inducing gore of all the films, this is where they get too ahead of themselves, trying way to hard to jumble your brain until it can blow your mind with the twists it's hiding up your sleeves. However, the only interesting twist in this film is the trap where a man has all of his limbs, including his head, twisted off. The narrative twists aren't as shocking as they were in the previous films. The way the film connects the two main story lines present throughout is mildly satisfying, but doesn't have any long lasting impact in the long run of the series. While this isn't the point where the films become incomprehensible, this is where the epic story the filmmakers are trying to tell starts to get a little dry. This is when you start watching just for the gore, and if that's all you are looking for, you'll be satisfied.
While the lead protagonist that navigates Jigsaw's traps in Saw 4 is likable, and while the gore delivers, I think Saw 4 is where the gimmick of telling you the story out of order gets old. Sure, the writers do a good job of incorporating Jigsaw into the story (Spoiler Alert: he's dead at this point), but by god, they are just trying to confuse you. It's so hard to follow. It was complicated before, now it's just irritating. I will admit, though, this film has a pretty cool twist... Not as cool as the first two films, but it's amusing. And this is exactly why I didn't write a full review for each film, as I have literally nothing more to say...
2 1/2 Stars
This movie fucking sucks and the antagonist and protagonist look identical and this movie is miserable. Just watch a kill compilation on YouTube. This film is such a slog, it's so hard to sit through. I don't even want to talk about Saw 5 for much longer. I watched it just a few days ago and all I remember are some of the traps, or are the traps I'm remembering from Saw 6? 4? Who knows? And my god, the water tank trap is not only a stupid idea, but the way the victim escapes it is so absurd. It's hilarious.
1 1/2 Stars
Well, I'll be dammed. Saw 6 is half enjoyable. It's tied for third best in the Saw series. The plot is still nonsense, but there's genuine bits of fun here and there. It's nothing like the more tightly wrapped first film, but if you are in it for the long run, this is the only high point in the final three films. The traps here are more inspired and probably what you think of when you think of Saw, especially if you haven't actually seen the films. They're sickening, but inventive, like the absurd Carousal trap. And yes, the twists sort of work. All in all, this is a fun entry and a Saw film I'll be happy to randomly revisit, even when I'm not marathoning the series.
FUUUUCK this movie. It's cheap. The effects are cheap, the story is cheap, the murders are cheap. My word. I won't give you guys my opinion on the latest film, Jigsaw, I'll let Jack handle that, but I will say I am glad this is not the film the franchise ends on. The blood in the film is literally neon pink. I don't know how or why, but it's pink. Nothing is satisfying in this movie. The big final twist that caps off the series known for cool twists is predictable and absurd and did I mention THE BLOOD IS NEON PINK?! I hate this film, I hate sitting though it, I hate thinking about it. It sucks. Not even the traps are cool. We get to finally see the iconic reverse bear trap go off on a human, but it's not cool looking, probably because the blood is bright pink.
1 Neon Pink Star
Overall, the Saw franchise is special. It's an iconic franchise for a reason. It's built off a cool idea and it stays consistent (kinda...). While I will probably never watch the series low-points like 5 or 7 again, these are fun films for horror enthusiasts who don't mind sickening violence. Also, Billy, the little clown puppet, is one of the only proper horror icons we have gotten in the past few years... What's up with that?
Like the article? Make sure to spread the word on social media.
You May Also Like:
By Jack Dignan
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve gathered you all here today to discuss a very important matter at hand. Porgs. These black eyed, brown-to-grey furred sea birds, natives of the distant island planet of Ahch-To, have been causing a ruckus as of late. Specifically, there have been several reports of Porgs stealing the hearts of everyone who’s ever laid eyes on them. Just today, a Porg was spotted standing on the dashboard of the Millennium Falcon, presumably as their newest co-pilot, and here, the Porg screamed a soulful scream. Upon hearing that graceful noise, I made I sound I’ve never heard my body make before. The Porg just stole my heart too.
I told myself for months that I wasn’t going to watch any more footage from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. After first witnessing that beautiful teaser trailer back at Star Wars Celebration, I vowed that that would be it. I didn’t want to see any more. I was done. Yet today, for its entirety, do you want to know what I did? I spent hours refreshing social media pages and the Event Cinemas ticket sales pages in hopes of being the first to get a glimpse at the beautiful new poster and trailer, as well as being the first to get tickets to the midnight showing. It was a success. I got them, and wouldn’t you know that they sold out thirty seconds later? Star Wars fans are insane. I love each and every one of them.
There’s so much to discuss and dissect when it comes to this new trailer; much more than I’m going to be able to talk about in this article. Where does one even begin? I have absolutely no idea. But we have to start somewhere, so let’s start with that poster (see: bottom of the page). At first glance, it stirred mixed feelings. The overall design and aesthetic maintains the beauty of past designs, really utilizing the colour red to the best of this film’s ability, and in that regard, it’s gorgeous. It certainly fits into the Star Wars poster mold, but if I’m being perfectly honest, it’s one of my least favourites, simply because it bares a striking resemblance to so many fan made ones. I initially thought it was just another fan rendition.
Still, I dig it. I do miss the old hand drawn designs of the original posters, but times have changed. Keeping with the now, it certainly fits, and I wouldn’t be opposed to hanging it on my wall beside my seven other Star Wars posters. But while the poster didn’t blow me away, that trailer certainly did. Christmas is coming, folks. And by Christmas, I don’t mean a fat, red, bearded man climbing down your chimney. I’m talking about Luke Skywalker returning to the big screen after a thirty-year hiatus. December 14th is going to be a glorious day indeed, and if this main trailer is anything to go by, we’re in for an absolute treat. Everybody cries at Star Wars trailers, right? It’s not just me?
Director Rian Johnson, and all those subsequently asked about the film, have been teasing for a while the different approach this film is taking. It’s been cited as shocking and unexpected, a complete turn-around from what audiences expected after The Force Awakens, but fitting within the Star Wars universe. This trailer solidifies those statements. The Last Jedi looks to be a dark, explosive and emotional turn for the Star Wars saga, more so than any of the last five movies released. Every visual presented here is mind blowing in its gorgeousness. We could be in for a tantalizing treat come December. From the looks of things, it’s going to be one of the best looking films to come out of this saga, and I can’t wait.
Obviously, however, the single greatest shot of the trailer, and perhaps even the single greatest shot in cinema history, is that Porg screaming. After first witnessing them in the D23 behind the scenes reel, I knew I was in love. After today’s trailer, my obsession has peaked (or at least until December). As much as I’d like to dedicate an entire article to Porgs (that’s not a bad idea actually… stay tuned), there’s a lot more on display than just those wonderful little beings of happiness. Because…. HOLY FUCKING SHIT KYLO REN AND REY AND SNOKE AND FINN AND PHASMA AND PORGS AND LUKE AND FLASHBACKS AND ACTION AND EXPLOSIONS AND DARKNESS AND MIST AND EVERYTHING WE’VE EVER APPRECIATED IN LIFE AND SO MUCH MORE.
I love how Kylo-centric this trailer is. The whole thing feels as if it were told from the perspective of the Dark Side, something that could just possibly be true; especially with the first teaser’s ominous Luke quote “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” It seems Rey may be taking that a step further. She appears to be joining Kylo Ren is his search for ultimate power. That final clip of Kylo offering Rey his hand blew me away the first time I watched it. I collapsed onto the floor, exhausted and happy, but the second time, it felt like something I perhaps didn’t want to see in a trailer. No doubt, the sequence will occur late into the game, but if you look closely, it may not be as late as you’d think.
The outfit Rey wears in that scene isn’t the one she’s wearing off-island. It’s her training gear still, without any blue in sight. Perhaps this confrontation is a vision, or perhaps she falls to the dark side a little earlier than anticipated. We’re not going to be seeing a Kylo Ren redemption arc any time soon, but we might be getting a Rey one, for if she joins Kylo and makes it to the Dark Side, what happens next? Well, based on the trailer, it doesn’t look good. A two-shot moment in which Snoke is torturing Rey with the force (!) hints at dark dangers to come. Perhaps this is a sequence after her meeting with Kylo. Perhaps he never wanted her to join him, even though it was alluded to in The Force Awakens, but instead wanted to lure her into Snoke’s evil grasp.
Snoke has been a popular point of discussion since 2014. Many have wondered if he’ll be an original character, or perhaps one from Star Wars past. The trailer gives nothing close to a definite answer, but it doesn’t need to. It adds fuel to the fire. All will be revealed this December. Personally, I’m still sticking with the theory that he’s an original character who’s withered away in the far reaches of deep space and the unknown regions, but by the looks of things, he’s far more powerful than we anticipated. Kylo Ren stopping that bullet in The Force Awakens was one thing, but Snoke straight up doing that to Rey is another beast entirely. Yes, Kylo does it in the first film too, but this appears to be something far more intense. I cannot wait to see where this confrontation leads to, or where any of these confrontations lead.
There’s so much visual excitement from characters we know and love, including an emotional appearance from Carrie Fisher (in a scene that further hints at Kylo’s humanity. Perhaps he’s going to be upset to find Snoke torturing Rey? Perhaps he will be redeemed in this film after all?), that we get very little time with the new characters. In fact, from my seventeen thousand views of the trailer already, I don’t think we see a single shot of them, save for one of Rose. Yet once again, this is good. We don’t need to see everything. Star Wars has a firm understanding of that. They know how to tease without showcasing the entire plot, as evident from the last two movies released, so I’m glad we’ve gotten just a snippet of this movie.
I can’t wait to see this film. Releasing only two trailers, as opposed to the typical three, has been an excellent power move. We know so little, despite it being so close, and I don’t know if I can cope with waiting much longer. If my previous Top 15 Films Of The Year lists are anything to go by, The Last Jedi has a reserved seat in the #1 spot. That’s a joke, but let’s be real, it’s so happening. Please don’t hate me when it does.
Like the article? Make sure to spread the word on social media.
You May Also Like: