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The Saw Franchise

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
Boo, Hiss etc.

I'd never seen any of these films, always avoided the likes of them and the plethora of torture films that followed. I decided to give them a spin after I realised everyone at work is anticipating Saw 5 and were having insanely hilarious conversations about self mutilation, head trauma and exploding collars. I just managed to watch the first three of them and to be honest I feel the world is a darker place for it.

They're an odd bunch of movies in that I really don't understand the mass appeal. The first one in particular is particularly terrible and isn't even that nasty compared to the likes of Hostel. It's really dumb psychological horror which is completely undermined by the directorial style and some chronic bad acting. The two main guys are fine, despite Elwe's onset of Britishness as he gets more desperate, and if the film was shorter and focused on the room then it wouldn't be so bad. But every excursion away from the initial area is utterly terrible. The crappy fast-slow motion stuff just looks awful, the soundtrack (aside from the surprisingly effective main theme) is laughable and Glover is just utterly laughable. I had to pause the TV because I was laughing so much at the 'high speed' car chase which consists of Ben Linus and Glover rocking backwards and forwards in stationary cars as the camera spazzes out to give a sense of urgency.

2 and 3 are massive improvements, largely because despite still being utterly earnest the films are far more focused and understand they're essentially unpleasantfests. Saw 3 in particular could probably be quite diverting if it wasn't nearly two hours long and some of the kills are quite impressive (the twisting machine and the chains are great). The film also has a moment which is utterly unpleasant (the breaking of the foot early on) and surprisingly effective.

What kills the film is the retarded way the plot reminds you of its salient points every 10 minutes or so and then wraps everything up at the end in a groovy montage. Saw 3 actually has two groovy montages within about 5 minutes of each other.

So the question I have to ask is what the fuck do the public see in the film? Are they inured by the gore or the soap opera storytelling (admittedly the continuity is impressively convoluted).

And yet I'm already looking for a copy of Saw 4, because despite being vaguely terrible they are also kind of watchable....so yeah...got to hand my nerd badge in on this one.
post #2 of 80
Not defending the films, but I don't think most people will have seen them in such a concentrated form as you have and might not see the overall flaws quite as much.

Also, people like violence. I'd imagine it's become a tradition for some people to see them, good or not?
post #3 of 80
The car chase in the first is indeed amazing, and by amazing I mean one of the worst car chases ever. So funny. I've only seen the first, and considering sequels are generally worse than the original, I called it quits right there.

I would think people just watch them for the (sometimes)creatively set-up kills, but then again a lot of people seem to really be wrapped-up in the ongoing story, so I have no idea. Sometimes it makes no sense as to what makes certain horror films successful while other(often better) stuff gets ignored.
post #4 of 80
Thread Starter 
The second and third films are better than the first film, but that could be due to the fact I was pissed out of my skull by the time I got to Saw 2.
post #5 of 80
Funny. I've always considered the third to be the worst of the bunch. The traps are positively unimaginative there. The twist in the first one wasn't too bad. What did you think of it?

The "Hello Zipp" Theme is kinda catchy as well.

The fourth was okay as well. A lot of Re-conning there. With a few minor characters in SAW II showing up for a blink cameo.
post #6 of 80
Thread Starter 
I kind of hated the fact that Saw 2's plot was centred on a cast of characters too stupid to communicate.

'How do I read number on neck? Why bother asking for other survivor to tell me when I can carve my off neck off for nebulous reasons'

Like I said if Saw 3 had about 30 minutes shaved off its runtime it'd probably be diverting.
post #7 of 80
Are you going to watch SAW V next week? Might as well since you've came this far. SAW IV is probably essential here. My feeling though is that John's wife will probably end up being the new Jigsaw in V. That's my guess at least.
post #8 of 80
Thread Starter 
I'm going to attempt to borrow Saw IV off of a co-worker on Monday and I think for the hell of it I'm going to catch Saw V at a cinema. I would have loved to see how a cinema audience reacted to Donnie Whalberg bashing his own foot into a bloody stump.
post #9 of 80
It's the soap opera storytelling that gets people back into theaters. It's essentially the only thing that separates Saw from Hostel, Captivity, etc. (Please don't think I'm comparing Hostel to Captivity in terms of quality).

Quote:
I've always considered the third to be the worst of the bunch. The traps are positively unimaginative there.
Huh? If anything, Saw III is when the series decides to shed all notion of plausibility in the traps. How exactly does one build Dina Meyer's angel rig or the crucifix rack?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike Marshall View Post
I'm going to attempt to borrow Saw IV off of a co-worker on Monday and I think for the hell of it I'm going to catch Saw V at a cinema. I would have loved to see how a cinema audience reacted to Donnie Whalberg bashing his own foot into a bloody stump.
Lots of "Ah!"s and "Aw hell no!"s. You'll probably get a kick out of IV -- it's so desperate to weave itself into the series.
post #10 of 80
Spike, you are becoming one of them.
post #11 of 80
Often, I find that people who really don't like horror movies all that much think this series is amazing. My brother has never cared for anything horror-related and now he's front-and-center for the Saw franchise. I can say the same thing for a few of my friends as well.

It's amazing, really. I've tried for years to get people into horror movies. I've showed them The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Black Christmas, Audition, etc., etc., etc. None of that worked. They watch Saw a few times and now they think they're horror connosuiers.
post #12 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
It's amazing, really. I've tried for years to get people into horror movies. I've showed them The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Black Christmas, Audition, etc., etc., etc. None of that worked. They watch Saw a few times and now they think they're horror connosuiers.
I've done the same thing and it's a bit depressing (and I'm the one guy here who likes Saw). Show them Saw -- or a sequel to it -- and they're amazed. But The Exorcist, The Thing, or Black Christmas? "Man, this shit is boring!"
post #13 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post
I've done the same thing and it's a bit depressing (and I'm the one guy here who likes Saw). Show them Saw -- or a sequel to it -- and they're amazed. But The Exorcist, The Thing, or Black Christmas? "Man, this shit is boring!"


what the fuck?


The Thing is absolutely fantastic, first dvd I ever bought, back in 2000.

Anyway, Saw.

They do nothing for me, they are utterly devoid of joy. At least Hostel had the guy busting out and turning the tables on his captors, for a sense of satisfaction (especially the running those horrible girls over, the ones who trick the backpakers)

Saw, is just tiresome. I think I'll stick to my John Carpenter flicks.
post #14 of 80
For all you Saw fans, apparently there will be a sixth one. VH1 is running a reality show where they cast the "break-out" role in the newest Saw picture.

As if these films couldn't get any worse -- they're now casting via reality tv.
post #15 of 80
Who the hell is directing these now? What "creative mind" is guiding the franchise?
post #16 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark Shape View Post
I've done the same thing and it's a bit depressing (and I'm the one guy here who likes Saw). Show them Saw -- or a sequel to it -- and they're amazed. But The Exorcist, The Thing, or Black Christmas? "Man, this shit is boring!"
Yesterday my best friend emailed me a list of the top horror films, and it had The Thing as number one. Not necessarily my choice, but not a bad choice, but he threw a shit fit that Thing was number one while there were zero Saw films on the list.

At least he redeemed himself somewhat by decrying their ranking of the Shining, and complete ignorance to Poltergeist.

As for the Saw series, the first one was horrible, but the second was a definite improvement. Of course, shining a turd and all that. But the pit of needles was fucking brutal. After that I just couldn't bring myself to wasting time with the series.

I've seen the comparisons to "this generation's Jason/Freddy" but I don't really buy that, except it's a horror franchise that makes money. I think it has more to do with being "hardcore" and "intelligent" because the guy made some jackass puzzles. Freddy had a much more psychological lean to him than this franchise.
post #17 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Boom View Post
Who the hell is directing these now? What "creative mind" is guiding the franchise?
The guys who wrote Feast. Isn't that comforting?
post #18 of 80
Thread Starter 
I think that aside from the original it's been the same guy writing/directing all the films. Which explains why they're so weirdly interlinked. Donnie Whalberg's appearances in Saw 3 are really fucking bizarre and all centre around him getting his feet broken, I'm wondering if he makes more of an impact in 4.
post #19 of 80
Not really. Wahlberg was originally going to die in Saw 3 (Amanda stabbed him repeatedly after the "You're not Jigsaw, bitch!" moment), but the producers cut it out of the film at the last second. He exists in Saw 4 only to stand around and look helpless.
post #20 of 80
Thread Starter 
So he's continuing the arc started in Saw 2.

I actually can't seem to find Saw 4 anyways, which is kind of odd but probably for the best.
post #21 of 80
He's basically the damsel in distress. The A story follows Rigg (the black SWAT guy from Saw II and III) as he has 90 minutes to save Eric.
post #22 of 80
Eric's last scene though pretty much sums up this years NKOTB comeback.
post #23 of 80
The Mythology of SAW.
post #24 of 80
Watched Saw in the theater like many of you and came out really, really pissed after all the hyping and the "it's the new Seven" heralding. The twist was OK, but the acting, the directing and especially this weird obsession of setting every scene in the dampest, most decrepit, ugliest-looking place imaginable (really, shitty photographer or not, Wannell looks like he enjoyed living in a fleapit) settled it for me. What the fuck?

Then I missed Saw 2 in theaters and decided to give it a go one of these sick days since I had both Parts 1 & 2 at home. Maybe I'd had a lousy day when I watched the original, so hey, who knows? WRONG. It was the same shitty movie with, at least, the redeeming factor of LOLing through the entire thing once 1st Timer Incredulity had waned. Saw 2 though... wasn't that bad. Superior in every way, I mean. And with the continuity asset one of the things that really gripped me. Didn't miss watching it in a theater, but still...

Then came Saw 3. For this one I went back to the theater in a dull day and, again, found some improvement over the previous two. Fuck it, the continuity thing had now me thinking of it as an "epic horror saga" in the vein of those 80s slashers (yeah, Freddy, Jason et al), especially since it had some definite closure with the death of Jigsaw and Amanda. "Adequately bombastic, glorified giallo" and "Shakespearean"(Jesus) were also terms that even crossed my mind. Yes, I liked Saw 3.

Then came 4. Again in the theater, thanks to the magic of free tickets (ah, perks)... and shit. The setup: interesting. The result: atrocious. And boring. And needless. And the end of my connection to this series. Or at least me wanting to ever see them again in a movie theater. But most of all, ironically enough, it made me retcon as well on the previous installments to find them unredeemable, unrewatchable affairs. So, will I ever watch Saw 5? Dunno if eventually, but so far my interest is none. As for the rest, you can have'em all. Me, I think I'm through with it.

So yeah, my chewer name is PsycheOut and I once enjoyed the Saw series.
post #25 of 80
I have an inevitable feeling I will probably wind up watching Saw eventually, as I've watched almost every franchise starter in horror now.
Might even manage to enjoy it on some basic level, but I'm mainly expecting ineptness at this point.
post #26 of 80
The implausible sounding setups are mostly what have kept me away - if people like creative kills with no rhyme or reason why can't we get a decent series of Final Destination movies? FD2 is greatness.
post #27 of 80
Skip SAW V. Just saw it.
It's just a setup for the next installment. A lot of retconning.
post #28 of 80
Finally got around to seeing Saw myself.
It's not completely without any kind of merit. Elwe is decent. The set-up of two men in a room had potential. The twist is actually respectable. One scene (The guy looking around his apartment with his camera flash) is even reasonably well-done and tense, although it really, really should have been the opening to the film instead of inexplicably popping up three-quarters of the way in. Although the ugly visual style doesn't appeal to me, the film does at least have one.
These momentary bright sparks, however, are offset by the sheer ineptitude of everything else.
The script is beyond awful- the dialogue being almost completely nonsensical. The editing and structure of the film is baffling- scenes seem almost randomly thrown together, rather than paced in any way. The visuals are completely negated by that stupid, stupid headbanging effect. Most of the traps make no sense whatsoever. The car chase is possibly the worst in the history of cinema- it's almost an achievement.
It's a pity, really. There are enough ideas here that this could have been a moderate horror, despite it's shameless robbing of Seven, Cube and Dr Phibes. The sheer incompetence on display, though, wrecks it.
post #29 of 80
I think theres a new group of kids who are new to horror movies, and they dig the shit out of this stuff, even though it's crappy. Just like we did when we were kids.

And yes, Freddy, Friday, and Halloween all veered into crap, and yet people still went to see those. Each series has some of the shittiest film-making known to man, and yet each franchise continues to this day, with remakes galore.
post #30 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Allen View Post
I think theres a new group of kids who are new to horror movies, and they dig the shit out of this stuff, even though it's crappy. Just like we did when we were kids.

And yes, Freddy, Friday, and Halloween all veered into crap, and yet people still went to see those. Each series has some of the shittiest film-making known to man, and yet each franchise continues to this day, with remakes galore.
The main difference for me between Saw and the 80s franchises is that they started well. Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street are horror classics. (Shocking confession here: I've never seen any of the Friday films in full). Saw is an absolutely terrible film. Just utterly shoddy.

I've only seen the first one and I have no desire to see any of the others. It just didn't do anything at all for me, it wasn't fun, it wasn't scary, it wasn't disturbing, it was just there. I'm completely baffled by it's success in the mainstream. Maybe it's because it's 'shocking' and 'edgy', but you'd think with all the weird shit people watch on the internet they'd be entirely decensitised to it all.

This isn't me being a snob about modern horror franchises either. I think the Final Destination series is great fun and I really enjoyed both the Dawn of the Dead and The Hills Have Eyes remakes.

I've never really had a horror franchise to call my own, I was born in 86 and the nineties were a bit of a baron patch. I sometimes wonder if I'd enjoy Saw more if it was made in the eighties, if my dislike of it is essentially just a reaction to it being in the mainstream now. But if it was made back then it would be a completely different sort of film, full of lovely practical effects.

I suppose we shouldn't complain though. As long as horror is popular and horror films are getting funded then we're occasionally going to get a decent one slipping through the cracks. Another Slither would be nice right about now.

So, yeah, that was a bit of rant.

Edited to add: When I started Uni, I took a film module. One seminar the lecturer started going on about how great Saw was, how the use of space was fantastic, and the same guy wrote it and starred it. The fact that the writing and acting are both terrible seemed to escape her. I didn't take any more film modules after that.
post #31 of 80
Well...there's Splinter, that Friday 13th reboot and the My Bloody Valentine 3D remake next year if you're interested.

Not a big horror fan myself.
post #32 of 80
Thread Starter 
Saw IV is actually kind of hilariously ridiculous. So earnest and yet so retardedly over the top. I swear to christ I burst out laughing when the rapist got stabbed in the eye and when Donnie met his ultimate fate.
post #33 of 80
I tried watching Saw recently when it was on TV. The results were not good.
post #34 of 80
The first SAW was not so much bad as mediocre, but the other films in the franchise are shit.
But since they cost next to nothing to make and can bring in the big bucks, I don't expect the franchise to die out anytime soon.
post #35 of 80
Saw was dreadful. Tonally, Cary Elwes's performance could easily have been dropped into Men In Tights 2: The Legend Cums Again.
post #36 of 80
Thread Starter 
Saw 1 is easily the worst of the films, that fucking car chase alone ensures that. But as Bobby points out Cary Elwes goes beyond 'couldn't give a fuck' and actually delivers a performance so bad it damages the film.

For whatever reason Bousfield as a director is able to energise his cast a lot more than the first director and whilst none of the Saws are in any way good movies the sequels at least seem to have a cast not actively trying to destroy the movie.
post #37 of 80
Yeah, the acting in the series gets better as you move away from people who even approach being names.

Unrated Saw V actually made me squirm a couple times with the violence. That hasn't happened in awhile.
post #38 of 80
Really? I didn't notice anything particularlu gory. Except maybe the wrist cutting scene.

What are the differences between the Theratical version and the unrated cut?
post #39 of 80
The pendulum scene is way gorier, as well as the wrist-cutting machine. There's also added dialogue that helps clarify why the five people are in the group trap.
post #40 of 80
Thanks for the back-up, Spike. As someone who watched the first years after it was released (and heard plenty about it from those who had in that time), I was amazed no-one highlighted Elwes's famously awful performance before.
post #41 of 80
Are the sequals as incompetently edited and scripted, though? It's not just the camerawork in the first one, but the baffling order the scenes are assembled in.
post #42 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xagarath Ankor View Post
Are the sequals as incompetently edited and scripted, though? It's not just the camerawork in the first one, but the baffling order the scenes are assembled in.
Saw II and III are fine. I still think Saw III borders on being a legitimately good movie, as I'm a sucker for the drama in it.

The last two sequels are so flashback heavy that you have to be a major geek to follow them.
post #43 of 80
The first Saw just seemed to be built for the ending and reveal of the dead body.. or so i thought.
post #44 of 80
Apparently Shawnee Smith is coming back as Amanda (in Flashback) in SAW VI.
http://www.joblo.com/shawnee-for-saw-6
post #45 of 80
I watched Saw IV last night for the first time. I'm guessing I need to actually remember everything that happened in III to begin to understand parts of this entry. This is definitely not a franchise people can start watching sequels blindly.

Anyways, after some Internet snooping, I think I figured it out: the third and fourth films take place at the same time. The beginning of the film is actually the aftermath.

The swerve is actually kind of solid for a movie like this, but I still didn't like it.
post #46 of 80
The first SAW was borderline OK, but other then that the films are shit.
It has become almost a axiom that true horror movie fans despise the SAW franchise.
post #47 of 80
Oh shit...

http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/saw-...on-poster.html

(didn't submit as news cause Chud doesn't recognize Saw as any kind of news)
post #48 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
The first SAW was borderline OK, but other then that the films are shit.
It has become almost a axiom that true horror movie fans despise the SAW franchise.
Mm-hmm. Just like all true horror movie fans despise Scream, right? It's amazing how "true fans" always seem to agree with the poster.
post #49 of 80
Scream is excellent.
post #50 of 80
SAW VII has just been greenlit. So i guess we're stuck with this series for quite a while to come.

I will admit that I liked the SAW VI Teaser and I wonder what kind of Retconning they are going to try this year. Shawnee Smith is back which may be a plus.

In fact I am almost tempted to start the SAW VI Thread just to begin our annual SAW bashing. I still remember last year...wow.
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