Thursday, August 23, 2012

Finally Those Capitalist Pigs Will Pay For Their Crimes

There are at least two horror films that I wish I could have seen back when they first came out: Friday the 13th (1980) and Saw (2004). Despite both being mostly spoiled for me by the time I got to see them, each of them had rather unique and rather famous, disturbing endings. There might be other films, but that's the first two that comes to mind, especially since I just finally watched Saw after avoiding it ever since it came out. The sequels might not be worth my time, but the original is quite possibly a modern horror classic, or at least one of the best horror films of the 2000s. The rather unique premise, the film's unflinching brutality, and the fairly solid cast all result in something that I actually ended up digging quite a lot. However this doesn't mean I'm wrong about the Saw franchise being nothing money than an exercise in money whoring, although the same can be said about most horror series from Friday the 13th to the A Nightmare On Elm Street movies.

Setting: two white guys chained up in a some random abandoned warehouse, completely unsure as to how they got there or even why they are there. Suddenly the lights come on, and the two men see each other for the first time. Dazed and confused, they begin talking about the situation, trying to make sense of current events and maybe even come up with a plan. Dr. Gordan, the main character of the film, quickly realizes that their chances of escape may in fact be rather low, although he keeps this to himself. Nothing ends up being what it seems, and throughout the film the actual truth emerges. What's fascinating about Saw is how the movie inspires discussion and poses certain questions. Some of those are probably answered in the sequels, but what I am referring to is in fact the philosophical topics at hand. Does the Jigsaw Killer truly have the right to be doing this? Who appointed this guy judge, jury, and executioner? Since he lets his victims die by their own hand, he technically is not a murder, and yet he's absolutely guilty for their deaths, an argument that was used to try the Nazis after World War II.

At the same time, there are some notable faults with this film, such as the awful and randomly hilarious car chase scene, or the fact that it doesn't go into the questions it poses deeply enough. Yet the cast keeps the film anchored well enough, and what is most interesting is that this film utilizes its gore, something that I highly doubt the sequels do. Some of the Jigsaw kills are shown, however none of them actually compare to a flashback detailed by a survivor that is rather chilling. Thus, when blood is actually spilled and something truly horrific happens, the viewer is not already numb to the point of not caring. Saw works primarily due to being largely an exercise in terror, making the viewer wonder what they do in a nightmare situation they have no control over, which leads us to not judge the actions of the main characters. Maybe that's really Jigsaw's true message, valuing life aside and admiring the gifts we are lucky enough to possess. Even if that means you have to violently slaughter the guy lying near you to escape that reverse bear trap. Yikes. 92


  1. No no. Saw is not one of the best horror movies of the 2000s. Horror movies above saw; Three Extremes, Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead (04), Feast, Wolf Creek, the Descent, Bug, Slither, 30 Days of Night, I am Legend, REC, The Mist, The Burrowers!, Quarantine, Let the Right One in (and the remake), The Horde, Human Centipede, Fourth Kind, Pandorum, Thirst, Daybreakers, Forzen, The Crazies (2010)... High Tension, Underworld, Signs, 28 Days Later, hell even the original Resident Evil! After all of those movies... then comes Saw.

    1. I'm pretty sure the Resident Evil movies suck. Sure its not better than Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later or Slither, but I'd place it above Dawn of the Dead remake, I Am Legend, The Burrowers, The Crazies, hell even Let The Right One In and Signs, too. I haven't seen the rest of the films you listed, but I imagine that its not better than Wolf Creek, The Descent, Bug, or The Mist. Underworld looked awful and so does Fourth Kind. I refuse to see The Human Centipede because it looks shitty and the premise is terrible.