johnlink ranks SAW (2004)

I’ve been seeing bits and pieces of the latest SAW film at the theater over the last week. It is laughable to witness what the series has become. They even attempt a hint of some deeper meaning and social commentary with allusions to the mortgage thieves and the insurance assheads. But in between these reasonable sequences are the most brutal non-purposeful scenes of torture and gory brutality which serve no purpose but to quench the bloody thirst of torture porn fans. I remember truly liking the first film, though I hadn’t seen it in some years. So I thought it was the proper time (just days before Halloween) to give it another visit.

The first of the series tells the story of two people trapped in a room attempting to discover the nature of their captor.

I watched SAW (2004) on 10.28.09. It was my third viewing of the film, and first in four years.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

There is a careful pace to this movie which its sequels ignore. We learn what is happening slowly, rather than having it thrown at us rapid fire. And even though the ending is a reveal, it is not the chaos the later films try and employ. It is hard to judge this film on its own merits, since it gave birth to what I consider one of the least creative eras in horror movie history. However, this film is only gory in spurts. Things we think we remember seeing (the foot getting cut off, the cop getting shot in the head) aren’t as detailed in the film as they are in our memory. Not like SAW 6, where we get to see a person melt and their intestines literally fall to the floor (in case you ever wanted the opportunity to witness that). This film does more well than it does poorly. Had the series continued in its tradition, it would not be the eye-roll inducing object of scorn that it is. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

I care about these characters a lot. And I want them to succeed. There is a glimmer of hope in the end, a glimmer which all but disappears from the other films. This is a movie which takes its time showing you things, and the result is an entertaining story from start to finish. SCORE: 8

ACTING

I’ve heard quite a bit of criticism about Cary Elwes performance in this, which is crazy to me. I think he did wonderfully. I think most of his issues has to do with sound editing (which I will get to soon). There are times where his voice feels disconnected from him, and I think that is the fault of post-production. But his emotional range is genuine. Danny Glover is slightly over the top, but effective. This was the first time I’ve watched this since becoming a LOST fan, so it was cool to see both Miles and Ben Linus as major characters. It is surprising to see a movie of this type not have substandard acting. Hard to say that for the sequels, from what I have seen. SCORE: 7

WRITING

There are some definite issues with the script. If this is a game, why set it up so the key will sink before he has a chance to do anything? How does Jigsaw never move? Why is Ben Linus such a creep if he is being forced to do what he does? These questions seem unanswered, but the feeling of the movie works because the actors are so committed to its sincerity. SCORE: 5

BONUS

The sound editing in this film is horrid. There are moments when volume seems to increase or decrease, and the scenes in the bathroom feel off. But the scene where the detectives are in the killer’s lair is the worst. The killer sounds like he is in a sound studio, rather than in the room with the detectives. It feels entirely artificial and takes the viewer out of the reality of the situation. SCORE: -1

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 5; BONUS: -1

6+8+7+5-1=25

FINAL SCORE: 6.25

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~ by johnlink00 on October 28, 2009.

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