It’s finally here! Night 31! The holy grail of the MASSACRE MARATHON! This year’s end of the line features a more recent entry into the horror classics hall of fame: Saw. What started as a small Australian short film blossomed into a juggernaut of a franchise, becoming a yearly Halloween staple. There are seven films total, but for this special day we are only focusing on the first three.
When writer/director James Wan and writer/actor Leigh Whannell came together in 2004 to make Saw they created a sadistic masterpiece. It was one of those films I remember everybody talking about when it was released. My maker introduced it to me when I was still a young, unsullied Manster. He explained to me how he heard it wasn’t only a horror movie, but a crime mystery too.
The film centers around two gentlemen who wake up prisoners in a disgusting old bathroom. They find a tape recorder in the hands of a dead man. The voice on the recording tells the men they have limited time to find their way out of their situation before they are sealed inside the room forever. They slowly start to realize how elaborate the puzzle before them is and try to piece together their memories to find out who did this to them. Meanwhile, the police are on the trail of the man behind the death traps. In the wake of the nearly forced suicides, they find video tapes left at the crime scenes showing a creepy doll delivering the rules of the game.
Saw is considered by some to be a mindless wave of torture porn, and as the films go on the traps do escalate in visceral gruesomeness, but the most shocking aspect is how many twists and complications that the story bears. There is a reasoning for all of the chaos other than the perpetrator being psycho and liking to kill. Specifically, the ending is what I would describe as one of the best “WHAT THE FUCK?!” moments ever! It’s definitely disappointing in the plot department. There is a meticulously detailed plan for all of the victims and everything falls into place perfectly by the end of the movie.
In fact, the series as a whole does a great job tying things together. Things that you might not have noticed or had forgotten about come back in usually important ways. While the other film’s plots might also fit like a glove, Saw stands out as the top contender. Its simple bathroom scene premise would be the most memorable in the series, if not for the iconic “reverse bear trap” mask. I can picture audience members going home from the theater a decade ago and having nightmares of that thing being strapped on their head for weeks. Of course, without spoiling anything, the most disturbing part of Saw is in the finale and involves its namesake!
Being The Manster and all, you know I have seen some shit, but there are things in this series that have, and still, make me squirm! Saw is a great example of how to kick off a bloody good string of movies, but you can alternatively ignore everything that came out after it and still consider it an excellent film. I would highly recommend it!
5 rare rave reviews out of 5