Five Days Of Saw: Saw.

It was a movie that started a franchise; a film that I felt was so freakin predictable that I was blown out of my seat by it’s stunning ending. Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) wake up in a grungy, filthy bathroom, chained by their ankles on opposite ends, and with a body in the middle of the room in a puddle of blood and a gun in his hand. They discover that they’re in a game set up by Jigsaw, a man who sets ungrateful people up in fatal traps/situations in order to get them to further appreciate life to its fullest. Along for the ride are the paranoid Detective Tapp (Danny Glover), the hospital orderly Zep (Michael Emerson), Detective Kerry (Dina Meyer), Detective Sing (Ken Leung), and a list of other victims, including survivor Amanda (Shawnee Smith). But the current situation shows Dr. Gordon and Adam that they have until a certain time to follow the rules set up, and the rules are thus: Dr. Gordon’s wife and daughter are being held captive, and if he wants to be set free and see them again, he must find a way to kill Adam before time runs out. And how can he get free if he needs to? Well, there’s a pair of hacksaws that can be used to cut off your foot and set you free…

When I first saw this movie, I thought I had it figured out before I even reached the halfway point. I thought it was going to end like every other Hollywood horror movie, wherein the twist at the end was overly simple to figure out, the good guys would get free, and everything would end just fine. Boy was I wrong. Not only did nothing end happily ever after, but the twist ending quickly joined what I feel is the top five twist endings of all time.

The movie is in no way, shape, or form torture porn, as most ignorantly label it. Hell, it’s only moderately gorier than your weekly episodes of CSI. The traps in this movie are pretty tame, especially in comparison to the later movies. And it isn’t killing for the sake of killing. Jigsaw is actually a pretty well thought-out character (again, especially as shown in the later films), and he only sets traps up for people who are wasting away their lives in order to teach them appreciation and self-respect. This movie is intelligent horror, not brainless blood and death.

The acting is usually the wobbly ground for most people. Either Cary Elwes or Leigh Whannell are the big complaints, but I personally didn’t see any major issues with either of them. And for two guys with thick foreign accents (British and Australian, respectively), they both held American accents nicely (though if you pay close attention to the opening scenes, you can hear Leigh break accent once or twice). I also think Michael Emerson can play a really intense character no matter what he’s doing (see: LOST).

And then there’s the cinematography and music. The way the camera is used in these films, along with editing techniques, is like an art form (well… it is… but you know what I mean). From the intensity of the Reverse Bear Trap scene with Amanda to the now patented “Seizure flashback” that occurs at the end of each film, the camera/editing is done masterfully. Coincidentally, as I write this, the main Saw theme started playing on my playlist, just in time for me to bring up the music! The main theme is now classic, to me. It’s even being used in other film trailers (much like another modern classic theme from another movie, Requiem for a Dream). I really adore this theme song, from it’s slow build to it’s huge crescendo, increasing and increasing further until the massive shocking end, then BAM, it ends, just like the film. Thank you Charlie Clouser for creating such a hauntingly amazing theme.

So overall, this is one of my favorite horror/suspense films. It has a great story, great cinematography, great editing, great music, and a great ending. There’s really not much else I can say about this first film. I really recommend it.

Royale With Cheese

The following segment involves spoilers:

Questions Raised Thus Far:

- What's with all the pig stuff?

- Who the heck was the guy in the drill-to-the-neck trap and what did he do?

- Does Jigsaw just let Amanda go live her life now that she survived?

- What the heck ever happened to Dr. Gordon's wife and daughter?

- What the heck ever happened to Dr. Gordon?

- Does Adam just die of starvation, dehydration, and/or blood loss?

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