31 Days of Halloween – Day 6 – Is Saw (2004) lazy?
Saw is a gore film, a trashy horror movie that relies on shock and blood to please you, not necessarily character development or plot. There’s plenty of movies out there with characters enduring pain and anguish, but because the villain is nameless and faceless in Saw, there’s no way to hope our heroes can outsmart him. There’s only puzzles to think out, which sometimes works in lieu of a big bad villain, but isn’t very satisfying since there’s usually more runtime yet to go.
Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) are the two best actors in the Saw franchise, but that’s hardly a career-making achievement. They wake up chained to a wall in a public restroom, though the location is unknown and irrelevant. The interesting part of their situation is the discourse between the two men and their race to beat the clock, as Gordon’s family is held hostage. Gordon has to kill Adam by a certain time or his family will die. How ominous.
The whole character of Jigsaw is contrived. He’s basically a human plot device, used only to give us torture porn and other sadistic horror set pieces. His character is never developed. He’s barely even in any of the Saw movies. He barely has a reason to do what he’s doing, and he makes it so complicated on himself that it almost becomes unbelievable. The twist ending is not predictable, but twists and fake-outs are inevitable in the Saw franchise. Of course, there’s a reason Jigsaw is never shown or developed or given any character. It’s because the plot won’t allow it, so in a way, the writing hurts the main villain.
Hiding the killer and springing him on us at the last-minute with little to no explanation is lazy writing. Of course, it’s easier to do that then spend time with John in the hospital, or develop his character to understand why he’s the way he is. Why’s he so smart? Is he an engineer? Architect? Computer genius? Who knows. Jigsaw actually is in earlier parts of the film before the twist ending, but his appearance is so throwaway that it does nothing for his character or the plot. It might have been better to make Gordon or Adam the killer. We at least get to know those two characters.
Maybe this sounds like I really hate the original Saw. I don’t. I like this movie. It’s just as flimsy as a sheet of paper, but that’s okay by me. It’s slick, gruesome, and has a good pace, so I don’t mind it as much as the more convoluted Saw III, IV or V. Those movies are crap. This one is okay, even if it’s lazy.
31. Poltergeist (1982) vs Poltergeist (2015)
30. Blair Witch Project (1999)
29. Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
28. The Wicker Man (1973) and The Wicker Man Remake
27. Tales from the Darkside, the Movie (1990)
26. Saw (2004)
25. The Prophecy (1995)
24. The Hills have Eyes (1977)
23. House of the Long Shadows (1983)
22. Creepshow (1982)
21. Phantasm (1979)
20. The Omen (1976) vs Damien: The Omen II
19. We Are Still Here (2015)
18. The Guest (2010)
17. Return of the Living Dead (1985)
15. The House that Dripped Blood (1971)
14. Army of Darkness (1992)
13. In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
12. Friday the 13th Part III
11. Theater of Blood (1973)
10. House of Wax (1953) vs House of Wax (2005)
9. Hellraiser Inferno (2000)
8. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
7. The Changeling (1980)
6. The Eye (2002)
5. The Hitcher (1986)
4. Paranormal Activity (2007)
3. 28 Days Later (2003)
2. Suspiria (1977)
1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – This review will be published October 31st!