Monday, October 29, 2007

Saw IV

The other day I was asked what series I thought would next make it to a tenth installment, and without hesitating, I answered "Saw." They are on their fourth movie, and the only thing that's changed is that the surprises aren't surprising (or don't make any sense), and it's gotten a whole lot gorier.

I'm going to tell you straight away that this is going to contain spoilers from the previous movies, so if you haven't seen them, well, you probably shouldn't see this movie anyway.

It starts out as the last one left off, after the death of Jigsaw. From the first incredibly graphic scene of his autopsy, a tape is found in his stomach, starting a whole new slew of tests that he somehow orchestrated before his death. Granted, everything is wrapped up at the end, in about a minute and a half of rapid fire flashbacks, but I don't really get much about this movie. On top of this, flashbacks to the previous movies, histories of new characters, histories of Jigsaw himself, and an apparent lack of concern for the continuity of time add to the confusion. Characters we previously thought were dead are brought back (at least with facial hair to indicate the passage of time).

I just want to grab these film-makers and yell at them. Making a horror movie more convoluted does not make it better. A twist only works if it makes sense. Nobody cares about a surprise ending when we're not led in any specific direction in the first place. Surprise, we revealed something that you don't even care about. On top of this, every shot is the most important shot in the movie. I hardly think walking around an interrogation room warrants speed effects, and a "whoosh."

I actually had to go onto some IMDB message boards trying to find help explaining some things in the Saw universe. The most common interpretations are that the movies are all intertwined, some parts happening at the same time. Maybe if you sat down one night and watched all four of them, you might be able to follow it.

I really tried to get swept up in this concept. I think it's very interesting, and actually enjoyed the low budget first installment. Perhaps they should have just kept it at that, though I suppose guaranteed box office returns wouldn't let them. It's a fascinating genre all unto itself, but unfortunately just collapsed under the weight of its own convoluted self-importance.

Jigsaw sums it up nicely "Time is an illusion." That's the truth, but when it comes to Saw, reality itself is an illusion.


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