Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Brutal, but Interesting
There is one series that generally most critics hate, and that is the Saw series. First of all, let me explain that I truly understand why it is primarily hated, I do. Though, here’s what I want you all to understand as to why I like it. The Saw series has done things I have never before seen, and haven’t since. That is what I like to call originality, and I cherish originality in film. It had an element that was too good to pass up, so sue me. Below you’ll see my individual reviews:
[Spoiler Alert] Saw Series Explained
The Saw Series revolves around a man named John Kramer (Tobin Bell) who has developed a malignant and inoperable brain tumor. He will die. He didn’t really value his life, so when he almost died in a car accident, he suddenly found himself cherishing his life. That didn’t really mean anything at this point though. His wife, Jill (Betsy Russell) is pregnant and works at a drug rehabilitation center. When a druggie bursts in, killing Jill’s unborn child, John immediately snaps, ultimately transforming into the “Jigsaw Killer”. His method of killing his victims involves creating machines that hurt people. They have a chance to survive if they pass the test, so in a way…John is not a murderer, and has never killed a soul in his life. That’s part of his motto.
Another druggie that was a part of Jill’s work was Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith). You see, Jigsaw and Jill both want to rehabilitate people, they just see it in different ways. Jigsaw does it through forcing people to value their lives by showing how bad it can be if they didn’t. Amanda Young was one of his first victims, and she saw the error of her ways and soon joined Jigsaw. Together, they set up numerous traps that teach “players” valuable lessons about life.
Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) worked most of Jigsaws cases, and he got an idea. He tracked down the killer of his sister, and framed Jigsaw, saying it was just another one of his traps. Jigsaw saw this, and forced Hoffman to be another one of his accomplices. Hoffman was primarily Jigsaw’s inside scoop on the police force, as well as the muscle later in life, when Jigsaw got too sick to continue on. He also continued on with John’s work long after he died. The only problem was that no one could truly understand and appreciate Jigsaw’s original mission – and that was not to kill anyone. Continually, there were unbeatable traps, and that wasn’t what Jigsaw was all about.
So in his will, he asked his widow, Jill, to set a trap for Hoffman, because this issue had to be dealt with, but after she carries out his last request, he finds a way to escape it, and goes after Jill. He ends up killing her, but he does not go untested. Dr. Gordon, the victim from the first film reemerges as Jigsaw’s latest successor. He has been performing the surgical tasks that Jigsaw himself could not safely perform. He deals with Hoffman, landing him to the same place he was six films prior.
Here’s why I like this series: through twist endings, each movie is collectively connected to each other, it’s brilliantly written. Not all of the twist endings are all as shocking as the first, and in fact, none of them are. A few of them are pretty decent though. The story and background of John Kramer is one of legend, and Tobin Bell is just a magnificent actor. I honestly think that there are only a select few villains in film history that are memorable, and Jigsaw is one of them. You don’t want to tick this guy off.
As for the cinematography? Some of the movies have great transitions, cool filters on the scenes, and great sound editing. Sure, the films get a little obnoxiously old by the end, but that’s not the reason why we watch these movies. The gore itself isn’t why we watch it. We watch it for the ever-expanding background on Tobin Bell’s character, and his on-screen charisma.
Does it go over-the-top? Oh, absolutely. It’s a horror film with a great focus on gore, but it’s not your typical gory horror film, and that’s what makes it special. It has a fascinating overall story that can be told over and over again. A lot of people despise the film series past the first film, but I like it. It’s unbelievable and scientifically inaccurate to the tenth degree, but it’s just…bloody fun.
Call me crazy all you want, its morbid curiosity and a guilty pleasure. Check it out!