Chris & Marcey’s February Movie Exchange: Week 1 – Saw (2004)

Movie Exchange

What’s a Blog-a-thon? This movie exchange is a challenge, its participants have chosen films the other has not seen to watch and review.
Marcey’s criteria for Chris: Horror Films of the 2000’s
Why Marcey Chose This Film For Chris: I picked SAW for Chris because it is one of my favourite horror films, yes of all time. For me it really is a staple of horror from the 2000’s, and it did kick start a new wave of films for the genre. It came into the world from the mind of James Wan and Leigh Whannell, two men who then called Australia home. Since then the pair have taken off, and this is the little film that started it. I am a huge fan of the entire franchise, but I do love the first the best. Chris has not seen SAW, and this is something that needs to be fixed. Whether he will enjoy it as much as I do, remains to be seen.

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Chris’ Review
If you ever go to film school, one of the stories you will always hear is that of James Wan and Leigh Whannell, two kids from Sydney and how they went from making one short film which was picked up by Hollywood and turned into a full length feature that became Saw. Ten years and six sequels later, the Saw franchise has become one of the most successful horror franchises of the 2000’s as well as spawning of countless rip offs, however critics and audiences still believe that it is the original that remains the most original and best of the series.

The premise is simple enough, two men, Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Adam Faulkner-Stanheight (Carey Elwes and Leigh Whannell) wake up to find themselves chained up in a room which has a dead body in the centre and with no memory of how they got there, why they are being held hostage and by whom. A series of mind bending clues, both Lawrence and Adam are given different instructions that will result in only one of them walking out alive, are given as the Lawrence and Adam try to remember how they got chained up. A series of flashbacks told mostly from Lawrence’s perspective about similar murders that have police baffled as it seems that the victims have killed themselves via the killer’s (nicknamed Jigsaw) elaborate yet brutally simple yet original traps that the sequels made the focus of the series.

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The film is ambitious in its storytelling, which keeps you guessing as to who the killer could be and who will leave the room alive if at all. Whilst you can tell that Saw is Wan’s first film – the overuse of flashbacks, fast paced editing in various scenes and the use of limited locations that were in fact the same scenes just redressed. Regardless these minor hitches can’t take away the fact that Saw is a fantastic film, the fact that it was filmed in just 18 days (Danny Glovers scenes were completed in just two days) which is a massive achievement especially for a first time director. To many the film helped boost a sudden surge in the sub-genre ‘gorno’, or torture porn. I disagree with this statement as it was the sequels that revelled in glorifying the violence, where as the original, whilst still extremely gritty, uses the violence which is mostly not shown for genuine shock value. You walk away from this film feeling like you’ve got bugs under your skin, which is what a good horror film is supposed to do, and something that few have managed to achieve in the last few years. The true success of Saw is the twist that no one saw coming, a twist which is best left alone and not talked about if you have yet to see the film.

Gritty, suspenseful and surprisingly original, Saw is a horror film that delivers and can be seen as being the perfect companion piece to David Finchers Se7en. Saw is the perfect example of what young filmmakers can achieve with the right idea, sadly this is an achievement that hasn’t been repeated with the exception of last years surprise hit, The Babadook from fellow Aussie director Jennifer Kent.

Rating
StarRating-04

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