October 4, 2022

I'm going into this optimistically, but I might just be walking into a trap that spells my doom.

One of my holes with movies is that I never watched any of the Saw films. Since I liked the trailer for Jigsaw and there are a bunch of stories I really like where characters sever their own limbs, I decided to remedy that. The only thing that I knew going in is that they’re not quite the gore fests they’re sold as, at least not at first, and that the sequels do a bunch of world building or something. Also some of them are good maybe?

I’m going into this optimistically, but I might just be walking into a trap that spells my doom.

Let’s find out. These are just going to be my off the top of my head impressions as I go through the 7 Saw movies one by one. (A review for Jigsaw will come separately.)

Saw

What a great opening, right off the bat this movie is great. Overall it feels like a mix between a play and weirdo 90s filmmaking (I’m aware it came out in 2004). I appreciate James Wan’s desire to experiment but this does clearly lack the polish of his later work (also the budget). The speed up effect holds up the worst. 

Despite being a dying man Jigsaw sure is an Assassin’s Creed Protagonist.

This is a movie of very strong conceits. The strongest part of the movie is the stuff in the sealed room.

Best line: “I don’t give a crap if you covered yourself in peanut butter and had a 15 hooker gangbang.”

This movie is a little hoaky. I feel like these ideas could have been handled better if the movie had been a little more straightforward and less over dramatic about its twists. Basically I think this could have been a great Hitchcock movie if Hitchcock had made it. It’s much more of a thriller than a horror film.

Why isn’t Saw: The Stage Play a thing?

Oh man, or Saw the musical!?

Saw II

Immediately this is a worse movie. The opening scene is a pointless “Yea we’re Saw motherfuckers look at this gross eye shit!” statement which cuts to domestic drama I don’t care about. This is now CSI: Saw. 

Why isn’t there a Saw TV show?

Jigsaw is a pretty good Villain. Even here where I’m way less invested overall he’s good.  Although there are diminishing returns to having him onscreen. And the fact that these cops don’t immediately start kicking the shit out of Jigsaw at this point is hard to believe.

The thing I’m really sick of is people saying he hasn’t actually killed anyone. Get over your own hype Saw movies! This is some Batman Begins “I don’t have to save you” bullshit.

This movie has a lot more screaming than the first movie and I’m not happy about it. We have entered the realm of me sitting around waiting for these assholes to die. I just don’t think they’re worth all this trouble.

This is two for two with cops being idiots in these movies. Just the worst.

I think my biggest problem with this series is its insistence on explaining itself.

Saw III

Oh, picking up right where the last movie left off huh? This would probably have meant more if I cared about that last movie more.

CSI: Saw continues.

Here are my deepest thoughts about Saw: Fucking white people need to learn to just run for it.

Maaaaan… Why is Jigsaw still alive though? I actually take back what I said about him being a good villain. There’s a good idea there, but they overdid it with him. It’s part of my fundamental problem with the series: its need to explain and show the audience everything. 

Unreasonable characters yelling. If you’re going to kill annoying characters I’d rather just have a slasher villain kill them. These death puzzles are only worth it to me if I care about the characters and I do not.

I care about characters who overcome hardship, or at least give every effort to do so. This is mostly characters succumbing to bullshit. 

This is one of those things where I’d like it more if it were better or if it were dumber. 

And OMG do I so not care about seeing set up for the first movie this literally ads nothing! 

Also these movies have been pretty bad at depicting pain. The weird editing has carried forward which is a big part of it.

Man, I thought I would enjoy these movies more. I’m honestly bummed out you guys.

Saw IV

Oh hey, Jigsaw’s dick. Neat, I guess.

If he comes back from the dead I swear to god…

Is there a prize inside him?

Alright Saw IV… Let’s. Get. Dumb.

Please? No? More of the same? Ok.

This series is more like lore porn than anything. Backstory Porn, whatever.

“Do you know anything about the Chinese zodiac?” 

Actually, y’know what this series kinda reminds me of: Lost. This series kinda reminds me of Lost in that that series was also obsessed with backstory. Just without a polar bear, or golf, or time travel and bunch of other stuff. God Lost was weird.

I wish this were weird.

Saw V

Few movies series are as committed to continuity as this one. Even comic book movies don’t care this much.

I just wish it were as dedicated to Jigsaw’s gimmick. Or characters.

I feel like I’d find it more admirable if it didn’t just feel like TV; like how some British shows will do just a couple episodes a year. It’s novel, but not novel enough for me to overlook its flaws.

At this point I’ve at least settled into the groove of accepting these movies for what they are and not what I wish they were.

“Hair trigger” Wow, hahaha what a silly joke.

“Instantly rehabilitated,” except when they’re not. 

“It can never be personal” Except when it’s super personal.

This group of victims is less shouty and more practical, I like them. Of the sequels this is easily my favorite so far. I still find the editing really annoying though.

Saw VI

Wait is this about the Umbrella corporation?

I’m just sick of Jigsaw’s bullshit. Though that may be because I’ve watched around eight hours of it in a short span. And I really do mean his specific bullshit, I could watch murder death puzzles forever frankly, never tired of those.

This motherfucker’s been dead for 3 movies and he still won’t go away.

Ooooooohhh health insurance companies are bad! Thanks Saw VI I never would have known had Jigsaw not pointed it out. 

I miss Saw V.

Saw: The Final Chapter

So continuity conscious for 7 movies, it’s actually impressive. I can see how this would have been really great for someone who cared more.

This series needs that “Time to play the game!” stinger.

“Let’s get this over with.” Amen.

So I guess this is the sexy Saw movie. I don’t think we needed that. Really putting that double budget to good use eh guys? Now it’s produced just enough to look tacky instead of cheap and gritty.

This feels like a soap opera that keeps getting interrupted by deathtraps. I wish it felt the other way around at least.

“Crazy.”

That fishhook thing is the only one of these traps in the whole series that made me even a little uncomfortable. Incase you were wondering how dead inside I am.

I wanna see the guy who just doesn’t try. So much of these movies are people trying and failing and getting fucked up anyway. I just want that one seemingly apathetic charter who makes it through fine somehow.

Man, I wish the cops in the first movie had shot first.

Must. Kill. Every. Character. Final means final dammit. Until it doesn’t.

This movie does get the coveted Burning/Barrel for having a burning barrel. 

I wish this series had stayed pure and just been people trapped in that same first room over and over as the bodies piled up and more people being revealed to have actually been in the room the whole time. Basically the Saw series should have been more like Trapped in the Closet.

The original film is the easy standout for me, and then Saw V ended up my favorite of the honestly samey feeling sequels. Honestly The Final Chapter is probably my third favorite, despite its problems, just because of the very brief return of Cary Elwes. Then IV, VI, II, III I guess but at that point I’m splitting hairs.

Welp, those were my initial thoughts on the Saw franchise. You can find my Jigsaw thoughts here.

Thank you for your time.