Halloween Selects: “Saw”

Saw

Who would thought that a story that began with two men handcuffed in the basement of a warehouse would grow to be so big? The opening of Charlie Clouser‘s “Hello Zepp” theme and the grainy voice on a mini cassette tape became a horror genre staple. Still creeped out by the doll on a mini bicycle? 2004’s Saw was the birth of an explosion of “torture horror” films (Eli Roth‘s 2005 opus, Hostel comes to mind). The movie also showed Hollywood that you can get more with less. Saw grossed over $100 million dollars just on a $1.2 million dollar budget.

Saw began as the brainchild of two men in 2001 from two men who need no introduction in horror circles. James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) and Leigh Whannel (Insidious: Chapter 3, Stem) would begin their journey with this movie to reintegrate a genre that needed a jump start, especially in 2004.

Saw is not all ultra-violence, although it definitely pushes it’s “R” rating to the limit. It’s a modern mystery full of misdirection and revelations. Who is the person pulling the strings that are connecting these people together? The movie dives into both the conundrum and the allure of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). He’s a recognizable force in horror with the likes of Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. Alas, no abnormal strength and no powers in your dreams. Jigsaw’s main weapon is intellect. Do you classify him as a stone cold killer even though he’s just the indirect cause of said murders? Also, the people who are subjugated to these horrifying traps are not exactly saints themselves.

Jigsaw has this warped “angel of death” complex after finding that his mortality is on it’s last legs from cancer. Does he have the moral authority to provide his own brand of justice? The movie makes the audience question that within following every crumb to the identity of the puppet master. Only to find out, in a very “oh sh*t” moment, the answer was right under our noses the entire time. Aside from that, remember the actual traps? Amanda (Shawnee Smith) and her reverse bear head set was nightmarish, but also what she had to do to get the key.

For a time, it was our Friday the 13th and Nightmare On Elm Street in the sense that a Saw movie became a Halloween event. (There’s a new one coming out on October 27th). Saw grew with word of mouth and showed studios that you didn’t need a gaudy budget to make horror that people had a strong reaction to? If you do not think that studios picked up on this, look at the success of 2007’s Paranormal Activity and the many sequels that followed. These were practical effects that were very violent, made you wince, but had an interesting story. Saw walked the fine line between story and gory spectacle.

Photo Credit: Lionsgate Films

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Author: Murjani Rawls View all posts by
Writer | Photographer | Beast

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