01 October, 2004

See Saw

Movie poster for SawI certainly hope you appreciate the life that you're given.

Wow. Saw. What is it? Horror. Yeah. Psychological thriller? Definitely. Disney-style musical? Nope. Buddy-cop actionfest? Well, a tiny bit.

The hard part about reviewing a movie like this is that you don't want to give anything away. Most of the time, you see a trailer for a movie, and you've got the gist of the movie. Usually, you've also seen the best parts summed up in two-three minutes.

When I saw the trailer for Saw in front of Resident Evil: Apocalypse, I got none of that. In fact, I wasn't especially drawn into the movie from what I saw. "Yeah, it looks interesting, but I can't imagine paying full price to see it." Matinee material, definitely. (And seeing it for free was just gravy.)

All I knew going into the movie was that Cary Elwes and some other guy (Leigh Whannell) are trapped in a room, each with shackles around one of their ankles. And then something to do with the eponymous saw. So you can see my doubts. "How can they pull of 90+ minutes of that?"

Extremely well, it turns out. 100 minutes after the start of the movie, I was in awe. A scary movie that actually scared me. It didn't rely on gore. It didn't rely on cheesy clichés. It got into my head. It felt oppressive. Most of the film is focused on this tiny room, and after awhile, I could feel the four walls around me. That mildly claustrophobic feeling I got when I watched Cube.

Some of the influences I noticed: Mad Max (the saw bit, naturally); Poltergeist; Chucky; Cube; Se7en; Blue Velvet; and some of the earlier Nine Inch Nails videos. Particularly Closer (with it's sepia-toned, mysteries of the trans-mundane action), but also the single-room aspect of Help Me I'm In Hell and Happiness in Slavery. Probably other stuff I'm not cultured enough to notice.

All in all, I give it 4 out of 5 objects of your choice.

(Please note: definitely not for children, or the faint of heart.)

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