See-Saw: Day One (Saw)

It’s that time of year again. The time of year where I actually get compliments on my face, mainly because people think it’s a Halloween mask. Like a creepy art student when they see a woman in a coffee shop, the day draws ever closer, creeping slowly until we’re glad it’s over. So we’re going to live-blog another horror series. Was considering doing The Omen, or maybe Halloween, but I came to a decision. After chuckling at Chucky, guffawing at Ghostface, and flipping off Freddy, it’s time to jerk off Jigsaw. It’s the Saw series. We start with the first one, because…..because it’s the first one. This really shouldn’t be this complicated.

Director: James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring, Furious 7, Aquaman)

Budget: $1.2million

Box Office: $103million

  • I actually like the credits to this. The font etc they use brings to mind a dodgy 80’s VHS video nasty.
  • Very blue tint over everything. Hah! It’s a blue movie.
  • A guy (Adam) wakes up in a bathtub chained to a pipe and accidentally pulls the plug out, sending a key down the drain. This is actually VERY IMPORTANT, so the film decides to show how important it is by barely focusing on it at all so if you sneeze you miss it. You can’t even tell what it is until much later on.
  • Wait, how long was he underwater for? How did he not drown or something? He must have been in there a while otherwise the other guy would have been more aware of him. And why was he in the water anyway? He could have got hypothermia and died, which would ruin Jigsaws plan.
  • I like that Cary Elwes is in this (as Doctor Gordon). He really doesn’t get as much work as he should. He’s also chained to a tub in this. This entire plan rests on the two of them not being able to pick locks.
  • “what’s your name?” “My name is very fucking confused”. Look, I do love the script to this, but the dialogue is sometimes awful. Yet it thinks it’s very funny, weirdly enough most of the supposedly funny lines go to the actor who also wrote the script.
  • “that’s what they do, they take out your kidney and sell it on eBay”. You can’t sell kidneys on eBay. You have to use Amazon or craigslist.
  • “are you a surgeon or what?” It later turns out that Adam has been following Dr Gordon, so he knows he is a surgeon.
  • There’s a lot of luck in this plan. Mainly, luck that the tape in Adam’s pocket wouldn’t break when he fell onto the floor earlier. How long has Dr Gordon been awake to not notice the tape in his pocket, but also know that screaming has no purpose (and yet also somehow didn’t wake Adam up)?
  • So Jigsaw punishes people for their sins. Adams sin is that he takes photos. Bit weird.
  • The doctors’ tape says that he can only escape if he kills Adam. This would have been a lot easier if, you know, he wasn’t chained to the wall.
  • Tape players in movies are fantastic, always being rewound to the right moment.
  • Adam sticks his hand down a dirty, shitty toilet so he can help…..the person who has just been told to kill him.
  • Considering how much shit is in that toilet, the smell must be overpowering.
  • How has he never heard of the Jigsaw killer? If there was a serial killer operating near me, I would know (and be really annoyed at the competition).
  • Hey, it’s Danny Glover!
  • “he’s not really a murderer”, Nah, he is. Just because he’s leaving them to die but not actually striking the final blow himself doesn’t make it not murder. Otherwise burying someone alive wouldn’t count as murder.
  • So they think the doctor is a killer because they found his pen nearby. How did they recognise it as his? Does a doctor with no criminal record have his prints on file?
  • They’ve established it’s not him, his alibi is someone he nearly fucked. They still make him sit in on a survivor interview, because…..erm, so he can tell the story at this point in the film?
  • Flashback within a flashback. That’s too many flashbacks. This is the first really iconic one, the reverse bear trap. It’s put on someone’s face and when the time runs out it opens, ripping their jaw open. Sexy. To unlock it he has to get the key out of someone’s stomach who is supposedly dead. He’s not, however, he just can’t move. Not sure why the detail about him supposedly being dead is in it. He’s her former drug dealer so it would have made more sense if she had to do it whilst knowing he was alive. Would have been more thematically pleasing and a harder choice for her. She’s actually pleased this happened as it helped her get off drugs. Not entirely sure how, as surely trauma would make someone MORE likely to do drugs. And now we’re back in the bathroom.
  • “you have something I don’t, information” That’s not exactly his fault. If you’re not aware of a serial killer in your own town, that’s on you.
  • “this is the most fun I’ve had without lubricant”. Okay then.
  • Dr Gordon continues work instead of checking his daughter’s room to let her know there are no monsters there. This is supposed to show him as a work-obsessed monster. But he just finishes the paragraph and then goes to check the room. And stays with her, singing songs to her until she’s okay. He did exactly what he should do. He’s doing a job which he can’t really abandon, it’s an important job which he needs.
  • This film is essentially a live-action version of Condemned. That game was freaky. And had more pigeon-collecting than most games.
  • About 50% of Danny Glover’s dialogue is the word “asshole”
  • Actually, love the way detective Sing dies in this. Tripwire setting of shotguns. It’s simple but effective, is the mark of someone who is just starting to set up traps. Although this kind of goes against Jigsaw’s modus operandi to kill people who deserve it, he’s killing a lot of cops.
  • They’ve found a box containing a phone and cigarettes. The phone isn’t useful though as it was only meant to receive calls, not make them. Which is kind of bullshit tbh, because all phones can dial the emergency services in case of….you know…emergency.
  • And now another flashback. This film deserves credit for the main action taking place in one room, but it doesn’t half take liberties with flashbacks.
  • It turns out the doctor was kidnapped by a person wearing a pig mask who sneaked up on him. Why did they wear the pig mask if they were sneaking up on him? All it would have taken is someone seeing them and shouting out “oi, piggy”.
  • “my last girlfriend, a feminist vegan punk broke up with me because she thought I was too angry”. Love that line.
  • The make-up on this is on point. Doctor Gordon looks emotionally distraught and near death.
  • The lights go off so the camera can’t see them, and they start to whisper to discuss their plan. Why did they turn off the lights when it was them speaking that would have given the game away? He could have just sneakily written something on the back of one of the many pictures and threw it over.
  • I can’t tell whether Adams “death” is bad acting or great bad acting. I’m leaning towards the latter.
  • “this thing electrocuted me” how? It doesn’t seem to be part of a circuit.
  • “The guy who paid me to stalk you, he’s a tall black guy with a scar around his neck”. And you didn’t connect this to the story the guy told earlier about the black guy who got his throat cut who was following him earlier?
  • “I don’t care if you covered yourself in peanut butter and had a 15 hooker gang-bang”. Are we sure I didn’t write this?
  • The way they set up Zepp as a red herring villain is kind of genius, to be honest.
  • Adam is just around the corner taking pictures, like a few feet away. How did Dr Gordon not notice him from that distance? He would have seen him, at the very least heard him.
  • All this computer and equipment is set up in the home of the kidnapping victim. That’s not normally how it’s done, is it?
  • And now we have the scene; the one that defines this film; Doctor Gordon sawing his leg off. I do like how brutal this bit is, but after seeing it done differently in another film, it could be done a lot better.
  • This is where it goes from being good to great; the ending. It turns out Zepp was just another player in the game, the actual Jigsaw rises up, turns out he was the body in the middle of the room. A great twist, like, nobody saw it coming. Mainly because it’s a bit strange. I mean, nobody noticed him breathing for about 6 hours? He didn’t move, defecate, or even cough in that entire time? An ageing cancer patient managed to stay perfectly still on a cold floor for that length of time? But forgetting that this is a magnificent piece of storytelling.
  • “The key is in the bathtub”. Two points: 1) the film gave no indication that was important. 2) Let’s say it didn’t go down the plughole when he emptied it. That means he’d be able to unlock his chain and escape almost instantly.
  • I do like this film more than the others, mainly because it forgoes the torture-porn the series became known for tight plotting and character work. It’s not perfect, there are a few moments which are inconsistent with character motivations etc. And the timing is a bit off at times with nothing happening for hours in-universe.

So, day one down. And that’s the best one out of the way. I can’t remember exactly when they started going downhill, but I know it happened and I’ve got that to look forward to.

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