Venom (2018)

This film has polarised opinion. Critics seem to hate it, audiences seem to like it. I’m awkward so I’m split between the two. It wasn’t the worst film ever, but it was nowhere near as good as it should have been. It’s a venom movie with Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed in it, this should be one of the best films of the year. It should be a game-changer for comic book movies; one that shows the darkness that comic books have in them sometimes. It should be like Logan mixed with a David Cronenberg movie. It should fuck you up as an audience member. It should kick-start a new wave of horror comic book movies (Spawn etc). But nope, it’s incredibly formulaic. Everything in it has been done before, it brings nothing to the table. To be honest it feels like a film that was killed in post-production; dodgy effects, weird pacing, great performances feeling wasted on characters who aren’t in it enough etc. Two performances, in particular, felt wasted: Jenny Slate, and Melora Walters. Jenny Slate gets more material but still feels vastly underused as a performer and a character. That goes triple for Melora Walters, who gives a great performance in a character who you could do SO much with, but the film only gives her about two scenes. Tom Hardy is great in it though, as is Riz Ahmed. I mean, Tom Hardy is always great, even if he was in an awful film, he’d make it worth watching. Sadly the CGI isn’t as good as his performance. A lot of it is kind of ropey, the MRI scene stands out as something that really needed a lot more work. As did the script.

When a trailer for this launched earlier on in the year it received a lot of laughter for the line “your body will roll down the street like a turd in the wind”. Defenders of the film pointed out that that it was a trailer, so that didn’t necessarily mean it was going to be in the final film, and when the studio see the reception that line gets, it will be deleted. Nope, it’s in the film. In the closing scene, so that’s how this film leaves you; with one of the most laughable lines of the year. Thing is, it is alongside a scene of him biting someone’s head off, so tonally that scene alone is a complete mess. Actually, that’s the case with the whole film; it has no idea what film it wants to be. Whether it wants to be a lighthearted comedy, or a serious and dark film. To be honest, a lot of it feels like it’s from the early 2000’s or late 90’s. The weird tone, the goofy nature of it, the fact they made a “sexy venom” scene, the CGI-laden final fight where you can’t really tell what’s going on.

It does do some things that should be applauded though. When it’s funny, it’s very funny. And the relationship between Brock and Venom is fun. Actually, the whole film is a fun watch. It will find a new life on netflix or something like that. But I can’t imagine many people going out and buying it on release day. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t pay to get in, if I only saw a few movies a year, and paid to see this one, I’d be mad and consider it a waste of money. As it is, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

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Halloween (2018)

Before I start this review I should state: I’ve never seen a Halloween film. Well that’s a lie, I might have seen the first one, but when I was like 10 so I wasn’t really paying attention to it. As such my knowledge of the film series is stuff I absorb through pop-culture osmosis. So I know a little bit (He’s called Michael Myers, the third one is unconnected to the rest of the series and was originally meant to be the second one, THAT music etc), but not enough that I feel emotionally connected to. Despite that; I still REALLY enjoyed this. It seems to ignore all but the first one, and is all the better for it. You don’t need to have watched a lot of films to get this, as long as you know the basics of the character you should be fine, actually considering how well scripted this is I don’t even think you’ll need that. It does a great job of bringing you up to speed, explaining what’s haunting certain characters.

The script for this is actually really good, the kills are simple. He doesn’t go around doing elaborate traps, he just kills them the simplest possible way. There’s one scene in particular which is a masterclass of horror film-making, it’s just him walking through houses, massacring the inhabitants. There’s one moment during this where I knew the film had me; where he’s in the house with a baby still in its seat, and I panicked for it, I panicked for the fictional character. There’s usually child immunity in horror films, it’s like an unwritten rule; children in horror movies are safe. This is not the case in this; Michael Myers kills a child. Not the baby, but one of the first deaths in the movie is a child so he can take his dads car. If I remember correctly it’s the first death we actually see as well. It’s a great way of saying that all the usual horror tropes are off, so anything goes.

The downsides of this film; there’s one death which is kind of embarrassing to watch. It’s where Michael Myers stamps on someone’s head, it looks incredibly fake and is almost comical. It breaks the tension completely and takes you out of the moment. There are also issues with the characters. The ones who survive are fine, it’s the ones who die that you don’t really care for. There are some characters with promise who then die before they get to fulfil that promise. And there is a twist which is completely unnecessary and stops mattering after a few minutes, it seems like it is only there because it was the only way they could think of to move the plot from one moment to the next. Luckily the moment that builds up to is superb. The final setpiece of this film is amazing to see. Incredibly tense, great character work, and it subverts a lot of what you know from the original film, recreating scenes from it but with the roles reversed. This is all accompanied by a FANTASTIC soundtrack, with an obvious debt to the original music, but updated to a modern sensibility.

So yeah, I loved this movie. It was tense, gripping, superbly made, and just all-round fantastic. And Jamie Lee Curtis gives the performance of a lifetime, reclaiming her crown as the queen of horror.

The House With A Clock In Its Walls (2018)

Those who know me know that I absolutely adore the Goosebumps movie from a few years ago. It was like a horror movie for kids and was absolutely delightful. This is kind of similar, in that it has Jack Black in and has an air of horror about it. It’s not QUITE as fun though. It has some good moments in it, and it does inspire some genuine laughs. But not enough. It does help that it’s directed by Eli Roth, who has a critically and fan-acclaimed history when it comes to horror movies. This film is the work of someone who knows what they’re doing, but is toning it down slightly for the younger audience. This is definitely a film for kids, it is a slight horror but it has that warm feeling that you associate with films from the 80’s like ET etc. There’s an air of warm nostalgia to the whole thing that will warm the hearts of fans of those films. It’s incredibly, I don’t know, cosy.

The script, as well, is pretty damn good. It’s funny without being insulting to the intelligence of adults watching. That’s in terms of humour anyway, there are quite a few moments where the characters think of an idea long after the audience have. These are supposed to be highly intelligent and trained wizards, yet it takes them A LONG time to come to certain conclusions and ideas. That only happens like once or twice but it’s enough to take you out of it. A lot of my issues with this are incredibly minor, this is a hard film to actively dislike. The biggest problems for me were some toilet humour that doesn’t really suit the tone of the film, and Jack Black’s performance was a bit over the top at the times, it might have improved it if he toned it down about 2%. He does have fantastic chemistry with his co-stars though, so that makes up for it. You genuinely feel that they really bonded on set and became close. Which considering the themes of closeness in the movie, makes sense.

Just because it’s a difficult film to dislike, does not mean it’s an easy film to love. It is an easy film to like, though. It just doesn’t really do much to make you remember it for years to come. The final third almost manages it, with a chaotically fast-paced piece that is logical and weird. The whole film is weird, which makes sense as that’s the message of the film: weird is good, embrace the weirdness. Also; bullies are dickholes.

Searching (2018)

I have a love/hate relationship with “gimmick” films. You know what I mean, the kind where the biggest sell of it isn’t the plot or actors, but the way they made the film. When they’re done well, like Buried (one person in a casket for the entire film), they’re a great piece of film-making, but they have to be great, because if they’re only okay (Unsane), then the fact it’s a gimmick-heavy film works makes it seem worse. The gimmick of this film; it takes place entirely on computer screens. This has been done before; with Unfriended, which considering I now call that “Unfriended. A.k.a, fuck that film” should show how highly I regarded that film, and my expectations for this.

Glad to say I was surprised. This film was good, very good. The worry about doing a story like this is if the audience figures out the ending too soon, if they get to it a long time before the character does, the character looks like an idiot. It’s not just the ending, if the audience comes up with an action that the main character didn’t consider, it can sour the film (as I’ll go into in more depth when I review The House With A Clock In Its Walls, where the characters get to an idea WELL after the audience does). That kind of action makes you feel the film is treating the audience like idiots. This doesn’t treat you like an idiot, but it will make you feel like one. There are multiple times where you’ll think “it’s definitely this person who kidnapped her, definitely, EVIL! EVIL!” and you feel smart for figuring it out, then it turns out you’re wrong. The final twist for this is perfect, as it answers a lot of questions you didn’t even realise had been asked. It enhances the rest of the film as opposed to negating it, and it’s set up so beautifully you’ll immediately want to watch the film again. It’s one of the few films this year where I was genuinely on the edge of my seat for the entire thing (although that might also be because the very nature of the film means everything is in focus all the time, so you lean in to become actively involved so you pay attention to everything). It’s really hard to pick a stand-out moment from this; the entire thing was just brilliant. Even the opening montage was so skillfully done you can’t fault it. It was a 5-minute long summary of a girl growing up viewed through a camera lens; incredibly heartwarming and really pushes the idea of the family, which is what essentially this film is about. It’s about how people hide their full self from family, for fear of disappointing, or being judged. It also says a lot about the human condition; when the news breaks about the girl’s disappearance, a lot of people on Twitter accuse the dad, saying he definitely murdered her. He reads these because of course, he does. It’s a sharp reminder that the words you say as a faceless being on the web, are being read by real people, so don’t be a dick. This leads to a great moment of catharsis where he finds someone who was saying things like that, and just punches him in the face. It’s remarkably therapeutic to watch. There’s also a deliciously dark moment where a company responds to the news coverage of her missing by e-mailing him saying “We do live webcasts of funerals” hoping to use it for publicity. It’s so evil, yet so recognisably true of how a business would react to that. It’s kind of hard to watch because of how accurate it portrays the way people and businesses respond online to tragedy.

This review has been a bit all over the place I know, but that’s because it’s hard to focus on one thing. It does SO much right, and I can’t wait to see it again. It’s so good *spoilers* even the happy ending doesn’t feel forced or tacked on. Some films are so good they inspire you to make similar films, this film is so good it will kind of make you want to give up as you know you will never touch it. It’s apt that I reviewed this after finishing the Saw series, because that series could learn a lot from this about how to craft a decent mystery.

See-Saw Day Eight (Jigsaw)

Director: The Spierig Brothers

Budget: $10million

Box Office: $103million

  • And here we are. The final one. Described by the company as a “return to form” which is their way of admitting the last few were shit.
  • Open on a really weird shot of a police light taken through a rolled-up set of those spikes police put down to stop cars. Unique shot and I kind of dig it.
  • A guy has a bomb in his hand which will go off unless a detective Halloran is there.
  • Halloran turns up, the guy ends up getting shot in the stomach and kill shim, which starts off a new game. We know this because the character says “the game is starting”. Why are people who are dying in films so unhelpful and vague?
  • People wake up with buckets on their head chained to a wall. Chains pull them towards a spinning blade. The game here is; if they cut themselves on the blade, no matter how little, the blade will stop. They all do it except for one guy who is passed out, but I’m sure he’ll never be referenced again.
  • “i hope for our sake this is a game, because games can be won”. Tell that to Battletoads on the SNES.
  • A woman jogs under a bridge, turns around and realises there’s a body hanging from the bridge.
  • “Think it’s Kramer?” “hope not, he’s been dead for 10 years”. Two things: I know Jigsaws real name was John Kramer. But you can’t say Kramer and not expect me to think of this:

Kramers-Concern-seinfeld-23155294-500-376.png

  • Secondly: what’s the timeline for these movies? Because it’s been about 10 years since the film where Jigsaw died was released, but I thought all the other films happened pretty soon after that one?
  • Logan, the morgue guy knows the guy investigating it, who tells him “sorry about Christine”. So this guys wife is dead? That will definitely come back later.
  • Wait, Logan was attacked by the Taliban in Fallujah? That’s racist. Oh you need me to explain? Ok, here goes: Fallujah is in Iraq, the Taliban don’t operate there, they operate in Afghanistan. This would be like saying a gang from California are operating in South Dakota.
  • Well whoever the new Jigsaw is, he has finally upgraded to digital, leaving an SD card in the body this time.
  • The people with the chains round their neck all have to admit their sins. The chains have stopped being attached to the wall and are now attached to the ceiling. I wonder how this will end up.
  • This is aimed at a specific person, someone who stole a purse from someone who then died because the purse contained medication which led to the person dying. There’s three needles in the room, one has an antidote to poison, one has saline solution, and one has acid, one needs to be injected into her or they all die by strangulation from the chains rising up the ceiling. What would have happened if she died in the first room? This game would be unwinnable.
  • All three end up injected in her neck, so she dies from the acid, but at least she’s not poisoned.
  • Ryan, (for some reason I thought he was called Mitch, and Mitch was called Ryan) tried to go through a door labelled “no exit”. This ends badly and his feet go through the floor, ending up entangled in razor wire that starts tightening.
  • The other two (Mitch and Anna) go into a silo, the door locks, and grain starts filling the silo. This on its own I would like, it’s slow, methodical, but unique. But then it kind of ruins it by dropping blades down into them as well. Yes, that’s more gruesome, but it’s not unique to me. For them to escape, Ryan has to pull a handle, severing his own leg.
  • The woman doing the autopsies (Eleanor) turns out to be a massive fan of Jigsaw. I thought this would go somewhere but nah.
  • Now we find out why Mitch is there, he sold someone a motorbike with faulty brakes which led to them dying. The tape there is specifically for him, so again I have to ask; what would have happened if he died in the first room? Or in the silo? This film only works because the characters act in the way they need to for the script to develop. If any of the characters do anything else other than what the script tells them to, this plan would fall apart. I mean, what if Mitch got his leg chopped off and died?
  • The kid who died on the bike; Jigsaws nephew. He ends up being lowered into a thing I can’t really describe; it’s like a spiral blade that gets thinner towards the end. He needs to reach through the middle of it as it’s spinning and stop the brake.
  • “Stop it, I don’t wanna die” I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.
  • He dies. But Bohemian Rhapsody is a great song.
  • Okay now Eleanor being a fan is making sense. The cops are suspecting her and Logan are murdering people.
  • Logan said that Halloran is framing him. He proves this by taking the bullet out of the guy who got shot earlier, saying the bullet is one that only Halloran uses. To me, this means it’s definitely not Halloran. As this film series doesn’t plant clues like that, it doesn’t like doing things which are simple. It likes the twist ending which means you can’t trust anything you see, which means you have a real trust issue as you assume no “clues” are actually worthwhile. That’s the issue with these, they try so hard to be intricate and clever they end up being kind of stupid.
  • Jigsaw unveils himself (not like that) in front of Anna. Thereby proving that this film (or at least the main test section) takes place in the past, because we know he’s DEFINITELY dead and a twin brother hasn’t even been hinted at.
  • More proof “what are you doing John?”, Anna says, not “Holy fuck it’s a zombie”.
  • We now find out why Ryan is being tested. He was being a drunken dickhead, which caused his friends car to crash, killing three people.
  • Anna saying “I didn’t do anything, you know me” which is a stupid thing to say. She knows what she did, so the fact he knows her means he knows what she did. It turns out Anna’s husband didn’t suffocate their baby by rolling onto it. Instead she suffocated it with a pillow to stop it crying. He got arrested, went mad, and committed suicide.
  • The final trap; a shotgun which John describes as their “key to freedom”. Anna grabs it and tries to shoot Ryan, but it fires backwards and kills her. And turns out Jigsaw meant it literally, there were keys to their chains in the gun, which are now ruined due to the gunshot.
  • Halloran and Logan have woken up with laser cutters around their necks, buttons on the desk in front of them start up the lasers and they have to confess. Halloran presses the one on Logans side, setting Logan’s trap off, because he’s a dick. Logan confesses he was the one who messed up Jigsaws diagnosis which mean his cancer wasn’t diagnosed in time. Logan “dies”. Halloran now, he admits he’s locked innocent people away and taken bribes so guilty people stay safe. Halloran notices the roof above him was destroyed by lasers, but the one above Logan wasn’t. Surprise surprise Logan rises and turns out to have been faking it. Who isn’t surprised?
  • Turns out Logan was the first guy, the one who passed out in the first room. The barn game took place 10 years ago. Halloran is responsible for Logan’s wife dying. He put people in identical tests this year to recreate the one from 10 years ago (and we didn’t see this one, because why would we want to see new things when we can see old things?)
  • This “explaining the film we just saw” (hah, “saw”) thing has taken far far too long, and still doesn’t explain some characters motives.
  • Wait, that’s it? Okay that’s odd. It has made zero references to the previous films really. On the plus side that means it stands alone. On the downside it means you’re kind of punished for watching the previous ones as it was a waste of time as none of it meant anything. Dr. Gordon isn’t mentioned despite being a very important character apparently. None of the cops come back. This film series has a toxic relationship with continuity. It’s either burying it underground or fucking it.

See-Saw Day Seven (Saw 3D)

Director: Kevin Greutert

Budget: $20million

Box Office: $136.1million

  • Oh boy, this film is also in 3D, that’s a sure sign of quality when it comes to horror films and is not at all a desperate attempt at dragging people to see it by promoting a gimmick.
  • This film was also known as “Saw: The Final Chapter”. Like almost every single film with that title, however, it’s not the last one.
  • We’re starting with flashbacks to the first one? Jesus HG Wells
  • Although the fact they’re doing this shows that the one-legged doctor is back. Let’s face it; they wouldn’t focus on that scene unless something important from it was coming back. It can’t be Jigsaw, we saw his autopsy, it can’t be Adam, we saw him die in the third one too, so that leaves only Dr. Gordon.
  • Yup, we see a one-legged person crawling.
  • And now I have Linkin Park in my head.
  • Ah man he looks rough, love the make-up they do on him, makes him look awful, in a good way.
  • Fun fact; this film was once shown accidentally at the cinema instead of Megamind.
  • Now onto a trap, two people are chained to a table with buzzsaws on it. In a shop window. How on earth did this get set up? And why have people only just noticed? I mean, we see people stop and stare, but we also see people who are walking away from it so obviously walked past it before the film started. Would it have been too much to ask for a curtain to be involved? Not exactly a complex problem.
  • All these people are standing there, none of them try to break down the glass.
  • Now a curtain comes down, a woman is tied to the ceiling, in basically her underwear.
  • Now the reason; she’s been cheating one on with the other, getting them to steal stuff for her. They have to either push the saw into the other one, or kill her.
  • She goads one to kill the other, then quickly switches her allegiance when the other person starts to look like they’re winning. This works as well as can be expected for her, they decide she dies, with the fakest fake stuff that’s ever looked fake. I mean, I get they can’t actually kill people for movies (damn human rights laws) but they can make it look better than this.
  • Gee this film sure likes its flashbacks, going back to the end of the last movie now, where Hoffman escaped his bear trap.
  • Jill is at the police station but will only speak to certain people, specifically Internal Affairs, who describe her as “crazier than a sack full of cats”, is that a thing people say?
  • “You’ve got to give before you receive in this house Jill” that sounds sexual.
  • Guy called Bobby Dagan is on television talking about how he survived a Jigsaw trap and published a self-book about it. He later turns out to have been bullshitting. He tells a story about how he had to dig two hooks into his pectoral muscles and use them hoist himself up. Weird that nobody asked to see the scars to prove that. Or asked the doctors who definitely would have treated him about his rehabilitation.
  • “I found a strength I didn’t know I had, I just pulled myself up, and yanked the hooks out of my chest” and then I totally had sex with a really hot cheerleader, she’s from Canada you don’t know her.
  • Jill has a nightmare that she gets killed by being run over by a train/spike. Weirdly her dreams are in 3rd person view.
  • Dream sequences are another surefire way that you’re doing a great job with a horror movie btw.
  • I mean, I’ll allow it for Nightmare On Elm Street.
  • Chester Bennington from Linkin Park wakes up in a car-based trap. And now I’m reminded of his death and I have a sad.
  • Okay, it turns out he’s a nazi skinhead, and Jigsaw abhors racism. So to sum up; Jigsaw hates: privatized healthcare, nazi’s infidelity, and extortionate money lenders. #JeSuisJigsaw
  • Quite a complicated trap, he’s glued to a car and in 30 seconds the car he’s in will drop down, crushing one of his friends, then drive off, tearing off the arms of someone else, and will end up crashing into someone on the other side.
  • Jigsaws message btw was played on an in-car tapedeck.
  • Luckily (not for him) the glue is a bit stronger than the glue I’m used to. Otherwise he’d have been lose before he even woke up.
  • “damn you Evan, you got us into this”. Typical Nazi’s, always blaming each other for their mistakes. It’s usually the Jews though.
  • Wow, some of the stuff in this looks REALLY fake. The skin peeling off his back looks plastic, the head being crushed is really hard to look at and NOT know it’s fake, you can OBVIOUSLY tell the person who got his limbs taken off is a mannequin. It’s like they just didn’t care, there’s no dedication to their craft in this and it means they end up looking laughable.
  • A Jigsaw survivors group. I like this as an idea, it makes it seem real. You know what I don’t like? The marketing for this film. The poster showed a statue of Jigsaw being made, suggesting a cult-like following for him or that a lot of people were starting to agree with his methods and make their own piss-poor versions of his traps. THAT would have been a great film, would be like Death Note mixed with The Dark Knight and would have been AMAZING!
  • This survivor was in a trap with her abusive husband. They were both left hanging above a series of blades and had to kick the other one down into them. Yes, it’s a lovely story about how an abusive husband got his just desserts, but what if he won? He’d have learned that violence is the answer to escape things and got more abusive towards people.
  • “this is my lovely wife Joyce”. I like when people say that as it seems like they’re about to follow it with “and this is my awful wife”.
  • Dr. Gordon is definitely still alive, he’s in the group being sarcastic to Bobby. “We appreciate being part of your promotional DVD”
  • “who’s the creepy guy with the cane? Anyone should be worried about?” Erm, surely you’d know him as being one of the main suspects?
  • The tape from the car crash still works, kinda. Enough to piece together what it says, and amazingly he rewound it back to the start of the message.
  • Bobby has been kidnapped and is now in a trap. He must be so happy that his story is finally true.
  • He’s in a cage that’s being dragged around a house, and the only reason this wouldn’t be a theme park ride in the future is if it already is one.
  • He finds his publicist, she’s tied to a chair, a fish hook is down her throat, with a key attached to the end of it. He has a minute to get it out or spikes will drive into her, killing her. The spikes will also advance if she makes a noise. So for spreading lies, she now has to stay silent. This is what the series should do, more poetic traps.
  • He gets the key out just in time but doesn’t manage to unlock the trap because he’s a character in a Saw movie so has no idea how keys work.
  • Flashback to Jigsaw meeting Bobby, because he takes this kind of thing personally.
  • The next room has his lawyer. Her eyes will be pierced unless he holds heavy weights up for a minute, but when he lifts them up blades stab into his sides. He doesn’t even lift, bro, and she dies, on her final second before escaping. Because he drops the weights and can’t be bothered to pick them up again. There were lockers etc in there, I’m sure he could have wedged one of them under.
  • His friend is in the next room. Blindfolded with a noose around his neck, above a hole in the floor with random planks of wood over it. Again, it’s a timed challenge, and again, he doesn’t move until the tape stops playing. Because that wouldn’t be fair play?
  • Bobby gets the key and tries to throw it to his blindfolded friend, this goes about as well as can be expected.
  • Flashback again, this time to a time that Hoffman saved the IA guys life, by getting a homeless guy to drop his weapon, and then shooting him in the back when he’s unarmed. Hoffman got reported for brutality and ended up getting promoted.
  • Next room; his wife is in another room and to get to her he has to unlock the door between them. The code for the door is etched on his teeth, FINALLY utilising the motif from the second or third poster. Only 4 or 5 films too late.
  • He manages it, although it’s a bit weird the numbers were etched on his roots, as that wouldn’t be possible without either removing the teeth or cutting through the gums.
  • Now he’s in the trap that he lied about being in. So he has to dig hooks into his pectoral muscles and hoist himself up. He could, of course, just put the hooks in his clothes. and the hooks are big enough for him to put his feet into so he could rest his feet on the dip in the hook. As it is he digs the hook into himself and is surprised to find that it’s actually quite painful.
  • IA guy finds Hoffmans lab, where it turns out he’s been watching them the whole time and has swapped himself for one of the bodies from the earlier test to get himself into the coronors office. And then a machine gun kills them all.
  • Hoffman walks around and massacres everyone at the morgue, as the SWAT team are gassed. Yeah, this is not a GREAT way to cover your mistakes as it now means you’re kind of a terrorist.
  • Hoffman finds Jill and shoots the guard protecting her. But it’s fine as the guard was actually an alien, I mean, the film doesn’t say he is, but his blood is almost pink so do you have another explanation?
  • Bobby nearly reaches the top and unhooks the trap, but his skin rips and he plummets to the floor.
  • As such his wife is locked into a kind of brazen bull device, which is engulfed with flames. Yeah, that’ll teach her not to……..believe her husband when he lies to her. Yet again this films kills people to teach others a lesson. It kills innocent people to teach guilty people the value of life.
  • Oh but it’s okay, he’s super sad about it.
  • Hoffman puts the bear trap on Jills face. And for the first time in this series it actually works. But because it’s this film, it looks fake as shit.
  • Seriously, it’s the same director as the last film, and the budget was twice as big this time. So why the sudden drop in blood quality?
  • Hoffman burns everything and leaves the building. Only to be apprehended by three people in pigs masks. One of which is Dr. Gordon, who after being annoyed that he was accused of being Jigsaw in the first movie, became Jigsaw after it. This reveal that he was in on it the entire time actually makes sense, it explains how all the delicate medical procedures were done. This series can’t be subtle about it though, and decides to show us him performing the surgeries. Because we can’t be trusted to come to any conclusion on our own.
  • That being said this film doesn’t explain who the other two people in pig masks are. It’s explained in the commentary that they were the two people from the trap at the start of this movie. But it’s never explained or even hinted at. So we’re left with the “who are they” unanswered, and the purpose of the first trap isn’t explained either. This film alternates between holding our hands too much, and tying us in a sack, expecting us to be able to swim when we hit the water. It’s incredibly frustrating.
  • So that’s it for now. Tomorrow will be Jigsaw, the least terrible of the sequels I think

See-Saw Day Six (Saw VI)

Director: Kevin Greutert

Budget: $11million

Box Office: $68million

  • The sixth film in the series. Let’s see what new things this brings to the table.
  • Two people have woken up in a strange room with no idea how they got there. How new, fresh, inspired and never been done before in this series.
  • They’re money lenders, well, loan sharks to be more precise. They lend money then ask for extortionate amounts back. Kind of like Wonga did. Actually I doubt they’re worse than Wonga. That company was literally evil. They would quickly lend you money, but at an almost 6,000% yearly interest rate. Then when people couldn’t pay them back (which considering the nature of their business and their advertising being aimed at people who are out of work or in severe financial hardships, was pretty likely) they would phone them and say that them being in debt could lead to them being fired from their job. They would then send letters from fake law firms to them demanding payment. The (I repeat) FAKE law firm charges were then added onto the debt, increasing it even more. The company executives then would store their profits offshore so they didn’t have to pay tax. So, that company can go fuck themselves with a cactus wrapped in barbed wire. Anyway, back to the film. These two are now in competition; whichever one can cut the most flesh off themselves (in terms of weight, not size etc) gets to live. I have criticised this series a lot, but I do like this trap, mainly because of the poetic nature of it. They’re literally asked to pay their pound of flesh.
  • The fat guy shows his advantage by slicing his fat off his stomach, which considering the other person is a skinny woman, seems like cheating somewhat.
  • She realises this and chops her arm off, she wins, let’s celebrate, come on, give her a hand. Oops, this is awkward.
  • Was there any way to check they weren’t cheating by like throwing their shoe onto the scales instead?
  • We see the end of the last movie. Surprisingly Strahm DIDN’T survive being crushed into a small cube. I know, shocking right?
  • A guy in an office can’t make dinner. And the look the woman sitting opposite him gives definitely makes me think they’re fucking, and on the (presumably) wifes birthday.
  • Oh, it’s possible he’s just a dickhead. He runs a health insurance company which denied healthcare to someone with cancer, because AMERICA! The only country where you’ll get shot at a school, then bankrupted when they take the bullet out.
  • I realise that last comment might seem insensitive considering there was a school shooting today in America. To that I respond with this; if I waited to publish then on a day with no school shootings I might never get a chance. At the moment it seems the most likely way the American government will stop school shootings is by destroying all schools so they don’t have to pay for education.
  • Wow, there’s a group of people in this, their entire job is to find reasons to deny people health coverage. Imagine that being your job. You get money by ensuring sick people don’t get the treatment they need. You couldn’t pay me to do that job.
  • Hoffman is at the crime scene of the dead fat guy.
  • Oh it turns out Perez didn’t die. You know Perez, she was in it very briefly 2 movies ago and didn’t really do much.
  • Hoffman meets the one-armed girl and seems annoyed she doesn’t seem to have learned anything. She doesn’t even give him applause.
  • More Jigsaw. Because despite being dead for a long time, he’s still the most compelling character, and the writers know this.
  • The dickhole character from earlier (William) is walking around his office late at night where he shoots a suspicious character who turns out to be a security guard. He is so fucked, he will lose his job, possibly get executed and his name will be spat on for generations. There’s no coming back from this.
  • Oh wait, the security guard was black. At most he’ll get a $10 dollar fine.
  • You know what the best/worst part about that joke is? It will probably always be topical.
  • He gets kidnapped and wakes up to a Jigsaw tape (how many of these did he make?)
  • He’s locked up with the janitor from his work. Every time one of them breaths, a vice tightens around their chest. The janitor is a smoker so this is deeply unfair to him. Jigsaw openly admits he is punishing that guy because he smokes. That……..does not seem fair. That’s not equal to causing people to die. Like, at all.
  • Flashback to William meeting Jigsaw and openly admitting he developed a formula for deciding who to give healthcare coverage to so he could only give it to people who aren’t likely to need it. Because again….America.
  • The next test he has to kill one of his colleagues. This is kind of weird way to test him, by killing an innocent person. I mean, it is a kind of cool way of showing the choices he is actually making day to day with his business. But it’s punishing people who had nothing to do with it. His colleagues didn’t do anything to deserve this, they’re being killed to punish someone else.
  • We now see Hoffman putting the guy on the rack from the (I think) 4th movie. The fact I don’t know says a lot. These films have no individual identity. They all run together into one mess.
  • Oh wait, Amanda is still alive, it’s the 3rd movie this is from. So to summarise, now we have a scene featuring Jigsaw, Amanda, a guy whose name I can’t remember, and Hoffman, planning a trap for Jeff. So we have a scene with 5 people involved, only one of whom is still alive. How does this advance the narrative in any way? Seriously, at times it feels like these films are mainly comprised of deleted scenes from earlier films.
  • “Did you know that in the far east people pay their doctors when they’re healthy, and don’t pay when they’re ill?” That’s…….actually kind of a better system.
  • There’s the team from earlier; the ones whose job it was to deny sick people healthcare. They’re tied to a merry-go-round and one of them will be randomly killed until all of them are dead, and to “deselect” someone from being shot he has to put a spike through his own hand when the gun is aimed at them.
  • The cops (including perez) work out that Hoffman is actually the killer, so he kills her and the other two people in the room. He then burns the room down, because he really wants to be caught.
  • We find out that it was Hoffman who put the letter that freaked out Amanda at the end of the third movie. It turns out he knew that she was also responsible for Jigsaws wife miscarrying, and unless she killed Lynn then Hoffman would tell him. I’m so glad we have closure on that plot point from THREE MOVIES AGO.
  • William makes it to the last room. Where he’s met with the two people have who have been locked in the cage (Yeah i should have mentioned them earlier, a mother and her teenage child. They haven’t really done anything relevant yet so haven’t mentioned them). Turns out they’re the family of the guy who William denied health coverage to. They have a choice whether to forgive him, or inject him with acid. They chose the second option. Meaning we have lots of flashbacks of things we’ve already seen in the film which help explain the ending for those who are stupid to understand why it’s happened.
  • Oh, Hoffman has been put in a bear trap face-hugging device by Jigsaws wife. He escapes by breaking his own hands to escape being tied down, then jamming the trap in between two REALLY conveniently placed bars in the door. But he still has half his cheek torn out.
  • And that’s how this ends. Again, with not really any closure. If he died, that would be closure. If he got caught by police….closure. This all just feels like another chapter rather than a separate story. It’s admirable how they link together but none of them past the first one stand on their own merits.

See-Saw Day Five: Saw V

Director: David Hackl

Budget: $10.8million

Box Office: $113.8million

  • We open on lightning and rain. All that’s missing is demonic chanting and it would be cliche horror opening #151
  • A guy has woken up in near darkness. FINALLY, the director of one of these films realises we might actually want to see what’s going on and shines a spotlight on him.
  • Turns out the guy is called Seth, he killed somebody and escaped a full jail sentence. He’s chained down with a pendulum slowly making it’s way down. To escape he has to put his hands in blocks and crush them. He crushes his hands, driving his brain into an agonising pit and the pendulum rises. He still can’t get up, however, and the pendulum comes down, slicing his stomach open. So it’s going to be one of THOSE films, where Hoffman uses the motifs of Jigsaw without using the concept of game theory. So in other words; he’s just a random guy who tortures people. That’s what these films have become at this point, no longer about people testing their limits and us seeing it, it’s about torture and murder.
  • Yeah, he dies.
  • And now we flashback to the fourth movie. Specifically the part of the fourth movie that took place at the ending of the third one. So Strahm finds a hidden exit and escapes. Which is something I really wish I could do at this point. He finds a tape, because Jigsaw never went digital. He’s a purist in that way, a hipster.
  • He gets abducted by someone in a pig mask and placed in a trap. You know, just like almost every other character in this series.
  • The trap is this: his head is in a box that fills with water. And to escape….well he can’t, because this isn’t the first movie, aka the only one where that mattered.
  • He manages to escape still though, well he performs a tracheoctmy,trachoctomie, he makes a hole in his throat. This works.
  • Jigsaws wife is watching his video will. It turns out he’s left her something, a box. A box, which, despite belonging to a known serial killer, hasn’t been opened by police. Even if it was locked the police could still do it. I mean, security at airports tear the lock off your bag even if you’re not a serial killer.
  • A press conference announcing Jigsaw is dead and Hoffman caught him. They announce this in respect for those who have died, which somehow includes Danny Glover. I thought he lived for some reason.
  • How do people not know Hoffman is evil? Do they not listen to him when he speaks or see his face?
  • Hoffman goes back to his office, please as punch (with his punchable face) and finds a note saying “I know who you are”.
  • We flashback again to Perez getting her face blown off, the assumption being that it killed her. The last thing she said was “Detective Hoffman”, leading to Strahm believing that Hoffman is responsible (pretty accurately). Hoffman threatens him, which is definitely the actions of an innocent man.
  • Five people wake up in a room with a collar around their neck attached to massive razor blades. The five people are a mix of different genders and races, and an English guy.
  • This trap seems like all they need to do is do nothing for 15 minutes. Finally, my time to shine.
  • “I am fucking relaxed!” the guy screams.
  • They go to discuss their sins, but never actually do it. Shame.
  • An arsonist runs off, setting off the timer for the trap. What a dick.
  • Everyone starts to run off to get their keys. None of them thinks to also break the box next to theirs to get the other keys out too. Then everybody would relax. As it is, one of them dies, a blonde girl called……blonde girl. Who is there because……reasons.
  • So the guy in the first trap of this movie killed Hoffman’s sister. Which is probably why he died.
  • Strahm goes to the building where Seth died. Luckily the building is in the exact same state; even the hole in the window is still there. If that had been knocked down and replaced with luxury flats this wouldn’t be possible.
  • So the police who found Seth’s body knew who he was, and that he’d just got out of prison, and what for. And yet still didn’t know he was connected to Hoffman until he told them? These guys suck as detectives. I mean, wouldn’t they have known that his sister was murdered and the guy had just got out of prison? I mean, it was in the news and everything.
  • “I can see where the body was through this hole in the wall, this means Hoffman must have done it and made it look like Jigsaw!”. Or……Jigsaw did it because of his sense of justice, he’s killed people for similar reasons before. The only reason you know it’s Hoffman is because of the flashbacks, and you as a character don’t see those.
  • They go through their history, sadly they do it through speaking, not singing like in Chicago.
  • Oh, the English guy is an investigative journalist, that’s how he knows things.
  • The journalist beats the drug guy with a bat. But does it before they’ve got the key. Logically he should have waited until they got the key, and then hit them and stolen the key. If you’re going to be an asshole, do it right.
  • One of the women hits the English guy from behind, letting the drug addict take his key. See, this is why you should have waited. Also, what was her motivation? The drug guy is the one who set off the trap in the first room. Also, who would you rather have with you? Who would be more useful?
  • More flashbacks. This time to Jigsaw abducting Hoffman because he’s annoyed that he stole his gimmick. “they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, I tried using that as a defence in court for identity theft. Didn’t work.
  • See this is a compelling scene, where Jigsaw is convincing Hoffman to join him. Jigsaw is definitely the best character in these movies, which is why they keep using him long after he died. Really, killing him off was a terrible idea from a narrative standpoint as it kills the story and means you need to depend a lot on flashbacks to use your most valuable asset. But the trouble with using so many flashbacks is it’s hard to use them skillfully enough to advance the current narrative.
  • Back to the test subjects. We’re now down to three. Three really underdeveloped characters because the film has felt it more important to develop a character who died 2 films ago.
  • More flashbacks! This time to before the first movie, shows them abducting the guy who died in the barbed wire thing from the first film.
  • Now we have flashbacks to the second film, showing Hoffman dragging everybody into the house. I think about 50% of this story takes place via flashbacks
  • Back to the main trap people. Three of them in a room, they have to complete an electrical circuit to open the door. They decide to throw the junkie in a bathtub and connect all the electrical bits to him so he completes the circuit. One of them then decides “fuck that”, stabs the other woman in the back of the neck and uses her instead.
  • And now the two that are left FINALLY realise that if they stopped being selfish and actually helped each other they all would have survived. Every game was meant for 5 people. So this was essentially a team-building exercise?
  • They finally find what connects them. The junkie was paid to burn down an “abandoned” building which still had people inside. The woman at the start filed a bogus report, the city planner pushed through permits after being bribed, the journalist buried the story, and the other woman who was still alive set it all in motion.
  • Strahm has followed Hoffman somewhere and knocked him into a glass cabinet. Meanwhile another cop who hasn’t really done much finds the woman who was in the trap (the guy is dead due to blood loss), and suspects Strahm, putting out an APB on him.
  • The glass casket thingy hoffman is in falls backwards into a hole in the floor, as the rest of the room rises slowly, crushing Strahm. That has to be the only time I can recall a “slow crushing room” thing actually working in a film. Thing is, he really should have killed him another way. If he just shot him he could have said “I went to arrest him and he went to shoot me so I got him first”. How’s Hoffman gonna cover this up?

See-Saw (Day Four: Saw IV)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Budget: $10million

Box Office: $139.3million

  • Fine. Let’s do this.
  • We open with an overly-long autopsy of Jigsaw. I’m going to give this film the benefit of the doubt and say this was done so we know for certain Jigsaw is dead so the audience doesn’t expect him to come back to life. No excuse for it to be quite this long though. And in quite so much detail. It’s odd, they’re playing it like it’s a scene from a horror movie. They’ve got the spooky scary music, dark lighting, and intense close-ups of body parts. But it’s not meant to be scary, it can’t be. How can it be?
  • We get the in-story reason for this now. They find a tape in his stomach. The one that he was shown to have covered in wax in the last one and eaten. They show that scene again in case you couldn’t remember it. This series has a weird approach to how it treats the audience’s memory. It replays A LOT of stuff from previous films, but also has so much where if you weren’t taking notes in previous films you wouldn’t remember who certain people were or why they matter.
  • I’m not lying about this being overly long by the way, it was five minutes long.Five minutes of someone just being cut open.
  • The tape is played, is pretty much what you expect. “my work will go on” etc.
  • Two people wake up in a room, one with his eyes gouged out, one with his mouth sewn shut. They’re chained to a machine that is gradually pulling them closer to a machine that will kill them. Who are these people? Does it even actually matter this point? Does anybody care?
  • Fight scene, and I have to say this isn’t really a fair fight, the guy with his mouth sewn shut is at zero disadvantage, you don’t need your mouth to fight really, whereas the guy with his eyes gouged out is fucked, not literally.
  • The guy with mouth sewn shut wins the fight and gets the key from the back of the other persons head. Because of course he wins. Don’t worry, you won’t see the guy from this scene again for like an hour, by that point you’d have forgotten who he was.
  • The police find Kerry from the last movie. Again, not much reason for this to be in this movie and not the last one. I actually want to see what this series would be like if it was edited into one long chronological story.
  • The police assume Jigsaw has a new accomplice.
  • There’s a book about Jigsaw, titled “John Krama aka Jigsaw. Is he the murderer the police say he his”. That’s not a typo on my end by the way, it genuinely says “he his”. Also, why would lead with his real name, then the fake? Also also, that book got published really damn quickly.
  • Daniel Rigg (who I think has been in previous Saw movies) seems to be the lead of this one. A cop who feels guilty for not being able to save people, particularly Eric Matthews (donnie whalberg from the 2nd one, who is still listed as missing). This film series has to be commended for that though; it’s done the film series equivalent of promoting from within. Most of the main characters for each film have been introduced in previous ones. It’s a great way of doing things and shows forward planning, rewards loyalty, and makes it feel less like a film and more like an actual world that exists.
  • He’s kidnapped, as a lot of people are in these films. Yeah, he’s definitely the lead. As condescending as this sounds it’s great to see a black lead in a horror movie. Especially one where his being black isn’t his main character trait. He’s not the black lead from Saw, he’s just the lead from Saw.
  • Oh, Donnie wahlberg is still alive it turns out. Barely, he’s being kept alive as the test for Daniel, who has 90 minutes to save both him and Detective Hoffman (who was in, erm, the 3rd one I think, I don’t know at this point).
  • His first test: he finds a woman in a pig mask tied to a chair, her hair tied to a machine that slowly pulls her head back. The tape tells him to let her die as it’s not his job to save her. From what I can tell her crime was being a prostitute. That does not seem worthy of death and torture. Or she might have been a pimp. Yeah that’s pretty bad.
  • He can’t find a knife to cut her hair loose so decides to deal with the problem in the most American way possible; he shoots the machine.
  • He gets the combination and saves her, but not before she gets nearly scalped and looses a lot of blood. What would have happened if her hair was fake and mainly made of extensions?
  • She grabs a knife and tries to stab him. In her defence, he was a black man with a gun, in his own house. The police have shot people for similar reason.
  • Oh that’s how she knew where to get the knife from, her tape said she had to kill him as he was going to arrest her for prostitution, so the only way for her to escape jail was to kill a cop. Obviously.
  • Wait, for him to have listened to that tape, she would have had to rewind it after listening to it?
  • Back to Donnie, who is chained to a ceiling suspended above an ice block. We flash back to the third one where he was knocked out by Amanda, because otherwise how else would we remember who he is? And we’re shown him being kept alive through tiny portions of food and an awful disgusting room. If he was on benefits the British government would describe that as “luxury”
  • Daniel goes to a disgusting motel run by an overweight guy in a white vest who owns a dog. He’s almost definitely a pervert/rapist/paedophile.
  • When he gets to the room there’s the picture of the motel owner and instructions to go to his room and do something whilst disguised with a pig mask. He’s still wearing the exact same clothes though and didn’t get the mask until he was in the motel room. So if there’s cameras all over the place as the tape said, then that would be noticed.
  • Yup he’s a rapist. We’re shown video evidence, he recorded it. I mean, I don’t care what happens to this guy, he’s a serial rapist who tried to deny it until the final moment.
  • He’s made to climb into a bed and tie himself up. Then gouge his own eyes out. He succeeds until the final part, and his limbs get torn away. Ah well.
  • Flashback to the time Daniel beat up a guy for abusing his wife and kids. Most the victims are kind of assholes so there is a cathartic quality to the deaths.
  • More flashbacks, this time to when Jigsaw was alive and his wife (oh yeah, she’s been in this movie, but her scenes have been really dull) worked at a health clinic and got robbed by a drug addict who caused her to miscarriage, causing him to become Jigsaw. Nice touch, kind of unnecessary.
  • Daniel now goes to a school where he finds the guy abused his wife and kids. They were being held together with spikes running through both them. To survive she has to pull the spikes out, she’ll live but he will die. This is weird as it’s a test for her. She seems to be being punished for being abused. We don’t need Jigsaw punishing women for being in abusive relationships, the police and courts already do this. He decides to let her save herself by giving her the key and setting off the fire alarm so that people are alerted. I don’t get what Daniel’s lesson in that was.
  • Crime scene technician there seems to be the worst ever and accidentally sets off a harpoon that kills another person at the scene. That’s not Jigsaw that did that, that’s not applying health and safety rules.
  • The cops (one of who i’ve already forgot her name) go into a room where the puppet is. They play the tape round it’s neck, obviously (seriously, why do none of the people in these movies remove the tape from the room and play it somewhere safe where more people can help solve it). The puppet explodes in her face giving her a shrapnel facial. I really wish the make-up team did a better job here, she looks fine just with stuff in her face. It’s not particularly devastating to see.
  • Just realised Donnie and Hoffman trap is being overseen by the guy who had his mouth sewn shut at the start. I haven’t mentioned that much but only because there’s not much happening there. I think Hoffman can die but not sure how. This film has WAY too much going on yet also somehow manages to have nothing happen for a lot of it.
  • Flashback to what was possibly Jigsaws first test. He kidnapped the guy who killed his unborn child and nailed him to a chair.
  • Jigsaw puts a torture device on his head, a series of knives where the drug guy has to push his head into them to unlock it. Jigsaw refers to it as a “tool”, which sounds silly, but that’s how Americans refer to guns.
  • The trap doesn’t work, mainly because the chair breaks. The guy decides that whilst he’s been heavily mutilated and lost a lot of blood, it would be a good idea to attempt to kill the guy who put him there. Jigsaw just moves out the way, causing the guy to fall into barbed wire.
  • Daniel, and another cop (Peter Strahm) end up in the same building the third one took place in. We get more flashbacks to that movie.
  • Wait, this isn’t a flashback, the entire film is. It’s taking place alongside the third one. Clever idea, but not cleverly done enough.
  • Daniel bursts through the door before he should, despite them not being any real warnings against this this is seen as a cardinal sin, it releases ice blocks which finally kill Donnie. He does this after shooting the mouth-sew guy. He shoots him again as he was reaching for his own tape recorder. Weird, a black cop shooting a white guy for reaching for something innocent. That never happens the other way around.
  • The tape tells him that “your impatience killed Donnie, if you did nothing he would have been saved. You failed”. That just seems unfair as he didn’t know what he was supposed to do. He was penalised for rules which weren’t really stated. I mean, he was told “don’t rush through a door, ever!” but that was by a cop, a long long time ago as part of a different moment.
  • And now we find that Hoffman is the real accomplice. Oh no, not Hoffman, he was so……he existed.
  • Hoffman locks Strahm in a room and I’ve gone past caring tbh. I don’t care about any of these people. There are too many twists and character turns that make zero sense and add nothing. It’s like watching late 90’s wrestling, just without the actors later killing their wife and child due to brain damage.
  • Oh, that’s the end? So to sum up the ending; one cop is locked in a room, one has been shot, one has had something blow up in their face but is still alive, one has become evil. Does that sound like the end of a movie? Or the end of a second act? NONE of these films stand on their own. I can only imagine how fucking pissed I’d have been if I saw these at cinema, having to wait a year to find out if a character died, but not really caring either way.
  • Wait, I forgot to say. Jeff died too.

Okay this film makes many many mistakes. The big one is it focuses too much on Jigsaw and his teachings. He’s an interesting character but he’s now dead and his disciples are ignoring his teachings, so as a character he is completely irrelevant to the narrative going forward. Yes, it improves the narrative of the previous movies. But Saw IV is not Saw II (despite containing a lot of the same fucking scenes), Saw IV is Saw IV, and as such it needs to focus on the characters in THIS movie instead of developing ones we know have no future development. It’s a huge logical storytelling flaw.

See-Saw: Day Three (Saw 3)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Budget: $10million

Box Office: $164.8million

  • Okay the advertising to this features lots of teeth ripped out of mouths. That shit better actually be relevant.
  • “game over”, weird start to a film.
  • This starts as the second one ends, with Donnie Wahlberg in a room in near darkness. What’s that, it’s been a year since you saw the last film and you can’t remember too much about it, and the lack of light makes it even harder to see what’s going on? Pfft.
  • Like seriously, you can see what’s lit up by a flashlight that never stays still. It would be great as a video game, but this is a film, you kind of want to see the basic layout of what’s going on.
  • Ok from what I can tell he just broke his own foot so he could get out of being chained up. Why the police didn’t follow him there I have genuinely no idea.
  • The police think they’ve found him, but nope it’s just a random guy called Troy. He had eleven chains inside him that he needed to rip out of his body before a bomb went off. You’ll notice this as being quite similar to the traps in the previous films, only turned up to 11.
  • Oh good. Seizure-inducing editing. Why do horror movies hate people with epilepsy?
  • He doesn’t make it and he explodes, then how do they know where the chains were located in his body if the body is now mushy sludge?
  • Okay something VERY clever just happened. They found the tape that was left at the scene (Jigsaw still hasn’t gone digital, hipster). One of the other cops called Mark Hoffman immediately went and grabbed it. Now in a future film he’s revealed as working for Jigsaw (as seemingly everybody in this series does. You either die a hero or live long enough to be a…..okay that’s too much Batman for me).
  • Detective Kerry is caught in a trap, she can’t get out, she can’t believe a word you say. I had to say something here, she’s in 3 films and barely made an impression. That’s an issue with this series as a whole actually, with the exception of Jigsaw himself, none of the other characters are memorable enough. It’s not enough to have a good villain, a horror series needs a great hero too. Nightmare On Elm Street has Nancy, Halloween has Laurie Strode, the Scream movies have Sidney Prescott. If you want to you can do a Child’s Play and not use the hero eventually, but you need to do enough with them before doing so. This doesn’t have that, it tries to provide different “heroes” every film. But there’s nothing to them.
  • Kerry dies, but before she does she says “you” to someone we don’t see as the face is in darkness. The body looks like Amanda from the last two movies, and we already know Amanda is an accomplice of Jigsaw. So why is this being treated as if it will come as a surprise to the audience when it’s finally revealed near the end?
  • Amanda has been setting these traps but making them impossible to survive. Jigsaw disapproves. Yet somehow it’s still his voice on all the tapes presented to the victims.
  • Here’s a doctor, helping people. She’s going to be kidnapped.
  • And there it is, being abducted by Amanda from the last movie. Bought to jigsaw who is clearly in bad health, that’s probably from the cancer. She got abducted from the hospital where she works. Because hospitals are well known for being easy for people to sneak into without people seeing them.
  • “who are you?” asks a character who then says she knows who he is.
  • They force a weird necklace on her neck which will explode if Jigsaw dies. Very Battle-Royale.
  • So the main character is a dude named Jeff who has a dead child, and is very annoyed about that. He’s still mourning his son, so Jigsaw has kidnapped him, like a shitty therapist.
  • Jeff walks into a freezer and finds a naked woman. He also finds a tape recorder telling him the woman was a witness to the hit and run that killed his son, but she didn’t testify, she’ll be sprayed with freezing water until she dies. This is where the film falls apart for me and shows the difference between a great plot, and a great script. Firstly; why did she have to be naked? Once clothes are soaked in freezing water they won’t exactly keep her warm, if anything it will make her colder and will stick to her body causing her more pain. Is it because “booooooobs”? I fear it is. Because even when a woman dies, she has to be sexy, damnit! Now my next point, and the most important one. Why does the tape explain who she is? He knows, he obviously knows. If he’s been obsessing over this court case he obviously knows her, so why does the tape say it? It’s just for the benefit of the audience. It’s the horror equivalent of a character saying “as your sister who you haven’t spoken to properly in a while because of an argument we had years ago” (which I swear is pretty close to actual dialogue I’ve heard in a film). Jeff tries to save her but fails and she dies anyway. I mean you could argue that because she drove away he didn’t know who she was. But then how did Jigsaw find out who she was?
  • And we’re back to Amanda and the Doctor (not the doctor from the first one, this one’s a lady doctor, so she automatically gets hate mail from lonely nerds, her name is Lynn). Her and Amanda are having tense moments, Amanda teases her in a way that would be a lot better if it was a more charismatic character. Telling her about the way she could kill her but it would be pointless as she’s going to die anyway.
  • Amanda: “you’ll be surprised what tools can save a life” then she picks up the torture device she was locked in. Symbolism! Really, really, really unsubtle symbolism.
  • We get another flashback, this time to Amanda being put in the trap. I’m genuinely interested whether all this stuff was filmed at the same time as the first one, or whether they just re-recorded/recreated a lot of it. If they did it all at the start I’m impressed at their forward planning.
  • Now back to *checks notes* Jeff. In his next room: the judge who sentenced the driver that killed Jeff’s son. He’s at a bottom of a vat slowly being covered in liquidised pig bodies. The only way to get the key is to burn his sons belongings. This REALLY should be better than it is. It should be full of emotion and despair, but it’s not. I don’t know whether it’s the acting, the fact it’s shot like a standard horror movie, or the music being completely wrong, but it just rings hollow. You don’t feel the gravity of what’s happening. He does it, and saves the judge’s life. This is the other reason this film doesn’t really work for me, he should have tried to save everybody. He should have gradually come round to the idea of saving people. So there’s not really any “will he attempt to save them or will he not?” as we’ve already seen that he will. It completely robs it of any dramatic tension.
  • And back to the doctors office. Lynn is planning to relieve the tension on Jigsaws head by drilling into his skull. Pretty disgusting but again, it could be better. You see it happen but you don’t feel it. You don’t wince when she cuts it with it a saw, or anything. Compare that to the arm severing scene from 127 hours. You FELT that. When he went through the nerves in his arm, it was uncomfortable to watch as you felt how much it hurt. You don’t get that in this. The only editing tricks they use are the typical “quick cuts and bright lights” they’ve used throughout these movies.
  • And now more flashbacks back to Amanda surviving the first test. Jigsaw points out that the old Amanda is a completely different person and she needs to devote herself to him now. Incredibly creepy the idea that he can have a cult of followers. Never really touched upon though. I mean, yeah, he has a lot of followers it turns out, but never really feels like a cult.
  • We see Amanda abducting Adam from the first movie. I hope you remember the first movie, because if not then a lot of this film will mean absolutely nothing to you. MAJOR problem with these films actually; absolutely none of them stand up on their own. Every film feels incomplete somehow.
  • Oh, we’re seeing the entire preparation for the room in the first movie. Because that’s what this horror movie needed; flashbacks of people moving stuff. It adds to the first movie yes, but it adds NOTHING to this movie. If you take that entire section out it would take nothing away from the narrative, all we discovered from it was “Amanda helped Jigsaw with the room”.
  • A bit with Lynn, and then BACK TO THE FLASHBACKS. This film is attempting three narratives at once, and none of them are working. Amanda kills Adam, I think. It was mostly dark.
  • We’re back with the (I think) main story of Jeff. The judge is alongside him, and seems remarkably well-composed considering. Actually, they both seem really clean considering. Jeff triggers the next trap by kicking something, I think he kicked the door open. A guy (the one who killed Jeff’s son) is tied in what is essentially an iron crucifix. It slowly twists, breaking the guys limbs, but doesn’t start until the end of another recorded message on tape.
  • The judge is smart, he looks at the key to the machine and tries to figure out what to do. Jeff wastes the entire time just staring at the kid being tortured. This is one where time is of the essence, so now he’s realised he’s wasted all that time just standing there when he should have been doing something, and now with a definite time limit, he monologues. Jeff’s a dick.
  • The key activates a shotgun, killing the judge. That entire trap could have been avoided if they pulled the key out and got out the way. Or if they hooked it with a coat-hanger.
  • The trap twists the guys head, killing him, but after Jeff got the key. If he hadn’t dicked about he definitely would have managed to save him, it’s the same for the first trap too.
  • Lynn calls Jigsaw a murderer. His response “I despise murderers”. Really? So you don’t count “rigging 5 shotguns so it kills a police officer when he triggers it” murder? You can’t claim manslaughter as you knew what would happen, and you know what it would cause, and it’s five fucking shotguns.
  • Jigsaw covers a tape in wax, and Amanda freaks out over a letter. Why did either of these things happen? You won’t find out. Not in this movie anyway.
  • More flashbacks! Amanda killed Donnie Whalberg. This scene doesn’t belong in the third saw movie, at least not near the end. It’s not part of the narrative of this film, it’s the narrative of the second one. Yes, it’s about Amanda, who a lot of the narrative of this has been about, but it’s the conclusion to his arc, so it’s more his. He dies because he taunted Amanda by saying “you’re not Jigsaw, bitch”. Which, I can’t explain why, but is just a shockingly bad piece of dialogue. This scene went on way too long, and was so badly lit it was kind of hard to see what was going on.
  • Okay and now we’re back to Lynn etc. Amanda has a kind of monologue about how Lynn isn’t shit, and she’s better and still needs help. She cries, emotes, but…..nothing. The performance just doesn’t work. It’s first-year drama student level of “emoting”.
  • Amanda manages to shoot Lynn. You knew it was going to happen, and you knew Lynn was Jeff’s wife. I think it was supposed to be a twist but the whole “Lynn and Jeff are a couple” was really obvious. The only surprising part is that Amanda shot her without looking at her. Of course, Jeff sees this and shoots Amanda. She lives long enough to hear Jigsaw monologue his motivations to her for a few minutes in a scene which again isn’t needed as we kind of guessed everything he said. More to the point; how did Amanda not realise Lynn was Jeff’s wife? She didn’t realise they shared the same last name? Or look at ANY photos in their home?
  • Just realised Jigsaw uses tapes a lot. Is he buying hundreds of tape players in bulk?
  • Jigsaw makes a reference to Jeff’s daughter, making it obvious she’s been kidnapped.
  • Jeff goes to his wife’s side. She’s in pain but doesn’t seem to make it clear to him that if Jigsaw dies, she dies too. Which would be pretty useful information considering that Jeff then slices Jigsaw’s throat, with a saw, possibly a jigsaw, I’m not that well versed on my saw types. Okay, I get that her voice is wavering due to the blood loss, but she could hit something metal against something else to get Jeff’s attention.
  • Oh, this is the twist. Jigsaw plays a tape as he dies indicating that he’s kidnapped his daughter (was that a twist? It was pretty obvious really). And now he’s dead nobody else will know where Jeff’s daughter is. So, Jigsaw essentially killed a child here. Will she be saved? Find out in another movie! Because god knows this film can’t be allowed to close it’s own stories.
  • And so yeah that’s that over. The main villain of the franchise is dead. So I’m sure they’ll be no more sequels. I mean, it would be stupid for them to do more, right?
  • One final point; why did so much of the promotional material depend on ripped out teeth when there was NOTHING like that in the film?