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Movie Review: Saw (2004)

December 14, 2010 5 comments

Creepy, dirty foot and hand.Summary:
Two men wake to find themselves chained on opposite sides of a worn-down, underground bathroom, the newest victims of Jigsaw.  Jigsaw doesn’t actually commit murder himself, but instead puts people into situations where they have to make horrible choices in an attempt to save their own life.  These men are told the only way out is for one of them to kill the other, and as their time limit ticks on greater amounts of information are revealed about the men’s lives and Jigsaw’s previous victims.

Review:
My very first comment as the end credits rolled was, “Holy crap, I can see why this became a franchise.”  The story is sufficiently complex to hold interest.  Jigsaw is incredibly creepy as he uses a voice distorted puppet to communicate to his victims.  Puppets are always creepy.  Bottom line.  I love the concept of a serial kidnapper/torturer doing so presumably to teach people a lesson as opposed to just really enjoying gore.

Speaking of gore, it definitely exists in the film, but the most gut-wrenching moments take place just off-screen.  Apparently this was re-edited as the original cut showed those moments on-screen, and the MPAA required the cuts for it to receive an R rating.  Personally, I think given their low budget, it works better letting the audience’s imagination fill in the worst moments.

Also, Losties will be pleased to know that Michael Emerson, aka creeptastic Ben, has a rather significant role in the film.  I loved his acting so much in Lost, and his work here is just as good.  I may have squealed a bit every time he showed up on screen.  One casting negative, though, is Cary Elwes, who plays one of the men locked in the bathroom, has the worst fake American accent ever.  He repeatedly slips in and out of it.  I have no idea why they didn’t either just let him be British or hire an American actor for the part.  Very odd.

Overall, this horror movie primarily gives viewers chills from the whole idea of such a situation far more so than gore.  If horror movies are your thing, you definitely need to give the Saw franchise a shot.  It became a franchise for a reason.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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In Response to Folks Who Didn’t Like This Week’s Episode of Lost

Spoiler Warning: If you have yet to see Lost Season 6 Episode 15 “Across the Sea” and wish to remain spoiler-free, skip this entire post!

I’ve had it.  I’m fed-up with my fellow Losties whining about this week’s episode, and I am frankly starting to doubt their mental capacities or ability to appreciate anything beyond “ooo Sawyer’s got his shirt off” or “Hah! Hurley said ‘dude’ again!”

This week we got treated to entire episode revolving around the history of the island.  We found out where Jacob and the MIB came from, as well as some other things we’ve encountered on the island previously, such as the donkey wheel and the skeletons in the cave.  After watching this episode I engaged in a lengthy, intellectually-stimulating, philosophical discussion about various aspects of not just the Lost story and mythos but in life in general.  I then awoke the next day to my fellow Losties whining on the internet and tv.  I am going to now respond to their criticisms  in turn.

  • “Omg why are they focusing on minor characters this late in the game? wahhhhh”
    If you think that Jacob and MIB are minor characters, you are a total idiot.  The entire reason Flight 815 crashed on the island is because Jacob needed a replacement.  The reason they’re still battling it out is that MIB needs to kill all the candidates to get off the island.  Let me repeat:  THE ENTIRE REASON YOUR PRECIOUS FLIGHT 815 CHARACTERS ARE ON THE ISLAND IS BECAUSE OF JACOB AND MIB.  They are not minor characters.  They are the central characters that the entire plot revolves around!  I’d be pretty pissed-off if we’d never found out anything further about them.
  • “Fine, have a Jacob/MIB episode, but it should have been earlier in the season.”
    Think about how many things you got to speculate or were surprised about because you didn’t totally understand the rivalry between Jacob/MIB or Smocke’s motivations.  The 815 folks weren’t sure what the motivations behind everything were and neither were you.  If this episode had come earlier, it would have removed all that suspense, and Lost is a show that is all about the suspense.
  • “It should have switched between this flashback and the current storyline or at least the sidewaysflash.”
    Do you seriously think that, given where we left off last week, it would have made for a smooth episode or even an enjoyable one to switch between Jacob/MIB and the current story?  We are clearly just about at epic battle in the present/sidewaysflash.  It would have been just plain awkward storytelling to switch between the two, not to mention that I’m betting a bunch of the information we found out this week is critical to the next step in the current story, and we needed to know it before they could move on.
  • “Why the hell doesn’t MIB have a name?!”
    Ok. Obviously Mother named him.  It would be insanely impossible to raise a child without a name to be able to use to call them, etc…  The writers obviously purposefully wrote hiding his name.  Clearly we aren’t supposed to know it yet.  It’s probably symbolic or at least super-important to something else, and we can’t know it yet.  Seriously, people, he has a name.  The writers are using obvious writing techniques to work around having to say it for a reason.
  • “Various whinings about typical myth elements such as the twins, sibling rivalry, and the glowing light in a particular place that needs to be protected and I signed up for a scifi show, dammit.”
    Actually, if you started in Season One Episode One, you signed up for a deserted island show, but anywho.  Science versus faith has been a core theme in Lost from part-way through Season One.  The appearance of the light doesn’t mean science has been thrown out the window.  Even the mythology that Jacob/MIB learned as kids doesn’t throw science out the window.  Humanity explains mysteries in the best way that they can with the materials that they have.  That’s why people used to explain thunder and lightning as gods fighting with each other instead of the rapid expansion of air and electrical discharge we now know caused them.  Jacob/MIB were born in a far less scientific time, and it is quite possible that Mother was just working with what she had to explain things.  While it’s obvious that there’s some super-natural stuff going on (hello, immortality), that doesn’t mean that all science is going to go poof.  It is entirely possible that the glowing light is actually some nuclear energy or some such.  Additionally, I have the distinct feeling that we’re going to be left to decide for ourselves in the end whether to believe a scientific or supernatural explanation for the island, so they need to put the backing in place for the supernatural end of it.

Really, fellow Losties, when you whine about these things, you’re just showing that you understand next to nothing about the art of storytelling and that you really just tune in week to week to ogle Kate’s boobs or Sawyer’s chest (depending on your particular sexual preference) with the occasional garnish of something blowing up.  Fine, whatever, you tuning in helped keep the show on the air for those of us who can appreciate the actual story.  However, can you please keep your confused whinings to a low roar so the rest of us can enjoy the series finale?