The SAW movies are big fat lousy cheaters. Before I start in on why they are cheaters, it’s only fair to give full disclosure: I’m a cheater too. For the most part, I’ve been pretty good. But I cheated a couple weeks ago, and then I cheated again last weekend. It was just a little, but it still counts. Leaving the house this morning, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it again, but I knew there was a pretty good chance. I wasn’t going to hide it either. My girlfriend was right there with me and, hell, I figured she’d be cheating too. So I walked right up to that booth, asked for tickets to the JIGSAW movie, and then said, “Plus a large popcorn, large Coke, and whatever she wants.” Just like that, we broke our vows to the Keto diet, without even batting an eye. But I already knew we were going to be cheated in the theater anyway. Honestly, that’s the reason I almost didn’t even bother with this movie. Still, a cheater will take any opportunity to do it again, and I just couldn’t resist the temptation of those delicious golden kernels. A lot of people really love the SAW series, which explains why they’ve made approximately 317 of these movies. Along with the similarly gruesome HOSTEL series, they were criticized as horror’s early-2000s tendency toward torture-porn. You know, some kind of scenario is created for what seems little more than the excuse to do really terrible things to people with blades, bullets, and scalpels, that kinda thing. It’s not my favorite kind of horror, but, as Stephen King has famously said, when nothing else works you go for the gross-out. If a movie can’t haunt my thoughts for weeks with some profound (or profoundly creepy) question, then, sure, I’ll settle for one night of imagining someone’s Achilles’ tendon getting sliced. In the same way that I can’t refrain from drenching my popcorn with the yellow viscous stuff that pours from that butter nozzle, I’m helplessly drawn to films that in some way disturb me. The first SAW movie, however, mostly just pissed me off. It was a nearly perfect premise, of course. Gather a bunch of unrepentant shitheads together, then force them to acknowledge all of their bad juju. If they don’t, they die. Pretty simple, with lots of room for tension, suspense, gore, and maybe even some kind of moral lesson. Because Jigsaw really was a very moral killer. He had been wronged, and seen so much wrong in the world, and he was damn tired of it. He just wanted people to own up to their shit and finally make the right choice, no matter how painful it was. In a very bloody and twisted way, he was nothing but fair. But the damn movies didn’t play fair. Take the first one, for instance. Here is this angry but justified guy, orchestrating all of these situations, then setting up elaborate traps in which there actually are escapes, if one chooses correctly. Cool, no problem. But if you’re going to reveal someone to be the killer, you must first give the audience the chance to suspect he could be the killer. In my book, that is fair. But what do we get in that first flick, other than Tobin Bell sitting in a hospital bed somewhere in the background. No lines, not even the most miniscule of backstory, nothing. Just a dude in a gown, and then he’s suddenly the most lethal and clever killer ever. Come on, that’s bullshit. I mean, Bruce Willis ends up being dead in THE SIXTH SENSE, sure, and it was a huge surprise for most of the audience. But we were never cheated. If you go back and watch that movie again, it’s all there, just waiting for you to see it. But Jigsaw . . . no. And the rest of those movies got no better. Sure, there was an almost moment near the end of the third one, where someone comes this close to making the right choice. I imagined it going down that way, with Jigsaw smiling almost proudly just before he dies, saying, “Finally, someone actually listened to what I’ve been trying to teach you all.” But they screwed that up, killed him anyway (I think, since they all blend together now), and then kept on going with this endless deluge that should have been no more than a trilogy. Then it was all copycats and about three thousand more elaborate traps that this dying man somehow set up to run for several years after he konked off. Nope, not buying it at all. So when I started seeing ads for a new life to this braindead series, I could do nothing but mock them incessantly. “No, wait, don’t tell me, he had yet another protégé, or maybe some long lost child who’s never been mentioned. Better yet, how about a twin brother?” I suggested that the producers of this dumbass dreck be forced to participate in the kind of torture-tests that Jigsaw threw down in the last . . . oh, six movies. Even then, my fellow Keto-cheater and I looked at each other and admitted that we’d still probably end up in a darkened theater with Jigsaw one more time. The month of October just isn’t as horror-plentiful as it used to be, and the theater near our house is dirt cheap anyway. Plus there’s all that popcorn just waiting there. But son-of-a-bitch, if this movie wasn’t just as stupid as I thought it would be! It starts out alright, I suppose, considering that my expectations were low enough to qualify as subterranean. Some guy is getting chased by the cops and ends up trapped on a roof, holding what appears to be a detonator. He informs them (and all of us poor bastards in the audience) that the game has begun again. Cut to folks chained up to pulleys and waiting, whirring saws, with buckets on their heads. Cue up that one selfish douche-bag who’s gotta be in every one of these flicks, then the seemingly good girl who thinks a bit faster than everyone else. Make sure at least one of these losers gets splattered all over the walls, just to show us that the movie means business. Yeah, yeah, been there, done that, got the goddamn bloodstained t-shirt. But, as far as predictable cookie-cutter horror goes, the first half or so was passable. Like all the popcorn passing through my cheating mouth into my gullet. But then they pull a couple fast ones. I won’t spoil it for you, because – believe me – you’re already gonna be unhappy anyway. However, as you might have surmised by reading the movie poster, or from hearing his voice in the trailer, Tobin Bell is back as Jigsaw. Not going to give away how or why he appears again, as he should be nothing but freakin’ bones at this point, but he’s here . . . and it’s kinda another cheat. To be fair, as soon as he appeared, I shook my head. My date leaned over and whispered, “They just ruined it.” Because, really, how many times can someone come back from being dead? Tell me, Jason Voorhees, I’m waiting. Then the plot trickery ensued, things were maybe not as they seemed, and I just wasn’t happy with any option they were going to give me in this movie. Because here’s the thing. If you’re making a movie – even a bloody horror flick – that’s all about wanting people to play fair, then you’d better damn-well play fair with your audience. Otherwise, you’re nothing but a big huge douche-bag liar, and you’re an even bigger cheat than the douche-bag liars in your movie. I’m not asking for greatness here, but I am hoping that someone’s not just fucking with me. Were there at least a couple good kills, or maybe a really nasty trap like nothing we’ve seen before? That’s what I’m guessing some of you want to know, since that was the only thing I had even the slightest hope for as I walked into the theater. Well, there was one, where some dude gets a splitting headache from a spinning saw. Lots of blood and meat in that scene, and pretty convincing too. But, for all the visceral goodness this gives me, there was another one that just failed epically. Again, no spoilers, but it involved pretty much turning someone’s head into an octopus . . . and it was just as stupid as the rest of this totally unnecessary movie. If all of this wasn’t bad enough, the only person who really paid for their sins was me. While mercilessly gobbling all of that popcorn, I bit down on an unpopped kernel with a bad tooth at the back of my mouth. Took yet another big chunk out of it, spitting a bloody mess into my hand. I’m still in pain now from watching this movie. I’m telling you, it just isn’t fair. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.