Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 8: Drained)

You know you're getting old when it takes you more than one day to recover. I was feeling exhausted today, which didn't help as I was very busy in work, which didn't help that there was an unexpected shortage of staff. But I shall persevere with the SAW retrospective, and move onto the third film. Oh yes, there will be spoilers.....and I will drive that joke far into the ground by the end of this month.

Ooohhh yyyeeeaaahhh Spiderman, I wanna play a game!!!
(pat yourself on the back if you know why I picked this image)

Back then.....

*towards the ending* What? There actually setting itself up for another sequel? How is that even possible?

And now.....

It's only through repeated viewing over the years that I do start to see some flaws and contradictions in the storyline, and it does give off the impression that the writers of the sequels do make it up as they go along (for example: why was Amanda only mentioned as a possible accomplice in the fourth movie, but not at the crime scene at the beginning of the third movie).

But then again, at least they were smart enough to leave some unexplained scenes that can be open to interpretation in future installments (the letter for Amanda, the cassette tape in wax). The only problem is, some of them wouldn't have made sense at the time (such as Amanda's insistence that Lynn should die, which is not that far fetched, but seemed a little forced). I guess one of the fun things about watching the movies in sequence is just to see how the makers fit the pieces together (no pun intended).

With that aside, this is still a solid entry to the SAW series, which raises the bar on the elaborate traps, all the while bring in a human element to the film, which is helped by great performances from the cast. It gives some insight into the madness of Amanda, whether it be through cult like devotion or unrequited love for her mentor, whether it be as a father figure or something more is up for interpretation. It follows the journey of Jeff, who comes face to face with those who are connected to the death of his son, and is faced with the same dilemma; learn to forgive, or lust for revenge.

But the most intriguing focal point of the movie is the character of Jigsaw, who is now on his deathbed, while Lynn is coerced into performing brain surgery on her captor, making sure he remains alive, otherwise she will die as a result. Like the "haystack" scene in the second film, for a movie that has come up with the most gruesome torture traps for the series at the time, it's the actual brain surgery that left me the most queasy.

After the shock twist of the last movie, I was very interested to find out how Amanda got involved in Jigsaw's world, going from test subject to apprentice. We see how she helps out in his games, her questionable state of mind when it comes to her loyalty and (possibly) love for John, not to mention how she views their actions and to their victims, which turns out to be quite different from her teacher's intentions and standards. We also see how her emotions and self destructive tendencies play out to a disastrous climax.

Because this was the third movie in the series, and it's the common trend in Hollywood to wrap up a movie series by the third act, I was expecting this to follow suit. After all, it already killed off Dina Meyer, it hinted at the demise of Donnie Wahlberg (and yes, I'm too lazy to use their character's names), and it even showed the fate of Leigh Whannell (who played Adam.....see, I could do both if I wanted to).

Taking all of the above into account, and after the movie reveals how the two concurrent stories are connected, along with the result of Jeff's final test, and the fate of the two instigators of the games, it felt like the series was coming to an end. And then comes the tape recorder.

While I was expecting the message to reveal to Jeff that he failed his final, what I didn't expect, despite the fact that I've seen the previous two movies, was an actual twist. Like I said earlier, I predicted throughout the film that the series was coming to an end. So as soon as he mentioned the daughter on the tape, I just couldn't believe it. They were opening themselves up for another movie.

I didn't even know how that was possible, from a character standpoint, not to mention storywise. I couldn't imagine how Jigsaw would have been able to plan games that would take place after his demise. From a creative standpoint, I wasn't even sure if there was any guarantee that a fourth film would be made, or whether it would have the same director, writers, or cast. At the time, I even thought that the series would be going the "direct to DVD" route, where all continuity and links to the previous series would be scrapped in the process.

How wrong I was the following year.....

I still don't know if this was an actual poster for Saw 3.
But I do like the gritty, grindhouse style to it.

And on a final note.....

Hmm, I don't know, maybe I'm tired at time of writing, but it feels like it's harder to write at great length about something I enjoy or like. Or maybe I'm just hard on myself, and the above piece is sufficient enough. Besides, it's not like this is a serious movie blog that should have standards. Hell, I still don't know what to do with this blog.

But enough of my rambling, onto the closing YouTube clip. This was my second choice video for the first "Saw" blog post, but I chose the Fear Factory song instead. Even though I liked the first film, I still found this amusing, especially the opening.

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