I’m not generally a huge fan of horror movies myself, and must say I’m particularly uninterested in the modern day Gorno style movies that focus more on grisly ultra-violence than tension and terror. However, that all being said, I do actually quite like James Wan’s Saw. It’s not a film I’d choose to watch over and over again but I remember the first time I saw it I found it extremely unnerving and it remained so here on my second viewing.
The plot has since been recycled repeatedly by the creators of the Saw franchise and watered down to point of self-parody, however this initial outing still holds up as an inventive and shocking horror movie. The film places two men in a stark and dilapidated old bathroom, where they are chained together and manipulated by an unseen kidnapper. In the background to all this, the mysterious Jigsaw-killer murders are shown in all their horrific glory and we see the band of cops desperately trying to hunt the perpetrator down.
The various elaborate deaths are suitably creative and horrifying and have in effect now spawned a sub-genre of their own. I reviewed the god-awful Saw 3D last year and the utter drivel on show there cemented in my mind how well done this initial outing was. The slowly rising desperation of the chained captives and the way the two threads, their imprisonment and the work of the killer in the outside world, are weaved together was an excellent concept. That final twist in the tale was also exceptionally clever and while I’m sure some bright sparks saw it coming a mile away, it genuinely shocked me the first time I saw it. I’ve only seen a smattering of gorno style horrors since seeing Saw, but for me, nothing else has come close to matching it.