thriller

SAW-TOBER PART 01: SAW [2004]

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Today, I am working on a new series I call “Saw-Tober“. It’s a simple premise, really, I will be reviewing each of the SAW films; one at a time. This is both in part because of my love for the films, but also because it’s October. I’ve always had a love for these films, even if they did get progressively bad with their “torture-porn” ways. So let us begin, with the infamous first film that started one of the most successful horror franchises of all time and play a game called: SAW.


SAW is not for everyone, but for those who have seen it, remembers the first time they watched it. I remember sitting in my house and watching this on our “big” – 32 inch – screen TV. I also remember being confused, and amazed by just how crazy the whole scenario was: I mean for someone my age back then, [about 14 years old] this was pretty extreme, even for someone who grew up watching “younger horror.” Of all the “real” horror films I had seen prior to this one, SAW was something different: it felt – at least to me – real.

And it was quite a revolution back in 2004. Back then, the only thing I can remember seeing is remakes of Asian horror films, like The Ring or The Grudge, but SAW was different: it was like a big breath of fresh air. Looking back with the knowledge I have about the horror genre now, I think this was a good thing – especially for the genre as a whole. Before SAW, horror was a dying genre, and without it, I don’t think the genre would have lasted as strongly as it has.

But does it hold up now? Let’s find out.

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We start off with two guys waking up in a dingy, dirty old bathroom [see above] because all good horror stories start off as a drunken trip through the backwoods of Europe. [I’m looking at you, Hostel..] Our story follows Doctor Lawrence Gordon and Adam who are chained by the ankle to pipes at opposite ends of the room and have no apparent memory of how they got there or of who the other is. Naturally, the two look around. Between them lies a man in a pool of blood; with a gun in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. As the two men begin to question the scenario they have to face, Gordon, quickly realizes that they may be the next victims of a notorious serial killer known only as Jigsaw.

For those out of the know, The Jigsaw killer never directly kills his victims. He instead places them in elaborate [and] gruesome traps that he claims gives each victim a valuable life lesson – if you can survive, you’ll appreciate your life just a little bit more than you did before. However, chances of survival are usually small, with only one victim having survived so far. Gordon talks about how he knows of Jigsaw: it turns out this is because he was once a prime suspect in the case. Thankfully, he was released after his alibi for one of the murders checked out.

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What makes SAW so great is that there is no melodramatic lead-in: it quite literally throws you straight into the middle of the story and doesn’t let go until the final frame. Most of the movie plays out in the bathroom “cell” with all the other exciting parts, other than the final act, being told through flashbacks of various characters. This can and sometimes does make SAW seem stage-like, especially in the extended edition’s opening scene, but for an unusual approach; it works well as the movie never once drags.

Surprisingly, Director James Wan handles everything really well in this debut picture. He doesn’t give anything away too soon, leaving the viewer just confused enough to stay interested without letting them know everything, even if they might think they do. And just when it looks like SAW is going down a road of clichés, it pulls a fast one and leaves you surprised! If there’s anything can be criticized, it’s Wan’s use of hyper fast-cut scenes set to hard rock music to add a sense of urgency to what is going on. These are effective, particularly during the trap sequences; but over the course of seven SAW films it became tiresome and almost overused.

In all seriousness though, SAW is is not for everyone. It can [and later does] be gruesome and extreme, but that makes up a very small part of what can otherwise be considered an interesting psychological thriller. It’s not perfect; but for what it is – and what the franchise became – it is an important piece of horror cinema that has the heart of many.

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Now I turn to You – the reader. Are You a fan of the SAW franchise? Or are they “more gore, less story” in your opinion? Let me know in a comment below, and if you enjoyed this review, and are looking for more, go and follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 150+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too!

JOIN ME TOMORROW WHEN I REVIEW MY LEAST FAVORITE OF THE SERIES: SAW II.

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

THANKS FOR READING.

 

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TRAILER THOUGHTS: The Corpse Of Anna Fritz [2015]

A few days ago, I talked about some of my favorite foreign films that deserved to be watched. [read the whole article] I talked about how they should be given a chance, since many people are the type to shy away from subtitled films; even if they are fantastic. Today, I present to you yet another foreign film: The Corpse Of Anna Fritz.

The plot of the film follows Anna Fritz, a very famous and beautiful actress, who is widely considered one of the most desired women in the world. Suddenly, she dies. Enter Pau – a shy and introverted young man who works as an orderly at the hospital where Anna Fritz was taken to. [for her autopsy, etc] Often, when the body of a woman is brought to the morgue, he can’t resist watching her. When he enters the morgue with the corpse of Anna Fritz, he decides to take a picture of her naked body and send it to his friend Ivan. Ivan and Javi are Pau’s only friends, who often visit him while he’s on shift at the hospital. One night, when they are a little drunk, Ivan decides he wants to see the naked body of Anna… and because she isn’t going anywhere.. They agree that they can’t lose this opportunity.

talk about a “touchy” topic.. I am so sorry.

The Corpse Of Anna Fritz is being made by Hèctor Hernández Vicens, and surprisingly, this film marks his directorial debut! With the film’s obvious controversial nature, it will no doubt get people talking at SXSW this year when its given it’s World Premiere on Sunday, March 15th as part of the Midnight’s lineup. When I read the plot, and I watch the trailer, I can’t help but think of the movie Deadgirl, except instead of an abandoned asylum, which Deadgirl took place in, this film seems to take place in a morgue!

As someone who works in the funeral industry, I’m not entirely sure how to take the concept of this movie. I enjoy controversial film, hell – I like somewhat fucked up films; but this one is something else. I understand, as a foreign film [Spanish], it’s bound to cross some boundaries; but I wonder how North American audiences are going to take to it: positive? negative? I’m not able to say at this point. I guess it’s just a matter of actually watching the film – just to see how it plays out. At the end of the trailer, we see that Fritz opens her eyes, so maybe she didn’t die? I just hope the trailer didn’t ruin the film entirely; I want some surprises.. Although, if you missed it and/or haven’t seen the trailer, be sure to check it out in it’s entirety below!

Of course, my real question is; how many of you are planning on seeing this controversial film? Does it catch your attention? Or does the idea of a Spanish horror film regarding necrophilia turn you away? Let me know in a comment or two on here, or even on Facebook. While you’re over there, why not hit that “like” button? By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post the moment it’s been posted; and if that’s not convincing enough, I also share things that will not be featured here on the blog, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same! Every “like” counts! Stay Weird, and as always:

THANKS FOR READING.

trailer thoughts: The Lazarus Effect [2015]

20150111-200951.jpg Every so often, there comes a time when a movie is released and you think you’re going to like it but something about it seems..off. This year’s movie in question for me is none other than: The Lazarus Effect. Now, because all that we have is the trailer, I can’t explain everything from the movie, just because it hasn’t been released yet. [the following description is based on the movie trailer] The movie takes place in modern day with a couple medical students [including, but not limited to, the lovely Olivia Wilde] who have developed something they call ‘The Lazarus Serum’ which supposedly can bring the dead back to life. It seems simple enough, but the only test-subject thus far has been a dog — which worked, but had some strange side effects. When this “dog” goes haywire, it attacks Zoe [Olivia Wilde‘s character] and effectively kills her? Not willing to accept it, Zoe‘s boyfriend [who happens to be one of the other students] insists that the Serum be used on her cause “he just can’t lose her”. It works, but something about Zoe seems different.. 20150112-093012.jpg Through-out the trailer, flashes of “John 11” keep crawling across the screen so, after assuming it’s referencing the Bible, I looked into it: as it turns out, according to the King James Version of the Bible, John 11 marks the beginning of the telling of Lazarus, a man who has died but Jesus insists will be revived — regardless of how he died. This seems to shadow the movie in that the medical students are literally “playing God“. while The Lazarus Effect sounds [and based on the trailer, looks] like a half decent film, there’s one thing about it that concerns me — it’s being produced by the same people as the Paranormal Activity films. [which I must admit, I’m not an overly huge fan of] While this is just a trailer, I may end up seeing the film; just because.. [and Olivia Wilde, let’s be honest] The Lazarus Effect is slated to be released February 27, 2015. Check out the trailer below, and tell me what you think: does it look like it’s worth checking out — or is it just waste of everybody‘s time?

THANKS FOR READING.

Challenge #1: check out “13 SINS”

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Like most horror fans, I have come to realize that there are a ton of “dark” movies on Netflix [their choice of words, not mine] and while most are either films I’ve already seen or just plain boring, I found something that could be considered a special little gem: 13 Sins. I had seen the trailer before, and was genuinely curious, but never got around to actually sitting down and watching the movie..until last night.

The film follows Elliot Brindle: a boring but likeable guy who has the worst luck imaginable— from getting fired, [while hoping for a promotion] to having hardly any income for his pregnant fiancée. [who his racist father despises] while driving home one evening, Elliot gets a weird call who offers him $1,000 to swat a fly that keeps buzzing in his car. True to the anonymous caller’s word, Elliot earns himself the money and the caller tells him if he completes just 12 more challenges [the “sins”], he will find himself to be a very rich man. The twist is though, if he accepts this “game”, he must complete each and every one of the 13 ‘sins’ or all the money he’s made up until that point will be lost.

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“I’m telling you man, 13 Sins is fucking gold!”

The film follows Elliot‘s fall from quiet guy to mad-man with every challenge. It starts off easy enough, with eating the fly, [from earlier] but they slowly change into more twisted/fucked up “challenges”; making Elliot do things like make a child cry.. or even take a [dead] man out for coffee in a small frame of time. Of course, the cops are also after him [or are they?] so there’s that to consider as well! Eventually, our anonymous caller throws a twist in, one which has been in motion since the beginning of the film—we just weren’t told until the plot made sense of it: that all this time, there’s been another “player”; and if he/she completes all 13 challenges first, Elliot will lose everything. The ending is a jaw dropper [at least for me, it actually surprised me.. while others online said they totally expected it]

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13 Sins is actually a really fun film, it’s has some great acting, [Ron Perlman even makes an appearance in the movie!] the story is beyond entertaining, and the lack of gore [very little to none] makes it somewhat more believable. By the end of the film, you wonder if there could be a sequel, since we learn that “The Game” has been going on for centuries! If you have the chance, give it a shot.. I give this a recommend; just because it’s an all around good time.

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[wanna know what happens in this specific “challenge”? watch 13 Sins to find out!]

THANKS FOR READING.