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The original intent at the start of this article was to recommend Hostel for those of you who enjoyed the latest installment of the Saw series, but I’m not going to do that. I venture a wager of a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger at the local Wendy’s that anyone who’s a fan of Saw has already seen Hostel and most likely formed a favorable opinion of it.
Truth be told, I hate these movies. Admittedly, I was partial to the first Saw, which exercised just a little bit of restraint in what I considered an interesting story and had that rather cool twist at the end. The sequels, however, I felt devolved into little more than the epitome of the gorno genre, creatively disgusting ways to disfigure a human body dropped into a crappy ready-made story. I still can’t fathom a reason for the success or appeal of this kind of film.
I’m not trying to piss anyone off, and I’m not trying to be condescending, but nobody who enjoys these movies seems to be able to tell me why. They openly admit that “sure, the story’s bullshit, but we don’t watch it for that” and “the acting and dialogue sucks,” but that that does not a bad movie make.
An excerpt from my review of Saw VI, the only movie that has the distinction of getting zero out of five stars on any of my personal reviews:
“...The biggest slap in the face to the audience comes with the fact that the film wants us to sympathize with Jigsaw and his grotesque revenge. These people are guilty of working a job that to some is ethically questionable, but does that really warrant being injected with hydrofluoric acid until their body literally melts in half? Lots of people think the health insurance system and the ideas behind pre-existing conditions are bogus, yes, but they don't wish endless pain and death to the employees of insurance companies like the filmmakers seem to think they do.
What's a better solution then? Maybe Jigsaw should've tortured the policies and ideas behind health insurance. Oh wait, that was Michael Moore's ‘Sicko.’"
Are we really supposed to root for the torture of these individuals? Jigsaw is not the working class hero he’s made out to be. He’s a guy who, unfortunately, got cancer, and even though he has the funds to go to Norway and pay for some radical treatment that could save his life, he gets all but hurt and decides to spend all his money on rusted spikes, and rooms made of fire, and keys that go into somebody’s stomach.
In order to prevent you from thinking I’m some sort of anti-violence/anti-sex Bible thumper (yeah, yeah I know, too late), I believe there are many great examples of dark, violent, and sexual themes, and I suppose these are what make up the true recommendations this week. David Fincher’s Se7en comes to mind, a brilliant mixture of dark film noir photography, a haunting, intelligent killer whose justifications for his heinous deeds are frighteningly well thought out, and two smart detectives, one old, one young, one cynical from life experience and the other optimistic from lack of it, searching for the perpetrator of grisly murders based on the seven deadly sins.
My current favorite example isn’t even a film but a TV show in Showtime’s Dexter, a program that explores the internal thinking of a serial killer struggling to adhere by a code of honor and fit in to everyday society. The difference between these and the ridiculed movies mentioned at the top is that these don’t exist merely to provide shock and turn their audience into savage voyeurs, eagerly anticipating the next time someone has to dig through their own guts to save themselves.
Okay, the soapbox is gone. I only share because that is how I felt regarding the only major film release this week and I believe it is my obligation to share just what I’m thinking. Feel free to discuss, criticize, contend, refute, agree, whatever in the comments below, I look forward to them.