For the last few years, I have avoided the Saw movies. The little I knew about them from previews and commercials made them look like Seven, and, frankly, I like my movies to be a little lighter than Seven. I mean, if I wanted to think, I would read a book, you know? Give me Friday the 13th part 6: Jason Lives any day. The deepest question anyone has when watching that movie is, why did Tommy throw Jason’s mask into his open grave?
Well, I recently found the first five Saw movies packaged together for $20 and just could not pass that up. At $4 a movie, I had to take the chance. Certainly, I would like something about one of them, right?
Well, let me tell you, from laughing out loud while Cary Elwes blubbered and sobbed in part one, to finding, with great delight, Betsy Russell (of Cheerleader Camp!!!!) pop up in part 3 (and 4, and 5), to recognizing, with more shock, Costas Mandylor (of Picket friggin’Fences!!!) hamming it up through sequel after sequel, I can honestly say I am a HUGE fan of this movie franchise.
I should have known that any franchise dedicated to cranking out a sequel each and every year would not fail.
But, I am getting ahead of myself.
In the first Saw, Danny Glover played the hardboiled detective searching for answers in the case of the Jigsaw murders. In part two, As Detective Matthews, the case-hardened investigator is played by former New Kids On The Block (or NKOTB) singer Donnie Wahlberg. Now, this may seem like a strange choice, but to anyone familiar with his fantastic work in the TV show Boomtown, it will not be totally surprising. He’s kind of like his brother Mark, but a lot more scowl-y. Count me as a fan.
Another welcome face is Dina Meyer, who, as Kerry, is one of the few carryover characters from the original movie. From 90210, to Johnny Mnemonic, to Bats, to Decoys 2, this woman’s credentials are impeccable (at least by Tower Farm standards). I have to admit, though, that I am beginning to find her remarkably wrinkle-free face to be a little disturbing.
Tobin Bell returns as Jigsaw. This time, he has taken his cue from the movie The Cube, as he inexplicably manages to kidnap a group of individuals (including Det. Matthews son, Daniel), allowing them to wake up in a room having no idea where they are or how they got there.
Shawnee Smith reprises the role of Amanda from Saw… a role that was about 5 minutes long in the first movie. Talk about hitting the jackpot.
I can clearly remember being in third grade at Davis Park Elementary School in Terre Haute, Indiana. The teacher handed out a piece of paper that had a long list of directions. The first one was to read all the directions before we began. From number two on, the directions were ridiculous, instructing each of us to write and color and God only remembers what else. The final direction, however, was to ignore all of the previous instructions. So, only those in the class that read the paper all the way through and did nothing actually were successful.
I can't say that I remember Jigsaw being in that class with me. But, if that teacher had included things like putting our arms into glass boxes that would slice us up if we tried to pull our arms back out again, she would have pretty much nailed the plot of the movie.
This movie also includes one of my favorite taglines ever: "Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood". Add to this the ridiculousness of having a character in the movie actually deliver that line, and we have one hell of a great sequel.