|1.||The Saw Franchise|
A series of suspenseful films that are currently at five total with a sixth installment coming out around Halloween of 2009, started by James Wan and Leigh Wannel. Arguably one of the most misunderstood series ever. The series focuses on a man named John Kramer, who becomes better known as "Jigsaw". After his wife has a miscarriage at the hands of a drug addict and he is later diagnosed with cancer, Jigsaw puts people in traps where they must harm themselves somehow to escape, hoping that by doing so he will teach them the value of life. It has been questioned whether or not the audience should relate to Jigsaw or see him as the villain, because the films show so much of his character that we can relate to his pain and his loss.
But these are the films:
A bottom feeder named Adam (Leigh Wanel) and an unfaithful doctor named Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) wake up in a room chained to pipes, and left with tapes made by Jigsaw instructing them on what to do. There is a dead body in the middle of the room with a gun. Dr. Gordon's aim in this game is to kill Adam by 6:00, or his family will die. Flashbacks reveal that Jigsaw had a few victims that were mainly investigated by a detective named David Tapp (played by the legendary Danny Glover) and his partner. One night, when Tapp and his partner find Jigsaw's lair, his partner is killed and Tapp is later discharged from the police force after having a breakdown. Dr. Gordon finds that Adam has been spying on him, and that Adam knows that Dr. Gordon has been cheating on his wife, because Det. Tapp (who was suspicious of Gordon when Jigsaw tried to frame him) hired him to do so. He also finds that an intern at his hospital, Zep, is holding his family hostage, and assumes Zep is the one in charge all along. When time runs out, Dr. Gordon's family escapes, but Dr. Gordon takes one of the hacksaws and cuts his foot off, in order to get the gun from the dead body and shoot Adam, he does so, and when Zep arrives, Adam bashes Zep's face with a tiolet lid. Dr. Gordon crawls away, and Adam finds a tape revealing that Zep was a pawn, and then the twist: the dead body gets up from the floor and reveals himself as Jigsaw, then leaves Adam in the room.
Saw II (2005):
A new detective named Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) tracks down Jigsaw with a SWAT Team, but finds that his son is on a monitor in Jigsaw's lair, in a house with several other people, one of them being someone from the first one named Amanda (Shawnee Smith), who all have individual traps to get antidotes for the house which is filled with nerve gas, which will kill them in two hours. Matthews interrogates Jigsaw, trying to get him to tell him where the house is, until more people in the house die (as visible on the monitor), so Matthews beats up Jigsaw and forces him to take him to the house. However, it is revealed the footage on the monitors is not live, and that Matthews's son was in a safe right next to where Jigsaw and Matthews were talking the whole time, and that if he'd waited two hours and been patient, he'd have found his son right there. When Matthews finds the house and leaves a beaten-to-a-pulp Jigsaw in the car, he is knocked out and chained up in the same room from Saw I, and Amanda reveals herself as Jigsaw's protege.
Saw III (2006):
A depressed, angry man named Jeff whose son was hit by a car three years earlier finds himself in a warehouse, with instructions left by Jigsaw telling him he will come face-to-face with the man responsible for the loss of his child. Meanwhile, Amanda and Jigsaw are in the same warehouse, holding a doctor named Lynn Denlon hostage, telling her to keep Jigsaw alive (he is on his death bed) long enough for Jeff to complete his test. If Jigsaw dies before then, a collar around Lynn's neck will blow her head up. Amanda begins to resent Lynn, and meanwhile Jeff has a chance to forgive and save a woman who did nothing and ran away the day his son was killed. She is held nude in an ice room, with cold water spraying on her, and Jeff can choose to let her die or forgive her and get the key and save her. He waits too long and she freezes to death. After that, he has a chance to forgive and save the judge who let his son's killer go, as he is in the bottom of a silo being drowned in pig guts. In order to get the key and save him, Jeff will need to burn his son's belongings that he's clung to for so long. He chooses to in time and saves the judge. Next is the son's actual killer, on a crucifix that will twist his limbs and lastly his head if Jeff does not forgive him and retrieve the key. But Jeff risks injuring or killing himself, as the key is in a case tied to shotgun. THe shotgun goes off and kills the judge, right as Jeff tries to save his son's killer, but he acts too late. Meanwhile, Amanda becomes angry at Lynn and hols her hostage with John, even though Jeff has completed his test. Jigsaw tells Amanda not to kill Lynn because of what will happen if she does. Jeff comes into this part of the warehouse, right as Amanda shoots Lynn, and Jeff shoots Amanda in the neck with a gun he found in the hall. Jigsaw reveals that Jeff and Lynn were husband and wife, and that he knew if Amanda killer her, Jeff would come in and shoot Amanda. Jigsaw also reveals that he was testing Amanda the entire time, to see if she would keep Lynn alive (because Amanda was a closeted murderer). She didn't, though, and Jeff shot her in the neck. Jeff then has a choice in whether or not to kill Jigsaw, which he chooses to, thereby making his heart rate monitor stop and triggering the detector on Lynn's collar. Jeff was supposed to learn to forgive, bcause Jigsaw was Jeff's final test of forgiveness. On top of that, Jigsaw was the one truly responsible for the loss of Jeff's child, because he's the only one who knows where Jeff's daughter is. Therefore, Jeff totally srewed himself.
Saw IV (2007):
It starts with an autopsy scene of Jigsaw's dead body, where a tape is found in his stomach explaining that it's not over. Officer Rigg becomes obsessed with finding Eric Matthews, even though his friend Det. Hoffman tells him to let it go. Two FBI agents, Perez and Strahm, show up to find a possible new apprentice of Jigsaw. Later that night, Rigg is knocked out and given a tape by somebody, and the tape shows that Det. Hoffman and Det. MAtthews are being held hostage. Rigg goes through several tests with other people, including a female pimp, a rapist and an abused wife. In each test, they must save themselves somehow, and Rigg learns that the one holding Matthews and Hoffman hostage is Jigsaw's old business partner and lawyer Art Blank. Meanwhile, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez interogate Jigsaw's ex, Jill, and find out that Jill lost her baby because of a drug addict at her clinic named Cecil, who was Jigsaw's first test/victim. When Perez is killed by an exploding doll left in a building, Strahm finds the warehouse where Det. Hoffman and Matthews are being held hostage. Rigg has found the place, too. As Rigg and Strahm are in the warehouse, Rigg finds the room where Art Blank is holding Hoffman and Matthews, and rushes in--but there's the twist. When he opens the door, two blocks of ice crush Matthews's head, and water rushed down to where Hoffman is tied up with a bunch of electrical wires. Rigg kills Art after being shot by Matthews, and finds that he was supposed to let go, and NOT come through the door, in order to TRULY save his friends, which is why Matthews had a gun to shoot at him so that he didn't come through the door. Meanwhile, Strahm goes through the warehouse and goes into a room where he finds Jeff, right after he killed Jigsaw and Amanda--because Saw III and Saw IV take place at the same time. Seeing he has a gun, Strahm kills Jeff. Meanwhile, Hoffman unleashes himself after Rigg has begun bleeding to death on the floor, and reveals he was in charge of the whole shindig, and that HE is the new apprentice. He then locks Strahm in Jigsaw's sickroom and leaves the factory, showing that the autopsy happened AFTER all this.
Saw V (2008):
Not much happens in this one. Strahm escapes the warehouse, after Hoffman got out, and begins to suspect Hoffman. Meanwhile, a trap with five people much like that of Saw II happens, while Strahm looks into the records and finds that Hoffman's sister was killed by a man who was a Jigsaw victim. Flashbacks reveal that Hoffman killed the man and made it look like a Jigsaw trap, but Jigsaw confronted him and blackmailed him into being his apprentice. Only two people get out of the group-of-five trap, and Strahm is set framed by Hoffman as being the new Jigsaw apprentice, instead of the other way around. Strahm finds a room with a coffin, and he is confronted and gets into a brief throwdown with Hoffman, locking him inside the coffin. But Hoffman, inside the coffin, goes down beneath the floor, while the walls crush Strahm, and the FBI is still after Strahm after Hoffman framed him.
Saw VI comes out in October of 2009. The films are usually wrongly classified as torture porn, by people who have no idea what the hell they're talking about. It truly is a great series, although it frequently gets lots of ridiculous criticism about there being too many. There are only five right now, and, yes, six is coming out in October along with a videogame. The actors who played Jigsaw and Hoffman, AND Amanda will return in it, and Cary Elws has been rumored but mainly wished for by fans who want Dr. Gordon back.
It's been classified as horror, but it has more story and though and character than lots of "horror" today, and the films all have a message about cherishing your life. Only people who look for something to bitch about call it torture porn. Saw III, for example, is considered extremely violent, but it is also an emotionally powerful film about forgiveness, the acceptance of loss and redemption.
It is truly a series that, despite its haters, will go down in history as one of the greatest series ever, right up there with Star Wars.
Someone whose never seen a single Saw film: the Saw franchise is torture porn made for psychoes with violence fetishes!
Someone whose seen every film to date: The Saw franchise is pure genius!