Welcome to Gore Girls! MTV contributor Terri Schwartz doesn't know crap about the horror genre, and she's volunteered to be our Movies Blog guinea pig. She has a good guide too. Fellow contributor Jenni Miller is a bonafide horror enthusiast, and she's willing to walk Terri through her formative experiences with blood, guts, monsters and maniacs. Together, this dynamic duo are horror's own odd couple, THE GORE GIRLS!!! Good luck Terri... you're definitely going to need it.
"Saw" really needs very little introduction. The series has come a long way since the original hit theaters just a couple days before Halloween in 2004, but that first movie is still ingrained in the minds of anyone who saw it. Two men awaken, chained up on opposite sides of a sealed room. Between them lies a corpse with a tape deck in one hand and a handgun in the other. They soon learn that they are pawns in a deadly test put to them by a sadistic serial killer known as Jigsaw. Blood-letting ensues. See what the Gore Girls thought after the jump.
Terri: This was my first time rewatching "Saw" in a few years, and I liked it just as much as I did the first time I saw it, when it came out. It's one of the few horror movies that I've willingly gone out of my way to see. To me, it didn't have the same effect this time around. The gore didn't really bother me (surprising, I know) and knowing the ending took away from some of the suspense. But I love the idea of "Saw" enough that it didn't matter.
Jenni: To "set the mood," I turned off all the lights and got under a blanket... and fell asleep. I had to re-watch the last third. Even though I still think Cary Elwes' performance is hilarious (my friend and I actually laughed in the theater), the gore bothered me more. I've noticed this with other friends my age too. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's all the soy we eat?
Terri: I just remember that the intestines scene was the one that really bothered me first time around, but for whatever reason I barely even noticed it. What do you think about "Saw" makes it work, both when it came out and now?
Jenni: I find the torture devices -- specifically, the mouth one where she's hyperventilating -- very disturbing. The idea of someone "helping" you appreciate life through a harrowing experience is interesting. But basically I think it's a poor man's "Se7en."
Terri: "Se7en" is so good! Cary Elwes is a bad replacement for Brad Pitt. But, and we've already discussed this, we haven't seen the most recent installments. In terms of horror franchises -- and based on your knowledge of the "Friday the 13th," "Halloween" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" sequels -- why do you think "Saw" was the one film out of the past decade to have any sort of longevity?
Jenni: I haven't gone out of my way to see any others except for the second, which I liked. I mean, I liked the original "Saw" on first viewing because I like things that are just sort of ludicrous and over-the-top. But I think that they keep it somewhat different and change it up. I mean, isn't Jigsaw dead? And they come up with new devices and stuff like that. I'm not sure. I think people enjoy revisiting stories. I'm not sure that I'd qualify "Saw" as a classic though. I mean, I don't think "Jason vs. Freddy in Space" or whatever crap I sat through were classics.
Terri: For me, the best thing about re-watching "Saw" was that I completely forgot Michael
Emerson and Ken Leung were in this! The "Lost" geek inside me spent half the film comparing the world of "Saw" to the island. You'd be surprised; there are a lot of similarities with the morality and everything. Maybe that's why the gore didn't bother me; I was too busy focusing on "Lost"/"Saw" connections.
Jenni: Do you think the comparison to "Se7en" is viable, though?
Terri: Absolutely. It's the same concept of preaching appreciation for life through death. One of the things that is so interesting about Jigsaw's murders is that there is always a way for the victim to win the game. In the later movies, I remember they realize it's a different killer setting up the traps because the situations the victims were put in were inescapable. One of the lines in the first "Saw" though, when Jigsaw is talking to Amanda, is he says something like "You have a new appreciation for life." It reminds me of that scene in "Fight Club" when Brad Pitt and Edward Norton threaten to kill the convenience store owner.
Jenni: The idea of harrowing physical trauma as a trial has popped up throughout so many cultures. Coming of age rituals and such. Religious ones, like the Thaipusam festival. Even now, people go through tattoos and piercings and more "extreme" things like flesh hook hanging, and for some people, it's definitely a way to transcend the every day and appreciate life; celebrate it.
Terri: In my opinion, it's what set "Saw" apart from the other torture-horror films (we aren't at torture-porn-horror film stage yet, thank goodness) when it first came out. It wasn't killing for the sake of killing. It was preaching.
Jenni: Is it overly intellectualizing the movie to say that the audience members are going through a catharsis of their own, like by surviving the movie, they are also more appreciative of life? I think they're pretty much like, "OOoooo cool."
Terri: I would agree with that. But in terms of horror movies actually having something to say -- which I prefer -- I think "Saw" is one of the better ones.
Jenni: I think maybe the writers intended it to say something... I'm just not sure the audience sees more than cool deathtraps.
Terri: I think that's all the latest crop writers are intending now for "Saw Five... Thousand!" (Thank you obscure "Spaceballs" reference!)