People go apeshit over the SAW franchise. I’ve never understood why. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the first film. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t see it as the phenomenon that most people did. To be fair, I genuinely enjoyed SAW 2, 3, and 6, but I found the other films to be boring, and convoluted. Saw VII, or SAW 3D if you will, was released last Halloween. Despite my enjoyment of the 6th installment, I never bothered watching it, not even when it was released to DVD. I had just had enough, and decided I wasn’t going to invest any more of my time or money into the series. Recently the “last” installment of the franchise popped up on Netflix, so I figured what the hell. I won’t have to spend any money to see it. Since the studio is trying to trick us into believing that it’s actually the final SAW film, even going so far as to not release one this year, I figured I might as well give it a go.
What I dislike about the franchise seems to be the main component of the latest film. It seems like since the surprise success of The Sixth Sense, filmmakers feel they need to implement some sort of twist ending, even if it’s just for the sake of a twist ending. What happens is, the entire film becomes nothing more than a vehicle to get from point A to point B. The entirety the story is wrapped around this finite “gotcha” ending, that seems to have been the first aspect of the film that was put on paper. While this appears to be what other people love about the series, it strikes me as nothing more than a tactic to get people to remember your film. One of the rules of writing, or any form of story telling, is to end on a strong note. People will remember the last thing you say more often than anything that came before it. Even if it’s not a good twist, a good ending, if it’s outlandish, it’s what people will be left with. The endings in the SAW franchise, are little more than exploitation of the human brain and it’s shortcomings.
One problem I have with the series is characters, and how every seemingly unimportant character will be back in future movies, and suddenly they were part of the game all along. VII is no exception to this rule. We’re supposed to accept that a previous main character, has now been part of the killings all along. What’s even worse, is the fact that they didn’t even spend any time on this concept. We know when we see the character early on in the movie, that there’s only one reason he’s there, and then that’s all we’re given. No explanation as to why he decided to get involved, just a quick montage at the end of the film, you know, the usual ending tactic of the SAW films. If you’re going to make such a bold claim, such a dramatic twist of events, it serves you well to make sure that it makes sense in the grand scheme of things, or, at the very least, that there is writing on the wall in past films that would lead people to believe such a thing. It doesn’t have to be in your face, it just has to be logical. Well, it doesn’t HAVE to be, but it would be nice.
It seems to me that, the producers are full aware that the majority of their audience are just there to see the blood and gore, so any inconsistencies in the story will be overlooked, due to the sparkly crimson violence. I’m a horror fan, I love blood and gore just as much as anyone else, but I also love a solid, intelligent story. Don’t insult me by trying to distract me from your plot holes with flashy gore, and quick-cut editing. I’m not going to go as far as to say it’s insulting to my intelligence, but it’s definitely transparent. Filmmakers have proven in the past that it IS possible to craft an excessively gory film, and maintain an intelligent story at the same time. Anything outside of this is due to either lazy writing, lack of ability, not understanding what audiences want, or underselling the people that pay good money to see your films.
If they decide to actually end this series, was Saw VII a worthy finale? Not really. Sure, everything is tied up for the most part, but it’s done so in such a sloppy way that it’s hard to tell. Most of the major players are now dead, but I thought the same after the conclusion of Saw 4. How could they possibly continue the series, for 3 more films no less, with the main character being dead? Well, they found a way, muddled as it was, and almost every minor character in between was not only brought back, but linked to the crimes. I highly doubt this is the last Saw film. It is odd, if they do continue to make them that they’ve taken a year off, but the conspiracy theorist within me says it’s all part of the game, if you will. Saw will be back, whether it’s with another sequel, with less important characters, all somehow tied to the other films, or with a full-on remake/prequel. Whatever the case may be, we haven’t heard the last of this series. Whether or not that’s a good thing, is completely in the eyes of the beholder.