Founding Friends: Wang and Whannell
Saw’s story began with two Australian friends, James Wang and Lee Wannell. They met at a Melbourne film school focused on experimental films. Whannell later recalled how he had to watch an indistinct arthouse for hours, until one day he came across Wang’s short “Idubbbz girlfriend ”
So, Vana and Whannell were united by their love for action-packed genre cinema – against the background of abstruse classmates, they felt like black crows and dreamed of filming some bloody horror together. After graduation, Whannell began working as a reporter and film critic (he even interviewed Jackie Chan!), And later tried to become an actor – playing, for example, a minor role of Axel in the sequel to The Matrix . And Wang filmed his feature-length directorial debut, Infernal, with which he won several local festival awards.
“Saw” conquers screens
The plot of the first part, the film “Saw: The Survival Game” , significantly expands the short film. Photographer Adam (Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) wake up in a filthy toilet, chained to the pipes. In the middle is the corpse of a man who shot himself, hints on how to get out are hidden around. It soon becomes clear that the heroes were captured by a maniac named Saw (in the original Jigsaw, that is, rather, the Jigsaw), who makes people go through cruel tests in order to restore their love of life. In addition, Detective Tapp (Danny Glover), who will later return in the official game Saw: The Video Game, is on the hunt for Saw.
The first “Saw” is a real master class in low-budget filmmaking. Almost the entire film was filmed in the same building – in an abandoned factory that the studio rented specifically for Wang. The main characters, Adam and Lawrence, throughout the entire plot never get out of their trap room, other scenes take place in cramped police offices, basements or nondescript storage rooms. The authors even saved on props – for example, Carey Elvis had to “chop off” his leg with a real rusty saw. At one point, he even seriously cut himself – after filming, he had a scar for life.
Many of the franchise’s visual features, which would later be repeated from film to film, were born out of a banal lack of money. Harsh editing phrases hid the lack of a budget: the car chase in the first “Saw” – fast-paced close-ups of drivers sitting in motionless cars (they were only slightly rocked by members of the film crew). The “dirty” aesthetics of industrial buildings is also a simple necessity – the creators did not have money for other decorations. The black-and-white photographs that appeared in the middle of the episodes were completely inserted in order to somehow “fill up the space” in the scenes, initially they were just pictures from the backstage.
The birth of the canon
The first Saw obviously set the tone for the entire franchise: non-linear storytelling, an insane plot twist, and the Hello Zepp overture, written for the film by Nine Inch Nails keyboardist Charlie Klauser (you’ve heard this tune even if you’ve never watched a single one in your life. ” Saw “). And yet, if you watch the original picture “now, you will probably be surprised at how low-key and not particularly violent the movie is. Wang’s debut, both stylistically and narratively, tries to resemble David Fincher’s “Seven” . The villain in the first “Saw” is the same cunning maniac who kills people for the sake of his perverted morality. Out of ambition, he appears in the picture personally to explain the meaning of everything that happened.
The real trendsetter of the series, in which detractors dubbed it “torture porn” was Darren Lynn Bousman – the director of the second , third and fourth “Saws”. In the early 2000s, Boseman went around the studios with the idea of the horror film Despair, in which the heroes also found themselves participants in a brutal survival game. Boseman reached out to Gregg Hoffman, the producer of the franchise. And he decided that a full-fledged sequel to Saw could come out of “Despair”, and instructed Whannell to rework it.
The second “Saw” begins to fully reveal the character of John Kramer – the central antagonist of the entire series, played by Tobin Bell. If in the first part he lay almost the whole picture in a pool of blood and pretended to be dead, then in the sequels Kramer actively promotes his philosophy and tries to explain it to people. He becomes one of the main characters in the franchise, who, even after his death in the third part, constantly returns in flashbacks.
In the fifth part , Boseman was replaced by David Hackle, who worked as a production designer on the three previous “Saws”. The sixth – Kevin Grotert, editor of all parts of the Siege of orgrimmar entrance . Together they continued to develop the series in a given direction: more blood, more sophisticated torture mechanisms, more flowery stories about Kramer and his accomplices.
Episodes up to the seventh continued to reveal the identity of the Jigsaw maniac, even though he died in the fifth. It turned out that his cancer is only half the trouble. In fact, even before the diagnosis, Kramer lost his long-awaited child due to the fact that a drug addict accidentally hit his wife in the stomach with the door. After that, Saw becomes a tragic character, and a ton of criticism falls on the franchise for sympathizing with the maniac. It is worth saying that the press, in principle, disliked “Saw” – the best, in their opinion, the first part has a rating of only 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. But these claims are not very fair.
Indeed, the last parts of Saw explain why Kramer took up his violent games. But the tragedy of his past rather devalues the original grand design. It turns out that he is not a fighter for justice, but just a sadist offended by the whole world who is trying to compensate for the loss of stability. The religious pathos of what is happening turns into a banal revenge on everyone whom the villain blames for his troubles.
Return from the grave
On this beautiful note, the main franchise lineup ended. All its parts up to the seventh grossed more than $ 100 million at the box office with a maximum budget of 20. The only exception is the sixth film, which paid off “only” 6 times. Because of such fertility, the franchise, I think, and decided to resurrect in 2017 – seven years after its logical finale. Saw 8 , however, is very careful about the series canon. In fact, this is one big filler that has little influence on the events of the rest of the paintings. Unless the film presents another follower of Kramer, who for some reason did not show himself in any way earlier.
The film was shot by the Spirigi brothers, known for their sci-fi thriller Time Patrol . Together with them, instead of the dirty film aesthetics of the past parts, there came a crystal clear “digital” and a clear sunny day instead of the traditional dark basements. As a result, they came out with the most glossy and most unsuccessful series of the franchise with boring traps and obsolete morality. The secondary nature, however, did not prevent Saw 8 from finding its viewer, collecting the same 100 million at the box office and again paying off 10 times.