The next marathon was supposed to be Sleepaway Camp, but I can't get a hold of copies of Return to Sleepaway Camp and Sleepaway Camp 4. I already know that they pretty much suck, so I don't really want to buy them. I'll get them eventually, but until then, the Sleepaway Camp marathon is on hold. Instead, I have Saw for you, as that was the winner of the latest poll.
I am also going to start including an overall score at the end of each marathon. This is not an aggregate, just a rating of my enjoyment of the series as a whole. This rating may be wildly different from the individual movie ratings.
This first movie is pretty simple. 2 men locked in a bathroom, chained to the pipes. One a doctor, the other a photographer hired to follow said doctor around. There is also a dead man with his brains blown out in the center of the room. It seems the doc has been stepping out on his family and needs to learn a lesson. Jigsaw has his family and will kill them if he doesn’t find a way out. A twisted game then plays out involving tape recorders, glow in the dark paint, and pig heads. Turns out that Jigsaw was the guy lying dead on the floor the whole time – not actually dead. This sets a little base for which the rest of the films build upon.
Meanwhile, Donnie tracks Jigsaw down – real name John Kramer – and he is dying of cancer. John directs the cops to watch the drama from the house unfold on video screens. John tells him that if he just waits patiently, his son will be returned to him, but hot-headed Donnie Wahlberger isn’t having it. He tracks down the house and goes there, while inside, people are dying off in fucked up ways.
It is then revealed that the kid has been locked safely in the safe the whole time, and the video they were watching wasn’t live. Everything happened before they found Jigsaw. Donnie wakes up chained to a pipe in the same bathroom as the first film and it is revealed that Amanda is now helping Jigsaw, intending to take over for him after he dies.
The acting in this movie is rather bad; at least from some of the actors, but the traps are cool. The most stand out moment being when Amanda gets thrown into the pit of syringes. That part is intense. I wasn’t as blown away by this one as the first, but I still didn’t see the ending coming.
The first 3 movies stand as a very good trilogy on their own, while the next three are basically another trilogy; though they are still all connected. This film is mostly about Amanda and what she is going through, and it plays very well. The acting in this movie is far better than the previous 2, but nothing to win any awards. I’ve always loved the dynamic between Amanda and John which isn't replicated as well with other characters in further installments.
Editor’s Note: The pig gut trap is by far the series’ most disgusting. Dig it.
It feels weird to shoehorn in another accomplice for Jigsaw, but there is really no other way to continue the franchise. I like all of the back story on John Kramer. How his wife runs a clinic for the under-privileged, and how one of those people killed his unborn baby. This leads John on the path to becoming Jigsaw.
This movie, and the next two, are pretty disjointed, but they work. The traps are still awesome, and the story, though implausible, works too.
Meanwhile, Strahm is on to Hoffman. He set the unbeatable trap because that man killed his sister. Strahm chases Hoffman, eventually getting to the same place as the 5 victims were. There is a glass box and a tape that tells Strahm to get in it. He doesn’t, instead throwing Hoffman in. The box sinks into the floor, saving Hoffman while the room closes in and crushes Strahm to death.
This one doesn’t really add a whole lot to the overall plot of the series but is still entertaining. The traps are probably the most boring out of all of them, and actually feel a bit repetitive. We do get some back story on Hoffman and how he was blackmailed by Jigsaw into helping him, and that is interesting, but all in all, the movie just drags.
In flashbacks, it is revealed that Amanda was there when the junky killed John’s unborn baby, and Hoffman had been using that to blackmail her. Jigsaw’s wife, Jill, captures Hoffman and puts him in a reverse bear trap with no means of escape. She then reveals that there was another envelope with Hoffman’s name on it in the box. Somehow, he does manage to escape, though badly wounded.
This movie is paced better than the last with better traps. It doesn’t recapture the magic of the first few films, but is pretty good none-the-less.
I am glad they ended it after this movie, but part of me wishes this one didn’t exist. It isn’t really bad or anything, it is just not a great way to end a marathon.
Editor’s Note: I am blind in my right eye, so I have absolutely no input on the 3D aspects of this movie.
All Done! Later this year we are going to get an 8th movie called Jigsaw. I am looking forward to it, but I am keeping my hopes low. I'll leave the trailer down below for you guys to check out. Up next is Phantasm, so look out for that. Cheers!
Overall Series Rating:
Hey, if you like what you read here, sign up for the newsletter to get the skinny on all the new content!