151 Proof Hangover: Saw & Saw II
[After creating and then testing the drinking rules, guest hosts Trent and Ryan recap their adventures with the first two Saw films, offering their thoughts on the quality of each film as well as how the drinking rules held up and whether they’re worth using.]
Saw has been seen by many as the generator of the ‘torcher porn’ genre, but you may be surprised to note that there isn’t actually any real gore in the first entry. This can be attributed to two things: (1) Taco Bell’s commercials have a higher budget than Saw did, and (2) the film was supposed to be more of a creepy, suspenseful mystery than it was a bloody horror movie. Did this film live up to Ryan and Trent’s expectations or would they be left sober and unsatisfied? See below!
Movie – 4
Trent – 4
I really, really like the first Saw film. The narrative’s pace is brisk, the viewer constantly questions what is going on, and the amount of twists that take place throughout the film is downright staggering. The villain isn’t a force of nature like Jason or Michael Myers either; we get to understand Jigsaw’s character as a fallible human with a stoic belief system. More than that, we recognize him as something of a twisted genius in his ability to predict human nature and adjust attitudes with the most poetic of ‘tests.’ Everyone tested really does need to take a closer look into how they’re squandering their lives and our antagonist actually makes some valid criticisms about contemporary society. It’s an interesting watch that plays out in a nonlinear style and keeps you guessing.
The first Saw film remains my favourite of the series (out of the first three, since they are the only ones I’ve seen) for the same reason we’ve mentioned in our intro. That is, it’s a big suspenseful, creepy mystery that keeps you guessing all of the way through and there’s little-to-no focus on the gore. This kind of movie just happens to be one of my favourite types; I’m a sucker for movies that keep you guessing. Jigsaw’s motivations are interesting to say the least, but he’s got skewed views of what it takes to appreciate life. Though, yes, being thrown into a life and death situation will make you appreciate life a heck of a lot more, so will the appearance of being thrown into a life or death situation. Either way, the plans and traps make for a very interesting watch and I wholeheartedly recommend everyone to see the first entry in the Saw franchise.
Drinking – 2
Trent – 2
This was actually a bit of a let down. Considering the fact that we planned on drinking every time we saw a flashback or Jigsaw prompted someone to do something, I figured I’d be pretty sloshed by the halfway point. Randomly enough, I was barely even buzzed by the end of this film. Sure, the two prisoners touched their chains a fair amount, but there was just so much exposition between drinks. I dug the story, but I think Ryan and I could have benefited more from a rule forcing us to finish our drinks everytime Jigsaw says “life” or “lives.” Seriously, the words “Saw” or “Jigsaw” aren’t said often enough to prompt drink-finishing (and the inebriation that follows), but Jigsaw muses about life more than he does anything else in the movie. Had we been smart, we would have altered the rules to better fit Jigsaw’s verbal tendencies.
My first thought of the movie’s drinking game when you started our little marathon was “We are going to be so drunk by the end of this…” My thoughts after the first movie however were more along the lines of “That was it?” The drinking wasn’t very heavy at all, and that even included the rule where you finish a drink whenever the title gets dropped. Did you know that the characters never actually refer to the hacksaws in the movie as a “saw”? I was actually pretty let down since I thought I would have had to go through lots of drinks here. The chains rule and the flashback rule worked great in this movie, but it wasn’t enough to keep my buzz going. I passed Jigsaw’s test here with flying colours.
Saw is a great movie that does most things it attempts well. On a budget that 7 digits, the film manages to be an excellent suspense feature that kept you on your toes. What’s more impressive is that it managed to make more than 100 times its budget at the box office. If you’ve yet to see any of the Saw films, at least give the first a chance. It really is a gem.
Saw II is widely considered to be the best sequel in the franchise. Unlike Saw, this film’s script originally had nothing to do with the jigsaw murders, but was altered to fit into the franchise. Most films that receive that kind of hack job, end up being pretty unbalanced. Does it hold up when seen through beer goggles? keep reading!
Movie – 4
Trent – 4
Saw II is where the series really started to hit its stride in terms of notoriety. Suddenly, having a group of victims do unspeakable things to their bodies in order to survive was suddenly a thing. What is interesting about the second film in the Saw series, was that it was ballsy enough to thrust its main antagonist into the spotlight. In most horror movie, providing a background to why the villain does what he does can humanise him and make him seem less threatening (something you definitely don’t want to do in a horror movie). However, clear distinctions about Jigsaw are still made; we see that he is nothing more than a man who has had a devastating series of events affect him, but also recognize that his views on life and judgement are warped to the point where anyone would likely be cautious in attempting to give him a hug. To be frank, while there is a story going on about a group of survivors trapped in a house, I was always more enthralled with the interactions between Jigsaw and the detectives. The subtle nuances and inflections made in the character’s behaviour and dialogue really make him seem both interesting and threatening. I’d be hard-pressed to say that this film is better than the first Saw, because I appreciate the directorial approach of a slow grind better than I do quick-cuts, but it certainly is a worthy sequel.
Ryan – 4
Saw II is very different from its predecessor. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. While the original is more of a suspense movie, the sequal is closer to a thriller. Once again, a group of people (this time a much larger group) are trapped in a house, trying to make their way out of a building before time runs out. The basic premise is the same but the end result is far different. The change of pacing for this movie actually works quite well and keeps the watcher engrossed in the film, just in a different way. There’s only slightly more gore than Saw (Saw III seemed to be purely about the gore and less about the story which isn’t my thing so I stopped following the movies there) and as a result, the movie manages to proceed forward without distracting you from what really matters in this movie: the character development along the reveals about Jigsaw’s motivations and his past, present, and future.
Drinking – 2.5
Trent – 3
Personally, I loved the fact that we broadened things out for this category. Because the victims were trapped in a house full of Sarin gas (the same substance used by Japanese cult and terrorist association Aum Shinrikyo in their tragic Tokyo Subway Attacks) we had to drink every time they coughed and twice if they coughed blood. Providing you were paying attention, which I don’t think my wonderful associate was doing as he was texting the womenfolk, you would be throwing the drinks back constantly. Also, A LOT of people just breakdown and freak out in this movie. Sure, I wasn’t slugging them like I was when we watched Twilight, but Saw II was much better for drinking than Saw.
Again, this movie did not hit me as hard as I would have liked in the drinking category. I’m pretty certain rules worked well (it helps that one of them was to drink whenever Jigsaw gave instructions). However, there tended to be large breaks between small blitzes of drinks, keeping us happy and healthy (much to our annoyance). Again, characters liked to refer to each other by anything but their proper names, so even chugging a drink when the name “Jigsaw” was mentioned didn’t happen as often as we thought.
While Saw II is a very different type of film from Saw, it has a great mix of suspense, character development, and strong acting. The only unfortunate thing about finishing this film is knowing that this is where the series peaked.