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In the World of the Future, Everyone Will Have Written at Least One Saw Sequel

October 18, 2009

Here’s something you may or may not realize: the very first Saw movie is actually a rather cleverly-concocted, twisty and well-written horror film. Despite some very bad acting by noted very bad actor Carey Elwes, it’s a sharply-devised whodunnit — though unfortunately it will likely forever be known as one of the forebearers of the modern spate of “torture porn” films.

For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase “torture porn” (and allow me to pat myself on the back because the latter word in that phrase just guaranteed TBTS at least two hundred more hits), the term was coined in 2006 by New York Magazine critic David Edelstein and refers to the current glut of horror movies in which a series of characters is captured one by one and subjected to some sort of excruciating, drawn-out, horrific demise. Chief examples include the Saw films as well as both Hostel films, Wolf Creek, The Devil’s Rejects, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and Turistas, which may as well have been a Hostel. (It should be noted that Edelstein also included The Passion of the Christ in this category.)

There isn’t a lot of variation to the films of this genre, though particularly in the Saw case, producers simply refuse to stop making them. Case in point: this Halloween sees the sixth entry to the Saw franchise, the appropriately named Saw VI, with the tagline “If it’s Halloween, must be Saw.” This sequel, which no one to my knowledge is asking for, not only promises more of the same but eerily forbodes that we can look forward to one of these during each Halloween for God-knows-how-long to come. To top it off, one of Saw VI’s stars was actually chosen by a reality show. This is a fact.

I’m not going to get into the mythology of Saw, but it involves a serial killer who devises elaborate contraptions by which a person can face his or her own fears, sins or past indiscretions by suffering an insane amount of pain or mutilation, with failure to do so meaning death. It’s not exactly Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Here’s the deal though (and here there are spoilers, so be warned, although it’s nothing you can’t learn from the trailers) — the serial killer in question died two sequels ago and now somehow we are expected to believe he had the wherewithal to set up enough future devices and contraptions that would go off without a hitch to fill enough sequels from here until the end of time. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of that, because director Kevin Greutert calls it “mind-numbingly complex,” which I’m sure it is. It’s also, I’m sure, a great marketing strategy to make your sixth sequel of a gorefest aimed at teenagers “mind-numbingly complex.”

If your tiny brains can comprehend Saw VI, however, there are more to come — Saw VII is already in the works (in 3-D, no less) and Saw VIII is being concepted as well. And actor Tobin Bell, who played the serial killer who died two movies ago, has appeared in both since and is attached to the two yet to come. Man, this is torture.

Since there appears to be no end to the Saw franchise’s sequels, and since there are Halloweens coming forever as far as we know, and since if it’s Halloween, it must be Saw, it can be safely assumed that these sequels will continue to roll out. If Saw VI‘s lead actress was chosen by reality show, by the time we get to Saw XVII the lead heroine may well be your favorite niece, plucked directly from dinner at the Olive Garden. Your chances of having your own Saw sequel accepted are also infinitely increased by the seemingly limitless potential. So start thinking of some gross ways to die, America — because you may be tapped next. Until we stop paying attention, these films will continue to roll out, each a cookie-cutter of the one before that, and the one before that. Because if we haven’t learned by now, Hollywood loves that we love crap — because they have an endless supply.

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