dir. Wan
Opens Fri Oct 29
Various Theaters

Saw is one of those movies I wish I didn't see. Most nights, I have an easy enough time imagining the violent horrors that could befall me--tackled and bludgeoned in the shower, snatched at the ankles from under my car, abducted into a white van while stumbling home--and I don't need any more fodder for my imagination; especially from sicko James Wan.

Wan, a first time director, makes a film much in the same vein as Seven, about an evil, maniacal fuck who's out to teach people a lesson. The lesson is different for each of his victims, but in essence, every person he preys on is forced to better appreciate their life--or perish. For example, one victim is apathetic, another is a drug addict, another is a hypochondriac--and so on. It's a good thing this movie isn't real, because the killer would have plenty of reasons to snatch me up and teach me a gruesome lesson.

The film is as dark, creepy, and morose as it could possibly be, employing effective horror and suspense movie clichés from dirty bathrooms to sinister voices, to clowns, to cops bent on solving the case. And while you're aware that James Wan isn't serving up anything new, the film is terrifying nonetheless (personally, I can't think of anything more frightening than finding myself chained up in a dirty bathroom, and Wan generously brings this horror to life.)

While the film succeeds in scaring the living shit out of you, it does have some failures--including a bunch of characters you don't care about, a predictable if not entirely obvious ending, and a tendency to take the carnage so far that you might end up laughing. I was actually quite relieved when a group of teens started heckling the screen during the last 10 minutes of the film, because as fear goes, I had successfully had enough.

See Saw if you like movies that push the limits of darkness and depravity, or if you really want to get in your date's pants. After seeing this film, only the truly unflappable will be able to spend the night alone.