Why I'm not going to see Saw V

If you know me at all, you know I’m a big horror flick fan. From the B-rated cheese to truly scary, if it’s on, I’ll watch it. Slasher flicks are also a blast, and my movie collection holds a few. Heck, my movie collection has some truly off-the-wall horror flicks, like “Prophecy.” No no, not the one with Christopher Walken. The 70s version with mutated bear that eats campers — I remember seeing the ads for it when I was a kid, and being afraid because of the scene where a kid is stuck in his sleeping bag, trying to hop away from the monster. It hits him anyway, sending feathers everywhere. It was awesome. I don’t think I dared step into a sleeping bag until I was a teen, had seen Red Dawn, and was convinced the commies were going to invade.

Finally getting to see it was a true treat. It was awful. Delightfully awful. I’m proud to own that movie because it is so freakin’ awful.

But you see, there’s awful — as in “so bad it’s good” — and then there’s AWFUL — as in “bad and not even entertaining.” And the Saw series falls into the latter category.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The first one was pretty decent, because it was kinda new and innovative. But every single one after that sucked ass. It’s like this generation’s Friday the 13th, without the saucy teens and machetes. And hell, I even gave up on that series after the third one — and it had the super cool 3D!

But I always love how people call the Saw (and Hostel) series “scary.” It makes me want to ask if I’ve been watching the same flick as them, because I never find any of them to be scary.

Scary is the clown doll from Poltergeist, or Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Movies that suck you in and use your imagination against you to produce fear. And because you don’t know what’s making that noise, don’t know what’s lurking under the bed, don’t know what’s in the closet — that’s when you start to curl up in the fetal position or pull the covers up your eyes. That’s scary. That rocks.

And then there’s Saw. You have a device meant to cause pain and death. You have a person about to be plunged into it. If you are overly empathetic, you are wincing at the perception of being thrown through that device, and the feeling of that pain. OK, that’s not fear — that’s anticipation. That can be scary (like getting a tooth pulled), but if you’re not empathetic to the character or situation, then meh. There’s no real bogeyman. There’s a voice on a recorder and a twisted puppet. There’s no chase — just manipulation to get the victim to the device. And while it shares the same elements as horror, it just doesn’t produce the same kind of fear as “what’s under the bed.” Is it its own genre, or part of the new “torture flicks” that seem to be popular now (ie, Hostel)? Maybe. I don’t know. I’m a little too hungover to think that far into it.

I vowed after I saw Saw IV last year that I would never watch another again. It was so contrived that I figured that it had to be the end of that series. But apparently not. Well, maybe by Saw X I’ll pick it back up … Jigsaw should be reincarnated by then, and running other infants through gauntlets of rattles, binkies and devastating nerf balls. That’s one that I’d have to catch — it’ll have just enough cheese to rope me back in .


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