Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oh, great, a Saw VI update!

Alright, alright. If you know me you could sense the sarcasm. If you don't me, check out my review from last October on Saw V and you'll realize the last thing I want to be hearing about is an update on the next installment of the terrible, passionless and uninspired Saw series.

According to the folks who update, Saw VI is going to feature the return of Shawnee Smith, the actress who played Amanda. Guess what this means? MORE FLASHBACKS!

If you asked me to tell you the plots of the last few Saw films I wouldn't be able to distinguish one from another thanks to the poor editing and hideous overuse of flashback. For me the films have become one giant muddled mess of story that continues to drag on too long for its own good. If you aren't familiar with the series, the basic idea is that the writers of the film have tried to set up an absolutely twisting and winding plot that brings characters back into the frame through the use of flashbacks. The problem simply being that there are far too many of them.

In short, Saw V attempted hard to be a gripping and investigative detective thriller. It was a dull bore though. Hell, even the traps were lame. With absolutely nothing to take away from the latest film, the series is slipping closer to its grave. Not that it hasn't already reached it in terms of creative credibility. It's not quite there yet, though. The last film still took in $56 million on a $10 million budget. A performance that will surely yield at least a few more sequels.

"Also, this movie is a lot more violent than the previous," says producer Mark Burg on the next rehash of this cash cow. Considering the timidness of the fifth film in the series, this next one better be if the men filling their pockets want to continue doing so. I tell you what though. I love nothing more than a good exploitative gore-romp or sexual sleaze epic and I'm not afraid to admit it, as most of America might be. I tell you what again though. There's a huge difference between the charming "passion for the game" films of the 1970s and the "passion for the green" films of the last few years. Just check out one of the great B-movie trailer collections from 42nd Street Forever to see what I mean. I don't know if the series can redeem itself, but I'd like to give it every possible chance.

I've said it once and I've said it again, Lions Gate and company are killing the horror and exploitation genres by filling it with absolute crap after absolute crap. Once landfills of great, groundbreaking ideas, these genres have turned into pools of zero originality. Whatever sells, I guess.

It's true too, actually. As evidenced in late 2008, Lions Gate clearly has no love for the actual creative films they have under distribution. Midnight Meat Train, while by no means perfect, came from the twisted mind of Clive Barker and proved to be a more than enjoyable film. The company shafted Mr. Barker after disputes had the film ending up in $1 budget theaters. I wasn't able to see the film until it debuted on FearNet OnDemand in the Free Zone on Cox Digital Cable.

The other piece of evidence comes from the terribly devastating shaft Lions Gate gave Saw II-IV director Darren Lynn Bousman with his new film Repo! The Genetic Opera. I gave this film an absolutely rave review over a month ago for good reason. The film, which quickly became a personal favorite of mine, was shafted and only given a short and limited road tour. Films like Bousman's Repo! and Barker's Meat Train are the ones that deserve the theatrical releases. Not generic PG-13 remake of well-done Asian film #32.

And don't tell me, "But Michael, you're taking the Saw films for something they are n't!" This just isn't true. I know what they are. I've just seen better. Give me Cannibal Holocaust, I Spit On Your Grave, Hitch-Hike, I Drink Your Blood, Make Them Die Slowly or one of the countless Troma B-movie classics before you put a Saw film in my DVD player.

But as I said before, whatever sells, right? With a cash cow like the Saw series floating on their desks, I guess there's no reasons to risk their money with something that isn't a sure thing. Regardless, my point of view is this: If a film concerning a person who traps people for no good reason can become a powerhouse at the cinema, why can't the rest?

Whatever. I've said this all before and I'm anxiously awaiting the day I don't have to say it again. Come October Saw VI will be released into theaters and, fingers crossed, will earn less than Saw V did. The series is dying but it can't be killed completely until greater America stops supporting it. Unfortunately, the series has such a strong core of mindless morons (no offense if you actually enjoy the series) that things look grim for originality seekers such as me.

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