Sunday, October 27, 2013

My years in horror: 2004

What a great year! The zombie comeback is in full force with Shaun of the Dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake. On the remake front, we also had Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Grudge. It may surprise some of you that I'm not giving this honor to any of those movies, especially Shaun of the Dead. The thing is, for pure horror, the best of the year was Saw.

 I realize that Saw started the whole "torture porn" thing and that's not cool at all. Most of those movies just aren't very good. But we are talking about horror movies; most of these movies just aren't very good. What Saw did, however, was the same thing Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Blair Witch Project all did. It showed us that vision can overcome budget, marketing is important, and if you make a good movie people will want to see it.

The biggest difference for me is that the first Saw, and I'd say every other sequel, had a message: value your life. There are people dying every day and yet so many people just throw away their own lives. Maybe setting people up to die wasn't the best way to teach this lesson but for the original Jigsaw killer, there was always a way out. You didn't have to die. Sometimes you died because you were selfish, or stupid, or sometimes just because of a bad mistake or even something that wasn't your fault (I always remember how James Wan and Leigh Whannell managed to bring the first shot of the film back around to haunt the two imprisoned characters at the end of the film). The point is that in Jigsaw's traps, death was only certain if you didn't follow the instructions.

For six more years, we were given the great tagline: If it's Halloween, it must be SAW. None of the Saw sequels will top out their respective years and eventually Saw lost its Hallowed place to another franchise, but that's the way things go.

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