Saw V (2008)

The fifth of the horror ‘Saw’ franchise and it does help to watch these in order, well actually I think it’s very important at this point as this film follows straight on from the fourth. Major twists that have happened from the first four films are all recognised in this fifth film (similar to the trailers, there will be spoilers from the first four films will be in this review – find the first four reviews here: ‘Saw’, ‘II’, ‘III’, ‘IV’).

Twists have been revealed at the end of every Saw film – lastly, we saw that there is a new Jigsaw killer. Meanwhile, Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) becomes obsessed with delving into another agent’s past trying to uncover how he is connected to Jigsaw. While the agent is determined on his new case, spiralling into an obsessive state; a new group of people are taken to face another gruesome test. They wake up keys in a glass box in front of them and collars around their necks – the horrific games have begun.

Again, ‘Saw V’ doesn’t disappoint following on from the previous four films. The twisted games continue with reasoning behind to be uncovered throughout the film. There is a lot of gore in this film, although I wouldn’t expect any different from the Saw franchise. ‘Saw V’ is an excellent continuation from the film series. There are multiple twists and revelations in this film, which is become expected in this film, nevertheless, they are still not predictable. ‘Saw V’ pushes these expectations even further by making more revelations throughout the film, my favourite being involved within the games rather than the overarching storyline with the agent’s case.

Saw continues to be a gory horror film series, pushing the limits of the audience each time, this one is no exception.

Scream (1996)

“Don’t answer the phone, don’t open the door, don’t try to escape.”

A new killer has come to light in a town, wearing the infamous scream costume he rings the household his victim is in, with some unusual questions about horror movies, after an incorrect answer he stabs the teenagers. After we are introduced to the killer, the audience are shown the main protagonist, Sidney (Neve Campbell) the new victim to be terrorized by this psychopathic villain. The plot of the film is interesting and intriguing, you wait to uncover the mystery. Furthermore, there is a captivating plot with Sidney’s family past.

For a 1996 horror film, it still is a super horror and mystery. It is clever how this slasher movie has maintained its greatness nevertheless it being over 20 years old. The use of camera angles are successful in creating suspense and there is a brilliance in the simplicity of the music and sound which is very well executed. ‘Scream’ is able to create tension, even if it doesn’t hit all of the horror elements like it would have in 1996. Throughout the film, there is a cleverness in the mystery too. As one of the characters says, everyone is suspected to the be killer – this is what you end up doing as the audience watching.

There is also a great stardom in this film. Drew Barrymore opens the film in the renowned scene of being the first victim of this ghostly slaughterer. There are other recognisable faces throughout, including Matthew Lillard (Shaggy from ‘Scooby Doo’) and Courteney Cox (Monica in ‘Friends’). Overall, the acting of the film isn’t bad and does feel reliable on screen.

An element of ‘Scream’ that repeats throughout the whole film is a play on the mockery of horror films. Many of the characters have watched plenty of horror films such as ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Halloween’ and ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, which they mention during ‘Scream’, we even see a clip of one! This adds another dimension to ‘Scream’ which almost gives a mocking component for the audience to recognise the purposeful parallels within horror films. Wes Craven uses horror stereotypes to predict or to confuse what might happen in this film. The audience are left thinking would this film follow the usual stereotypes or bend the rules of a horror slasher?

In conclusion, ‘Scream’ is such a clever film to still be a horror that is interesting 20 years after. The conversations of similarities amongst horrors is such a different element to the film. However, when the killer is revealed, this dimension does seem more forced. The ending seems to become more of a mockery and more comical. Nevertheless, this film maintains to be a great mystery and does still build suspense and tension. It is still enjoyable to watch.

Saw IV (2007)

Within the ‘Saw’ collection comes the fourth. They are not necessarily needed to be watched in order, however I do think it is largely beneficial to as they do follow on. So if you’re worried about spoilers, for example how ‘Saw III’ ended, then probably not best to read this review and do watch them in order. I use the term ‘spoilers’ loosely, because you watch these films for the gore and horror right? The revelation at the end – that’s the most predominant theme in these films. And that’s not spoiled amongst the other films.

‘Saw IV’ opens up to a new villain needing to take the place of Jigsaw. Quickly, once again, a new game begins and the police are on the hunt to who the new gamemaster is. This time one of the members of the police department has been chosen to play. Officer Rigg (Lyriq Bent) has seen many colleagues fall around him from this psychopath’s games, now he’s given a chance to save two of them. Although, it’s not that easy, obviously. Along his forced path paved out for him, he meets other people along the way who are forced into playing the game.

I’m starting to believe that none of these ‘Saw’ films will be a let down when it comes to the revelation of the film at the end; the creative, psychopathic game you’re sucked into; and the dreadful gore which never seems to fail. This fourth film does not differ from the others, but still manages to add difference from the series so you don’t feel like you’re watching the same film every time. Each film has a different revelation which confuses and baffles the audience – this one is one of the most baffling of them all. They really are cleverly designed films. Films where I still cannot watch the whole screen, hands covering my eyes from the realistic-looking tortures, the tension on the screen racing through me. ‘Saw IV’ is clever in wrapping up the previous films in a nice little bow of understanding after the revelation that came from ‘Saw III’. The games are only getting worse as they become newer in the graphic sophistication. The newer they become, the more daring they get.

The Platform (2019)

The concept of this film is very interesting. Predominantly, we follow one man in particular, Goreng (Ivan Massagué), who has voluntarily entered the pit in order to get a degree (I think, I didn’t really understand his reasoning for entering). The pit is a type of vertical prison; in this pit there are a certain amount of levels, which becomes a mystery when you’re watching. Each level is labelled with their designated numbers. There’s the bare minimum in these rooms, only a sink and toilet, two beds, and a giant square hole in the centre which matches all the levels above and below. This is where the platform comes down, the platform of food. Grand cakes, expensive lobster, fancy dishes spread this platter of food, however the only people who witness this gesture is level one. They get the first chance to eat as much as they can, after the allocated time the platform moves down to platform two, they now can eat, and so on. With Goreng we start on level 48, the food is pretty much devoured and minimal at this point, imagine what it would be like by the time it reaches the very bottom.

The horror in this film relies solely on the unpredictability of humans when it comes to survival. You have no idea how the inmates will react, how they will turn to violence, when they will snap. When allowed to bring in one item or object, there are even weapons amongst them. ‘The Platform’ contains horror in a lot of ways. There is the constant tension that anything could happen, there is also the gore of killing others and even turning to cannibalism. There are also psychological horrors embedded in this film, as Goreng hallucinates to the point where he is manipulated by his own mind.

As a Spanish movie, I did watch this dubbed into English as it is on Netflix, although it didn’t make any different to the actual film. The entire concept of this horror film is so different from anything I’ve seen before. I was wondering after the first twenty minutes where it was going to go, however that added to the horror of the unknown. Goreng tries to come to grips at what he has got himself into along with the audience understanding the type of prison this is. He reaches a conclusion that he will try and ration to help those below. There are a lot of eery horrors in this film, a lot of violence, all surrounding the extremes these inmates have been pushed to when starved and desperate. It’s definitely a horror for adults, as there are some horrid scenes. Nevertheless, the concept was interesting to keep the audience hooked, even if the ending didn’t feel like an ending at all. It’s scary how the unpredictability and desperation of humans generates all of the horrors into this film.

Escape Room (2019)

Six strangers are invited to an escape room through the allure of winning $10,000 if they win. What they didn’t know was that these escape rooms were instead based upon their own fears and were in fact extremely real, not just a game. The film has a quick introduction of the strangers invited to the game, but the sole reason for this film is the escape rooms, so happily there’s not too much time wasted on the character developments. You could argue there is too much of an introduction, but a quick flash forward to bring the film in adds intrigue.

Happily, you’re not introduced to all of the characters in the show. Instead, you’re given a quick understanding of our main protagonist, Zoey. A brief show of a few others and let’s get the movie beginning. After all are given a box with a secret message, the six strangers have finally been bought together. Throughout the escape rooms, we understand the characters more, in particular what they have in common and their fears that are being brought to life. The first room evokes some excitement to win the money, but soon they discover that the room isn’t for entertainment when it turns into an oven. They move onto different escape rooms all perfectly designed for those playing.

‘Escape Room’ is a horror, however not one with jump scares or constant frightening scenes. Instead, there is an eeriness throughout the film. The lingering of a camera, the six strangers are always being watched. The idea of a haunted background for all the characters adds intrigue for the audience. The mystery of who is behind all this manipulation and why these six have been forced into this psychopathic game. I wouldn’t say there is a strong frightening element, I wasn’t sat scared. But these sorts of horror elements do work well in this type of film and I couldn’t predict what was going to come next.

‘Escape Room’ is such an interesting concept – strangers trapped and desperate to get out of rooms before their times runs out. While watching, you do become intrigued to what the next room will unfold into and what traps will be lying around. You also become invested in discovering what the haunted pasts of these characters are and how they will react into a survival of the fittest situation forced upon them. It’s not the most amazing horror-mystery I’ve ever seen, but I did love the concept and enjoy the film. It is a shame that the whole reasoning of the games by the end is a bit weak, but as I sad before, it’s the escape rooms you watch the film for. You have to watch until the end and uncover each room as you go.

Saw III (2006)

These films are a lot better when they are watched in order, so if you’ve not seen the first two films of this ‘Saw’ franchise, find them here: ‘Saw’, ‘Saw II’. ‘Saw III’ echoes a similar pattern of the films before, adding more pieces to the Jigsaw puzzle. The serial killer this time has taken a doctor and a revengeful man to play in his game. Along with his accomplice (the reason why it’s important to watch in order), Jigsaw manipulates every aspect of the game in his usual trickery to force people to face their fears and appreciate their lives as they fight for survival.

Waking up in a wooden box, a man discovers he is stuck in a twisted game forcing him to choose a path of forgiveness or revenge. Discovering a tape recorder, the man is presented with situations he has dreamt about, although his test is to shy away from the revenge route and turn to forgiveness instead. However, he finds forgiving extremely challenging when faced with memories of his son’s horrendous untimely death. Meanwhile, with Jigsaw and his accomplice, a doctor has been taken. As she’s connected to a collar of death around her neck, she’s forced to operate and save the ill (in so many ways) killer.

Once again, ‘Saw III’ has created a brilliant sequel to add to the franchise. The horror of the gore is present as usual. A lot of times I couldn’t watch the screen, turning away at the goriest scenes. Yes, the graphics aren’t phenomenal, alike to the first two, however the execution of gore and horror is not a miss. Furthermore, the mystery of the film is still dominant. We discover that human emotions are so unpredictable we cannot predict everything that is going to happen, leaving the audience in constant suspense and terror. Even though we suspect a twist to summarise the end of the film, you still don’t see it coming. You almost wait for the revelation and explanation behind Jigsaw’s reasoning of the chosen game. ‘Saw III’ is no different from the first two as the audience are captivated in the horror and surprised by the twist every time.

Saw II (2005)

There are many ‘Saw’ films in this horror gore franchise. After reviewing the first and original ‘Saw’ movie (click to view) with the introduction of the man who captures people to play games for survival, the next obvious choice was to turn to the second. This time we’re not in full cooperation with the people playing the game to begin with, instead our focus is towards the killer himself, being captured by the police yet still in all control.

When the mastermind behind all the dreadful killings is finally captured, the police are eager to put this villain in his place. However, he states rather quickly that he only wants to discuss with one Detective in particular and that he must now play along with the game. Meanwhile, he also reveals that he already has his selection of victims trapped in a house in the middle of a game. Therefore, this time we watch as two games unfold. The game in the house, as sadistic as it is, is played by these rules: the group have been breathing in a deadly poison and to survive they must obtain one of the few antidotes scattered around the house. The audience are forced to watch as the group become crazed and ill driven to do anything to gain an antidote and save themselves.

The ‘Saw’ movies are known for their gore and horror. This one is no different from the rest. This second film actually has many connections and hints to the first film, which adds to the franchise feel of the films. ‘Saw’ movies should also be known for their revelations and twists in the end. ‘Saw II’ once again follows the desperate emotions of humans and their drive to survive, but also follows a mastermind who has thought everything through to play a game so disturbing but clever in its complex solutions.

Saw (2004)

The first and original ‘Saw’ horror movie. These series of films are known for the goriness, the psychopathic games and the creepy doll on the bicycle. All the films are an 18 and for good reason. The man behind these killings is known as Jigsaw and he is one twisted psychopath.

Saw - Doctor
‘Saw’, as the first film, uncovers the background of Jigsaw, the beginnings of his killings, his games that he plays. The evil mastermind behind all the games that are uncovered in this film are so disgustingly disturbed but genius in their revelations by the end of the film. How he manipulates the whole situation just proves how he is controlling the entire film, which adds a massive impact into the horror element. Two men, Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr Gordon (Cary Elwes), wake up chained to a pipe in a dingy rotten room. With clues littered around, then men try to discuss their way out by reflecting on how they got there, while the audience begin to understand the presence of this maniac killer. In flashbacks, we begin to recognise that this man doesn’t actually kill anyone but manipulates human emotions into killing themselves or each other. The audience are on edge unknown to what is going to happen unsure with erratic emotions running high in this locked room.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the acting is amazing… However, as I’ve previously said, it’s all about the killer, all about the man behind the camera, the man behind the speakerphone. Whatever he can make the others do when they are pushed to their limits. As this is the first film, there’s a lot of explanation behind Jigsaw in preparation to build up for the next however many.

Saw - room

The horror is well executed. There were times that I didn’t want to see what was going to happen, hands covering my eyes. ‘Saw’ is talented in creating tension and building up suspense where the audience are sat on edge waiting for whatever will happen to happen. Predominantly, it is a horror generated around gore. What do you think these men would be drawn to when they are chained to pipes and only given a saw which won’t cut through metal? ‘Saw’ is a twisted horror in it’s mystery and game, although it remains one of the best horror film series and for good reason. Regardless of how horrible it is, the uncovering of the mystery and the last ten minutes of revelations is excellence on screen. You won’t see it coming, even if you manage to suss out some elements, you can’t guess the whole film!

A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

The 2010 remake of the classic horror starring the infamous villain Freddy Krueger. Everybody knows his scarred, burnt face, his clawed fingers, his perverse nightmare stalkings on children. This remake brought him back to life haunting new victims in their dreams. Unfortunately, this film 100% supports the phrase ‘the remakes are never as good as the originals’…

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 Freddy Krueger
The whole film felt so random, there wasn’t a single back story and as the audience you’re suddenly thrown into this new place with new characters having no understanding of anything. Yes, I’ve seen the original, but this film must stand alone too. I didn’t really know the characters whatsoever, so didn’t care about them. Characters were dropping left right and centre, and there was no desired horror for the audience because there was no build up to create any emotions of fear. Furthermore, this film falls into the casting issue of high school teens. I never understand why actors and actresses are chosen to play characters that are ten years younger than them – there are some exceptions – but ‘Twilight’ star Kellan Lutz and ‘Arrow’ actress Katie Cassidy as teenagers in high school eroded away at any realness the film could potentially hold. Finally, the acting wasn’t great. The only reason I feel people hire older people to play younger characters is because “the acting is better”, but that wasn’t even the case in this film. The acting was quite weak and I just felt disinterested in all the characters on screen, which is an issue when fear needs to erupt into the audience.
Nevertheless, the film did get better from the beginning. It’s still not amazing, but the new interest is to discover that the children targeted have a hidden, suppressed memory from their childhood. This becomes a source of intrigue for the audience. The back story of why Freddy Krueger is one perverse and haunting which does stimulate a different type of horror. His story when he was alive is more horrifying than him coming back to seek revenge. The jump scares were a bit of a miss, but when the mystery turns to solving who Freddy Krueger was, the movie is more interesting.

A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 Claws
As a horror, the 2010 remake of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ was a flop. He’s not that scary haunting and killing and it’s seems quite bad effects on his face which annoyed me. The build-ups necessary for a horror to deliver needs to create some sort of fear for the characters on screen, this was only executed with one of the characters by the end. The reveal of his back story, which took a very long time to get to, had a lot of potential in its horror, which is why it got a lot better throughout the film. But everything before seemed in some sort of wasteland of unknown killing with no real reason. With a disgusting villain such as Freddy Krueger, this film could have done a lot more to execute horror.

It (2017)

The 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s book and a film from 1990. ‘It’ is the creepy clown film; the one clown film that everyone knows about; the clown and the red balloon. Set in the summer of 1989, children have started disappearing in the town of Derry. One group of friends band together with one commonality, they are all the victims of a bully. ‘It’ isn’t just about the horrors of a clown, there are a lot of villains in this film – parents and bullies. These villains seem to be more powerful to execute horror in the film than the actual clown in my opinion.

The film is very character driven; driven by what the characters are going to do lead by one boy’s drive to find his missing brother. I have to admit some characters do seem to have an irrelevance in the film, they’re there but there isn’t really any reason to why they are there. Maybe it’s just to make up the numbers. Anyway, this young group take it upon themselves to defeat the ugliness creeping round in the sewers while multiple children are still being taken and fears are exposed in front of their eyes.

It 2017 2
The main three, Bill (Jaeden Martell), Beverly (Sophia Lillis) and Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), are great characters. You definitely feel the emotions of these characters and predominantly they hold a lot of the horror as you fear for their lives. Bill’s missing brother plotline is heart-breaking, to the point where his speeches and desperate need to find little Georgie was heart-wrenching, nearly bringing me to tears. Beverly is an interesting character – where the children are all supposed to be 13, she definitely does seem years older, and I’m really not sure whether that was incidental or on purpose. When Beverly goes home you discover her home life is one tragic and soul-destroying, where you just pray she’ll find safety and solace. Finally, Ben is a character most victimised by the bullies of the school, where they result in extreme violence against the poor boy and you really feel his fear bursting through the screen.

It 2017 1
‘It’ is an incredibly long film – it feels longer than it actually is. There are moments of horror, but because it is solely revolved around the characters, there are a lot of gaps where the clown is neither present nor lingering, so the horror tends to drift away at these moments. I also thought the jump scares would be scarier than they actually were. When it came down to it, I do believe the other villains of the film were scarier than Pennywise the clown – maybe that’s because they are real and could be true in society, compared to a clown that opens it mouth up into a thousand teeth or morphs into different beings. It is a good film and obviously has kept its legendary name throughout literature history, it probably will still be the best well-known clown film. Nevertheless, it wasn’t as good as I thought it’s been hyped up to be. I thought more tension would echo throughout the film constantly rather than being so blocked. The horror wasn’t as up there as I would have presumed. Nonetheless, I don’t think I would like Pennywise knocking around my town any time soon.