Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Saw (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Gordon tells Adam about his family, throwing his wallet over so he can see pictures of them. Adam finds a picture of Alison and Diana tied up, along with a message from Jigsaw saying “X marks the spot. Sometimes you see more with your eyes shut”. Adam hides this from Gordon and throws the wallet back. Flashback footage shows Gordon leaving his house after a fight with his wife, things only growing worse for her as the mystery figure from earlier breaks into the house, tying up her and Diana.
The man is revealed to be Zep, who peeks out the window for some reason. Apparently it was so he could be spotted by Tapp, who is holed up in a building across the street watching Gordon's house. We see something has happened to Tapp in the five months since first learning about Jigsaw, as he has gone a bit off the deep end and seems to live in a Room Full Of Crazy (complete with tons of newspaper clippings about Jigsaw pinned to the walls) while obsessively spying on Gordon.

We go back to the night of Gordon being questioned, with Tapp returning him to the hospital after Amanda was done speaking. Tapp obviously believes Gordon is still involved somehow, dropping a vague threat and driving off. Tapp goes back to his office to analyze the recording Jigsaw left for Amanda, identifying some of the graffiti on a wall to an abandoned mannequin factory in the city. Sing wants to get a warrant but Tapp dismisses this, because they don't need no stinking warrants!

They take off to investigate, finding Jigsaw's base of operations in the factory. Their search turns up a diorama of the bathroom trap, Billy, an ominous looking pig mask, and a man tied in a chair with a drill on either side. Before they can free the man they hear Jigsaw arrive, Sing wanting to take him down but Tapp makes him hide because he's curious what Jigsaw is going to do. Danny Glover's character is NOT a very good police officer in this film, I guess he must have gotten sick and tired of doing things by the book after Lethal Weapon.

Sing gets fed up and draws his shotgun on Jigsaw, but the killer activates the drill trap and tells the detectives they need to make a decision what they're going to do. Sing ends up shooting the drills to make them stop, but this distraction allows Jigsaw to pull a blade hidden up his sleeve and slit Tapp's throat to escape. We never get to see Jigsaw's face during any of this, as he was wearing a black and red cloak the entire time. Sing runs after him and shoots him in the back, but as he draws closer he hits a trip wire and gets his head blasted off by four shotguns Jigsaw had hidden in the hallway. Jigsaw then stands up and calmly walks away, apparently having a bulletproof vest on or something.

Back in the bathroom, Adam secretly reads Jigsaw's message over and over again until he finally gets an idea to have Gordon turn off the lights. This reveals an X painted with fluorescent paint on the wall behind Gordon, the doctor breaking it open with his saw to find a small lock box inside. Adam throws him the key from the envelope, Gordon opening it to find a phone, cigarettes, a lighter, and a note inside. The note tells him to keep it a secret from Adam, saying:

“The cigarettes are harmless, I promise. Smoking is only poisonous when it ends in bloodshed. Think about this – you don't need a gun to kill Adam”.

Mulling this over, Gordon tries to call 911 but apparently the phone can only receive calls and not make them. I, uh... sure, I guess that makes sense. Shouldn't this have been a walkie talkie instead? Anyway, this triggers a flashback of the night before where Gordon was in the hospital's parking garage trying to make a call on his cell phone but had the same issue where it wouldn't call out. We can see a man in the pig mask sneaking around behind him, attacking the doctor and capturing him.

Back to the present, Gordon begins to question how Adam knew to turn off the lights. Adam finally shows him the picture, Gordon beginning to break down. He manages to steel himself, turning off the lights (to hide the discussion from the camera) and cooking up a plan with Adam to fake his death by smoking one of the cigarettes dipped in the poisoned blood of the body in the middle of the room. They attempt it, Adam pretending to die with a hilariously bad reaction but suddenly gets electrocuted through his chain which outs him as faking.

This impromptu shock treatment awakens Adam's memory as well, as he gets his own flashback. We see him developing photos in his apartment's dark room, photos which just happen to be of Gordon. Oh ho, the plot thickens... Pig Mask grabs him too, bringing us full circle. The clock on the wall now shows it's a little past 5:30 as the phone begins to ring. Gordon answers, first speaking to a terrified Diana and then Alison who asks if Adam is there. With Zep holding a gun to her head, Alison says Adam is lying to Gordon and knows all about him before the line goes dead.

Gordon confronts Adam over her words, Adam coming clean and admitting he's been following him for days now taking pictures of him cheating on his wife. He opens the bag the saws were in and takes out handfuls of photos, throwing them at the doctor. He tells Gordon he was paid by a tall black man with a scar on his neck for his work, Gordon recognizing that description as Detective Tapp.

Only he's not a detective anymore, he was discharged from the police force after having a breakdown due to Sing's death and has been harassing Gordon ever since. Adam glances at one of the photos on the floor, and it's the shot of Zep peeking out from Gordon's window. Wait, what? TAPP took this picture a few hours ago, how in the fuck did it wind up here?! And there's no way this is an alternate angle Jigsaw himself might have taken, this is LITERALLY the picture Tapp took. RHAAARGH! Massive plothole is massive!

Gordon identifies Zep in the picture as the clock hits 6:00. Zep loads up his gun and has Alison calls Gordon to tell him he's failed, BUT Alison managed to untie herself earlier and tackles Zep. HELL YEAH! She wrestles the gun away from him and tells him to not move, and this is where nearly every single person in the movie theater I was at when I first saw this yelled out “SHOOT HIM!”. This is why you should ALWAYS see a horror movie in a theater if you get a chance to, they play so much better with an audience.

But like all the idiots in this movie that should have pulled the trigger when they had the chance, Alison doesn't which allows Zep to tackle her back. Their struggle causes the gun to go off twice, which draws Tapp's attention across the street and he springs into action. Alison manages to stab Zep in the leg with a pair of scissors as Tapp bursts in, getting into a firefight with the orderly. Alison unties Diana and they get away as Tapp and Zep soon run out of bullets, Zep taking out his opponent with the patented vase of flowers to the head.

He jumps into his car, heading off to the building where Gordon and Adam are being kept with Tapp hot in pursuit. Gordon, having heard the gunfight and the screams over the phone, is now hysterical as he believes his family is dead. He gets electrocuted for a bit which knocks him out for a few moments, but Adam is able to wake him up by throwing debris at him. The phone begins to ring again, but it's too far outside of his reach. Uhh... use your shirt dude! But no, Gordon starts losing his mind and begins to SAW HIS FUCKING FOOT OFF. Adam's reaction to this pretty much sums everything up: pure and undiluted horror This scene is just absolutely beautiful, probably horror's finest moment since Samara crawled out of the television.

Elsewhere in the building Tapp finally catches Zep but gets shot in the chest for his trouble. The now one-footed Gordon crawls across the floor, taking the gun out of the dead man's hand, loading it up with his bullet, and shoots Adam dead. We return to Gordon's house where Alison keeps trying to call her husband on Zep's magic one-way phone. Zep enters and is about to shoot Gordon when Adam, very much dead, springs to life and attacks him. He grabs the lid from the toilet tank and beats Zep to death, Gordon crawling over him to stop him by revealing he just shot him in the shoulder and he'll be fine.

Gordon, starting to go into shock and growing more pale by the moment, says he's going to go get help and promises to come back as he crawls away. Adam searches Zep's body looking for a key, finding a tape recorder instead. Wha?

“Hello Mr. Hindle, or as they called you around the hospital: Zep. I want you to make a choice. There's a slow-acting poison coursing through your system that only I had the antidote for. Will you murder a mother and her child to save yourself? Listen carefully, if you will. There are rules.”.

Before we get to hear the rest of the recording, the dead body in the middle of the room STANDS UP. He takes off the prosthetic head wound he was wearing and HOLY SHIT it's the cancer patient John from the hospital, rocking his bitching soul patch! He tells Adam the key to his chain is in the bathtub as a rapid fire montage plays to attempt to tie all of this together. Adam scrambles to grab Zep's gun to shoot him, but John uses a device in his hand to electrocute him. John stumbles out of the room, turning the lights off and yelling “GAME OVER!” as he slams the door shut.

Cue the credits.

Ohh-kay. Based off his waking up reactions as he gets off the floor, it's safe to assume Jigsaw tranquillized himself so he'd be able to lie completely motionless on a floor for nearly eight hours so I'll spot them that one. Or wait... this raises a question though: HOW DID HE ELECTROCUTE ADAM AND GORDON?!? It definitely wasn't Zep doing it, because the film clearly goes out of its way to show he had no idea what was going on when Gordon turned off the lights. No, it was Jigsaw doing the shocking because he would heard the entire cigarette plan, so there's NO WAY he was sedated.

I can forgive that Adam and Gordon wouldn't notice a body pushing the button on the electrocution device because their attention was drawn elsewhere, but I can't get over him faking death for that long of a time span. On a movie that is so carefully crafted to cover all their bases, this is such a major lapse and even makes Jigsaw getting Zep's photo look not so glaring. Even though it still totally is.

Other than those gigantic plotholes, this is still an amazing movie that stands the test of time a freaking DECADE later. Lord, I'm getting old. Oozing with dramatic tension and genuine intrigue, it stands head and shoulders above pretty much every major studio horror movie in recent times. For being extremely low budget it never shows its seams for a moment, really making you wonder why some movies that literally cost over one hundred times this one look like complete shit.

The acting was top notch all around, but what else would you expect from the caliber of actors they had available for this thing? If you wanted to get really nitpicky you could single out Whannell's performance as lacking, but in the horror genre that's easily overlooked and he gets major props for his reaction at the end when Gordon goes off the deep end.

I'd say this movie is still as innovative as ever, maybe even moreso when you look at how poorly so many other movies (and yes, I'm counting some of its own sequels in that) have tried to copy it and failed. Even Jigsaw's supernatural ability to predict the future in explicit detail was reigned in here, coming off as just a very intelligent villain firmly rooted in reality. Very high recommendation even if you aren't a horror fan, as this movie is surprisingly bloodless when you stop to think about it. Setting the bar this high for a franchise leaves some big shoes for the sequels to fill, so let's see how Lionsgate chose to follow up this highly unique movie.

Find out here!