Ah! I remember! It was an update of the Carpenters' Superstar...with the catchy chorus of "Don't you remember you told me you loved me baby...etc"
Definitely works well with the material.
I just figured it out too, but only because I matched it to Sonic Youth's version on the Frighteners soundtrack. Then I had to see the movie again, in part to give it another shot and also to see that trailer again. Topic for another thread, but I really hope Haute Tension plays well to a general audience. I thought it was a superlative tension builder with some really honest attempts at horror.
Back to the subject at hand. Spoilers ahoy.
Some parts of Saw
are so wonderfully realized that I think the whole trip is worth it, but some other parts of it are so amateurish that it threatens to sink the whole thing.
I must admit that the gorehound in me was a bit disappointed that they used inference and suggestion more than outright showing. Sing, Zepp, and even a brief shot of the Gordon's foot would have sat quite well with me. That said, I think the sawing off of his foot was overall and excellent realization of the core concept of the movie. In the way that it's kind of tossed away as a concept shortly after the Dr. mentions it, his final desperation move comes to me (and from what I could tell the rest of my audience) as soon as he begins preparing his shirt. Considering that I found the titular concept to be the best part of the film, I'd find myself recommending it on that point.
Shawnee Smith's short section was also quite nice, although it was nearly broken by two parts; the explanation from the dummy was far too long and slowed the excellent momentum from her waking up and they had to say that the opiate meant he couldn't feel anything. That really robs the scene of the worst part of the consequence. But, she does well in the short scene even if most of it is only with her eyes.
Unfortunately, the bad and amatuerish just abounds. I never thought I would find Cary Elwes to be a weak link acting-wise, but both he and Danny Glover came off as inadequate for many of their scenes. It was made all the worse with the terrible flashback segues, which came off as little better than, "he wants us to saw off our limbs. Speaking of Saw, the last thing I saw was my wife arguing with me". I'm usually a fan of time shifted narratives, especially when the main plot thread occurs in a confined space, but here it was painfully clumsy.
I've got quite a few films that I really like that have some really absurd thematic foundations, like The Ring
's videotape leading to phone call and a death seven days later. I can usually run with anything as long as they stick with it and make it meaningful. But this movie was a random grab bag of concepts which were immediately discarded. The mastermind is the Jigsaw killer, but as best I can tell, he only took a jigsaw-shaped section of skin from one victim. Why did he take it from the razor victim and nobody else? Why take a jigsaw piece at all? Did he get a piece from the burn victim? Creepy doll, on a trike no less. Boars head costume? The morality purpose feels weakly lifted from Seven
, and Shawnee even goes so far as to say he helped her (get off drugs?), but how exactly was he going to help the Dr. or Adam? It really feels as weak a justification as the shenanigans going on in Phone Booth
. He sets up the doctor with a pen light six months before he plans to abduct him and his proxy-stalker? All this leads to a mishmash of stuff thrown in and left severly undercooked. Unless there is a hell of backstory on the cutting room floor, this is the madlib version of the twisted killer movie.
In retrospect, I sort of think this film would have worked better if it followed the model of a movie like Cube
. Focus on their creative conundrums and leave the extraneous stuff behind. This film is pretty good for an independant budget release, and whenever they focus on their grisly challenges it really shines.
A point of discussion. I'm really leaning towards Zep being an apprentice of the mastermind. He says he's talked to him, his behavior seems like a sadistic lackey (especially the bit with the stethescope and gun) and he had to have met the mastermind to give him the polaroid of the mother and daughter to place in his wallet. I'm thinking he was given the poison as an added incentive.