Movie Reviews: Saw 3D and Hammer’s Wakewood
The Bank Holiday weekend has allowed me to catch up on some much needed horror releases.
First up, we have Saw 3D, the final chapter in the Saw franchise.
The first film in the series I saw was Saw 2 and I have to be honest: the first five minutes were utterly gripping.
I feared to carry on watching but damn it, I could not turn away.
The rest of the film, sadly, lacked any of the tension or coherent plot.
I made a point to check out the first one: which as a thriller and a concept was rather good. But I gave the intermediary sequels a miss based on how poor number 2 had been.
Knowing Saw 3D to be the final one, I guessed the film’s producers would have pulled out the stops to go out with a bang and decided to test conventional wisdom.
Grudgingly, I have to admit that all the traps laid out in the final film are utterly compelling (as well as repulsive).
It’s almost as if the film’s producers have watched a Loony Tunes cartoon and decided to copy the traps into the real world.
I preferred the fact that a film franchise which is fundamentally about torturing cardboard characters for 90 minutes had actually put some original thought into the very scenes that made it notorious.
Films like Alien vs Predator, et al extensions to a franchise nearly always forget what made their originals popular.
In this sense, Saw 3D stays true to its roots.
That said, the acting is terrible and the plot makes no sense. Again, staying true to its roots.
On the flip side we have Hammer’s return to the pitch with its new film Wakewood.
Set in the UK, Wakewood tells the familiar be careful what you wish for plot with a pair of grieving parents wishing for the return of their child who was mauled a year ago with the help of witchcraft.
The plot is nothing new: Godsend (2004) covered this ground with cloning at the heart of its story rather than mysticism.
Don’t Look Now, The Monkey’s Paw are also forerunners. More recent pictures like The Door have reinvented fresh and exciting plots around the resurrection motif.
So, the question becomes, what does Wakewood bring that’s new to the genre as well as a plot that’s been well-worn?
The answer: not much. The film plods along for the first two thirds and then races to a bloody conclusion for the finale.
That’s not to say the film does not have merit. The acting is superb.
Timothy Spall as the village elder clearly relishes his part. He gets the balance between humour and strangeness just right. Aidan Gillen portrays a genuinely upset and hopeful father throughout the film that you feel what he’s going through.
The challenge for Hammer in this age is one of relevance.
With Wakewood it’s shown that it can make distinctly British films, but if it’s to move forward it must make an effort to reach a contemporary audience.
The Channel 5 television show Urban Gothic came much closer to reinterpreting a modern version of Hammer in the late 2000s. The show was low budget—but the acting and execution of concepts were top notch.