The Mancunion

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I Hate: The Saw films

A lot has been said about the desensitisation of audiences to gore and horror. In the last decade, our preoccupation with our own desensitisation has been escalated, thanks to a series of ‘gorenography’ films; horror flicks that spend most of their time showing us grisly, disgusting deaths, maiming, and quite often some of the most startlingly repulsive images we’re ever likely to see.

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Saw V

  A lot has been said about the desensitisation of audiences to gore and horror. In the last decade, our preoccupation with our own desensitisation has been escalated, thanks to a series of ‘gorenography’ films; horror flicks that spend most of their time showing us grisly, disgusting deaths, maiming, and quite often some of the most startlingly repulsive images we’re ever likely to see. Recently the subgenre has descended to farce (The Human Centipede) and taken a shot at high art (Antichrist) but the jewel in the gorenography crown, the one that keeps bringing the money in, is the Saw franchise.
  But let’s forget about the ethics of desensitisation for a second. Why is it that we’re so unaffected by such theoretically shocking images? Could it be the fact that every time something horrific is about to happen, the suspense is fried by cinematography which jumps around the room on a sugar rush, hammering home that this is scary, and simply doesn’t have the bravery to let the camera sit and watch? Could it be that we’re too busy as an audience trying to figure out where this scene belongs in relation to the rest of the franchise, or whether we’re even supposed to have figured that out yet?
  Or maybe it’s because the actors, lumbered with a script that trades dialogue for character exposition, simply don’t have it in them to make us care that they’re about to be eviscerated, immolated or indefinitely incarcerated. Movies that didn’t suffer from all of these problems wouldn’t have us sat there, complaining that we’re desensitised.
  It’s Halloween, and Saw 3D is out. It looks at least to have had some real money spent on it. Whether they’ve fixed some of the more important problems is another issue.

Alex Little

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