Saw: A Franchise In Review

In 2004, James Wan and Leigh Whannell entered into the mainstream horror scene with the theatrical release of Saw. Beholden to a slick aesthetic that tends to fall back on shock value—specifically explicit scenes of torture and gore—the film went on to launch a franchise that largely shaped a 2000s era preoccupation with torture porn. Starting with Saw II in 2005, writer and director Darren Lynn Bousman helped to reshape Wan and Whannell’s singular vision into an easily replicated narrative format. Thematically dependent upon actor Tobin Bell’s star-making performance as iconic serial killer-cum-vigilante John “Jigsaw” Kramer, the films that followed Wan’s directorial...

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