Saturday, October 4, 2008

Poster Critique: Saw V

Now I can only admit that I've seen the first Saw movie, and I did think it was a solid movie, and Cary Elwes showed he can still carry a picture even nowadays. I did not think it was particularly great, for all it's devious decisions it put the characters through, it was actually less menacing than I thought coming in. I think Tobin Bell has been an incredibly good heavy over the years from C movies to television shows, he's got a great face, the beady, sleepy eyes have a tiring, alluring, and dangerous effect. It's good to see he has a franchise, and in general, it's actually kind of cool that a franchise can be built around a villian, but part of me feels like a lot of critics pan the series for not having any emotional strength.

I'll probably see Saw V, and catch up to it beforehand with the II, III, and IV, against the judgements of my friends. It is certainly one of the most successful horror franchises and the gore is always noted, as the premise revolves around a visceral obstacle or problem, which can be used to great effect in a story dramatically and visually.

So now we come to Saw V, out for Halloween as per the last four. I chose this poster over the man struggling with the box over his head because besides the tagline for that one: "You won't believe how it ends" I don't think there's much there.

It's to the point where they are able to build buzz by being seemingly elegant and suggestive with the title, leaving out "Saw" and just having the V, which is a strong letter besides being the numeral. The placement at the bottom also leaves the rest of the poster room for no clutter, and leaving out the credits also is a good touch. The Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate logo are less visible under a slight shadow and are mixed up in the arm hair, further leaving the viewer to concentrate on the profile. I really like the Saw artwork over the years and I particularly like this one for it's mystery.

Bell's face can be determined immediately due to the rugged but precise detail, so the viewer is thrown right back into his world, his perspective. He has become this towering figure in the franchise and the main reason why people go to see it; what kind of horrific tests can he think of next? His character, what is the next chapter in his own life? The use of his face as a mask with the messy Jason-ish straps is quite unnerving and very mysterious. The face is so detailed, and the eyes in place and the mask is alive. It presents the question of who is this man, and is he really him? Or is he someone else? Is there a purpose for his blank face, seemingly tired from four previous Saw movies? Or is it the calm before the storm?

All these questions pop up and that's a good thing; I'll want to know if I can figure out any more mysteries to this Jigsaw man, what exactly is there left to explore?

The color is just right, following suit from previous artwork, a kind of blotched, slightly desaturated and grimy tone. The man's hair is tossed, and the ample body hair kind of denotes some sort of beast. But the sedated expression and the mask pulled just so indicates a sort of harmlessness, an elegance almost that clashes with the high contrast background.

I also like how the light illuminates, somewhat harshly, the man's "face", but in essence it doesn't because you know it's just a mask. Everything, although within plain sight and done with great detail, it's just out of the reach of explanation. It's not simple. The fact that it's a profile versus some cheesy head-on shot is also a great advantage. The man may look like he is in a stupor, but again, it's just a mask, so what do we know? We'll have to find out.

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