People who know nothing about horror films still like to take a cheap-shot when they can. They see a film with a 5 or a 6 in the title, and they get all clever: "Wow, part 6 already? Why? Who makes this stuff? Does anyone care anymore?" and all that jazz. Now, before I start ranting proper, I'm not saying that you're WRONG if you don't like the Saw films. I'm just sick of the knee-jerk reactions from people who'd happily mock a "Saw 6," but then run right home to catch the 11th season premiere of "CSI: New Jersey." Matter of fact, that's where I'll start:
It's a Serial!
The massively popular, horror-centric, and entirely silly True Blood is discussed like it's the reinvention of the vampire. (It's not. But it's good.) So far there have been 24 60-minute episodes of True Blood, which equals 1,440 minutes. By comparison the first five Saw films equal about 475 minutes. My point is this: Why should we hear cries of "enough!" on one and "ooooh, more please!" on another? Do the horror geeks not deserve their own equivalent of an "unending" soap opera? Is it fair that people bemoan a Saw 6 yet sit down for General Hospital ... every day for 15 years??
Let's say you work for a company called Twisted Pictures or Lionsgate Films. You rolled the dice on an indie horror flick six years ago, and now it's turned into the golden goose. Your most recent chapter made about $113 million in worldwide box office. So between the money you're generating and the fans you're (clearly) appeasing, why the HELL would you stop making new chapters? Frankly I had enough of Harry Potter after three books, but I didn't wish the series dead just to suit me! Seven movies about a boy wizard are magical, transcendent, wonderful. But a horror fan's serial is what? Pure crap, right? Seems fair to me...
Maybe it's because I grew up in the era of Friday the 13th and Police Academy, but I see some actual effort being put forth in the Saw sequels. But here's the thing: I think (way) back when I bought a ticket to (let's say) Friday the 13th Part 5: A New Beginning. Even at 14 I knew I was going to get the EXACT same movie I got last year, only the actors and the kills would be slightly different. I knew it, and I was fine with it, much like a roller coaster junkie would show up to the same amusement park he visited last summer: Because he likes the ride! But here's the icing: The Saw-makers don't WANT to do the exact same "body count" each time out. They kill off major characters, they try to throw the fans some surprises, they still have dialog aside from "Who's there? Stop it guys, you're creeping me out!" And they're not PG-13.
Do I think the Saw films are above reproach? Hell, no. Aside from the first one, I wouldn't call any of them "horror classics" by any stretch of the imagination. Given that the producers have placed themselves on a "one per year" assembly line, you're of course going to get some ripe performances, some editorial missteps, some unsuccessful diversions, and some plain old bad ideas. (Just like you'd get in any long-running franchise.) And obviously you have the right to avoid "harsh" horror films if they're not to your liking. I'm just sick of the Saw franchise being singled out for crimes committed by virtually every film franchise or TV series under the sun.
Plus 80% of the criticisms come from people way too wimpy to sit through the whole franchise ... so nyeah.