99% of the films that come out seem worthless to me, which does tend to set me apart from the ravening hype-crowds. My personal problem is that film has lost connection with art. It feels as though there is so little art to it anymore, it's just a watered down numbers game. With the loss of art came a loss of creativity. I'm so tired of sequels, and prequels, and remakes, and re-imaginings, and spin-offs, and the rest. I can't blame this all on Hollywood; after all, they began to give us less and less and we didn't demand more, we simply took it and acted happy to have it, thereby lowering the standard. The problem is, as soon as you allow your supplier to lower your standards, they can do it again and again and again, until you're happy to have anything at all.
It's all sizzle and no steak. It's like cheap fireworks: sure, we all know the big displays, the ones that are amazing and impressive, but what we mostly pay for (and pay TOO MUCH) are cheap little things that pop...and we seem to happy with it. We've cheapened them all by blowing off so many of these shitty little things that they are now the norm, and they are gone as soon as they happen. Where are the classic films of our time? Where is the Casablanca, the Psycho, the E.T. of our time? It doesn't exist, because, much like everything else, they aren't made to be grand epics, they aren't made to last, they are made to be tissues: used and tossed aside.
We are so distracted by the pithy, funny one-liner and the huge, flashy CGI graphic. Where we could have something that sticks with us beyond lunchtime, we instead suck down the appetizer and walk away from the table (rather garbled metaphor, there, sorry). Special effects should be like condiments: they add to the flavour of the meal, but you don't want them to be the only thing you eat...and a crappy meal is still crap, no matter how much ketchup you put on it. The lack of art is what I lament. Film-makers used to strive to make something beautiful. Now they just want to make something. Rembrandt has left the building, now we have paint-by-numbers.
So, after that unnecessarily long and ranty thing, what brought this all on? Dead Silence. The writer and director of Saw have made a new film, and it's just fabulous. Now, I loved the Saw series, so I was more than willing to give this a chance, and I'll say it: they impressed me, and that's not easy. One of the main reasons why is the art.
There was a lot of effects work in this, both true effects and CGI. What made it great was the fact that it was never big and flashy. The effects added to the movie instead of being the film. The film looked amazing, very engaging. The camera work was smooth and inspired. The script was well-written and well-acted, and didn't go for the cheap laugh. As for actors, they chose good people to do it, and didn't fall into the "get those new, fresh, hip actors in for this" trap. The sets weren't just a place the action happened, but were damn near entities to themselves, making the film even more beautiful. The story was horror in the classic vein, bringing all kinds of elements to it that made it creepy without using the same, tired, cheesy cliché moments that we're all tired of seeing and expecting.
It wasn't a slasher film (almost no blood or gore). It wasn't a "scary movie." It was a horror film in the finest sense, the way it should be done...and expected.