So I've been reading comments on various forums and fellow bloggers over the news Bloody-Disgusting broke over the weekend concerning Shawnee Smith's possible (and now confirmed) return to hopefully the last Saw installment.
Naturally, reaction is all over the place, from disdain to orgasms of horror dork-joy. I fall somewhere in the middle.
I've always felt Leigh Whannell and James Wan fucked themselves royally when they plotted that John have a terminal illness from the start. Of course, this is central to the character's "vigilante moral cleansing." Though when Tobin Bell came in so heavy in the second and third sequel, you can't help but imagine the writers feeling pangs over the inevitable.
I firmly believe Bell's John/Jigsaw deserves to stand among other modern Horror film greats solely based on his performance in the second and third films. You can say what you will about Jason, Micheal, and Leatherface, but really that bunch are essentially dimwits with a ton of fanboy claptrap over their supposed psyches. Englund's Freddy is a comedian with props, but his fall in caricature is well-documented. Bell's character has a learned pathos that's exceedingly rare nowadays in the genre. The creators should be praised, but the role belongs to Tobin. Though that's not to say I'm not annoyed by Jigsaw's tendency to harm/kill police and his trite delivery in the newest sequel. But I'll be damned if I'm not locked on to the tube like a magnet whenever I hear his gravelly voice.
Back to Smith, yes I agree with the majority, she wasn't much to speak of in the second film. Saw III is excellent, if you disregard Angus Macfadyen's forced trap run, with much having to do with the interplay with in the confines of that neon green mock emergency room. Smith displays a perfect blend of "little girl lost" with a tormented yearning for a father figure (lover?) in John. Amanda is prone to annoying fits of whining mixed with cursing, but that's just the childish nature of the character, and Smith conveys it splendidly. I find it in poor taste so many like to rag on the third film as the black sheep. It's the best of the series and far exceeds its "torture porn" moniker.
So my enthusiasm is guarded, especially after the last two toothless debacles. Let's wait and see what's in Jigsaw's puzzle box, shall we?
Gwendoline (Just Jaeckin, 1984)
39 minutes ago