Imagine this: You have a rough day at work, you come home upset, angry and hating everything about your life. You lie in bed praying, hoping for something to change... Then you doze off only to wake up somewhere dark, dank and smelling of sewage and rot. You can't move, you hurt all over and then there's a flicker on a television in the distance filling the room with just enough light to see your surroundings. You're in a chair and a heavy, mechanical, rusty piece of metal is strapped to your head. On the TV, a frightening doll with black eyes speaks to you in a deep, gravely tone that would make Batman sound like a Soprano. What would you do? Would you scream for help? Would you listen to the rules the doll tells you to follow? How far would you go to save yourself and be reborn?
In 2004, Australian filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell gave us "Saw," a fresh take on the slasher genre after a long and sometimes grueling slew of sequels and rehashes. I grew up as a fan of the classics. Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Chucky, and Pinhead were my heroes. But, after a while the sequels began to take away from the characters and turn them from psychopaths to twisted, mythical monsters. (I'm looking at you Jason Goes to Hell and Halloween 6)
When "Saw" came out, we had an unseen killer trapping people in their own personal hells and testing their worth. The twist? John Kramer a.k.a. Jigsaw never killed a single person. The traps he set up were elaborate, torturous and painful... But, not inescapable. After years of the same thing and films copying the same thing, it was nice to see something new and fresh and long lasting.
Diagnosed with inoperable cancer and having to endure a great deal of other injustices, he decides to teach people who have wasted their lives a valuable lesson. And here are my top 10 cringe worthy favorites of those lessons...
10. The Water Box Trap. Saw 5
Not my favorite of the films, but this trap always made me uncomfortable. If you are claustrophobic like me, you will know what I mean. Imagine, if you will, awakening with this contraption around your head with no way out... And then, it starts to fill with water. How would you get out? Could you get out?
9. The Angel Trap. Saw 3
Poor Detective Kerry. All she wanted to do was find her fellow Detective and this is how she ended up. Chained to a machine with each of her ribs hooked to an apparatus that would rip them out if she didn't get the key from the acid in time. For me, the trap itself didn't make me cringe as much as her reaching in the acid. Hell of a way to go, don't you think?
8. The Arm Trap. Saw 2
This poor victim foolishly stuck her arms through this innocent looking box to get the needle holding the cure for the nerve gas. Unfortunately, the razor edges of the arms holes made sure she would never leave her spot... the more she fought, the deeper they would cut through her flesh and veins making sure she bled out. Now, if she had just looked at the top of the box first...
7. See No Evil, Speak No Evil. Saw 4
Anything that involves eyes or mouths sewn shut sends shivers down my spine. Luckily, this trap has both! When a greasy lawyer and a random guy we never really know awaken in that same situation... Not only is the lawyer's mouth sewn shut and his unfortunate partner's eyes in the same position, they are chained to a mechanism that will slowly strangle them unless they work together. What happens still makes me cringe.
6. The Car Trap. Saw 7 a.k.a. Saw 3D
Let's face it, Saw 7 was kind of a weak entry in the series. Although the ending wrapped everything up nicely and in my opinion it was pretty bad-ass, I found it hard to really find a trap that made me cringe. This one was most notable for involving Chester Bennington of Linkin Park, but what got me was the fact he was glued or sewn to the car seat and had to rip his flesh away to save his girlfriend from getting her face scrubbed by the tire. The slow tearing of his skin from his body made me grit my teeth.
5. The Needle Pit. Saw 2
I. Hate. Needles. Strange, because I have tattoos and piercings, but if a doctor comes at me with a shot... It's not a proud moment for me. Not a very elaborate trap, but the thought of being tossed in a pit full of those makes me cringe.
4. The Rack. Saw 3
This poor guy. Saw 3 had a lot of violence, but the story was one of the best. The Rack trapped the man that killed the main character's son in a car accident. Slowly, his arms, legs and head are spun round, tearing flesh and popping broken bones through twisted muscle. When his arm snaps... I always gnash my teeth.
3. Chains of Death. Saw 3
This scene... This friggin' scene. I have seen these films a lot, but I still shake my legs and cringe when this guy rips those chains through his flesh. The actor said that it was painful as hell and the practical effects made it look pretty damn real.
2. Face Knives. Saw 4
This wasn't a very good trap. In fact, it was one of his first. But, this list is of the ones that made me cringe, not the best, but pretty elaborate. Cecil here killed John Kramer's unborn son after holding his wife at knife point to get drugs. John secures him to a chair via bolts that will only come free if he pushes his weasel face through a set of knives. He deserved it, but the bolts pulling through his hands always gets me...
1. The Scalping Chair. Saw 4
This one hurts me. I don't just cringe at this scene, I actually grab my head in pain. This girl slowly gets her hair pulled until her scalp begins to rip free. I don't think I even know what the trap is about, who she is or why she it there. All I do know is when her scalp starts to tear off, I lose my head.
I know there are dozens of Saw traps, but none of them get me like these do. A lot of people said the Pig Guts Trap from part 3 made them cringe. It did make me cringe, but it mostly just made me want to puke. So, what trap was your favorite? Which one made you cringe the most?