Box Office Cinema Thoughts

The appeal of Saw 4

Saw 4 posterAlthough it wasn’t press screened for UK or US critics Saw IV took a huge slice of the box office over the weekend.

After the relatively disappointing performance of Hostel 2 in the summer, some were predicting that the recent cycle of horror films featuring torture had run its course.

With a highly impressive weekend total of $32.1 million it seems that is not the case, at least with the Saw franchise. I went to a screening in Central London at 5pm and was surprised at how many people were there.

It wasn’t full by any means but it was noticeable at how varied the audience was – it was fairly mixed between males and females of different ages.

For those who haven’t seen the films – or those who avoid them – they all revolve around a serial killer mastermind called Jigsaw. In each film he sets a series of traps (often involving diabolical devices) for his victims which allows them the opportunity to escape if they are prepared to sacrifice something, usually part of their body.

Saw was actually pretty good, two was OK, three poor and four just OK again. But can Saw Vย  sustain what is a remarkably profitable franchise for Lionsgate? Although they are sadistic and gruesome, people clearly want to check them out. But why?

Is it a craving to see shady characters get tortured in ever more elaborate ways? Do people just enjoy the Se7en-like structure in each film which involves a serial killer leaving a riddle for the cops? My feeling is that it could be a little of both.

But what do you think makes them so successful with audiences?

Leave your comments below or email me.

> Check out local showtimes via Google Movies
> Find out more about the Saw franchise at Wikipedia
> Listen to our interview with Tobin Bell from last year