The Saw franchise gets a great deal of recognition (or at least attention) for being the terminus of the casual filmgoer's tolerance for shock horror and gorecore. "Sure, I like scary movies, but I just don't go for that gross stuff like Saw," or some such repartee seems to punctuate most every conversation regarding the state of modern horror. A tad unfortunate, this, given that the Saw flicks have maintained a fairly consistent level of sub-mediocrity over the course of six (it is six, right?) films.
Allow me to propose a paradigm shift by way of the following five films, each of which should serve as a far more effective touchstone of cinematic depravity than anything Tobin Bell could muster. These are the kind of movies that, regardless of how much you may respect their ambitions, you really don't plan to watch again, like, ever. Listed below in order of decreasing re-watchability--and, ironically enough, increasing quality--are the top five films that Yours Truly just didn't have the stones to give more than a single spin around the DVD player.
The weakest flick on this list is probably the best starting point for further exploration in the world of new-wave gorecore. Director Xavier Gens plays with many of the tropes providing the groundwork for the genre: rural/suburban environs, familial dysfunction, and, of course, bodily mutilation. Lessons Learned: Rather than spending the night in the secluded hostel, it'd probably be wiser to drive a few more miles and find a Holiday Inn Express, or something.
Loneliness and mental illness are a dangerous cocktail; throw a case of mistaken identity in the mix, and some truly unpleasant situations are sure to arise. Lessons Learned: Don't go to Belgium.
Shakespeare may have dubbed jealousy the green-eyed monster, but this French horror flick finds its agent of envy in a black-clad Beatrice Dalle who cuts a blood-red swath of destruction with a pair of very menacing sewing shears. Lessons Learned: Don't understimate the degree to which someone may want what you have.
Achieving some new apogee of meta-sensibility, audiences will come out the other side of Pascal Laugier's flick feeling almost as brutalized as the protagonists themselves. Almost. Lessons Learned: Maybe you should just let your friends fight their own battles.
Tune in at...some point...for further top fives.