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Saw

Horror film released in 2004, directed by James Wan

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Just Barely One Cut Above the Rest.

  • Sep 13, 2006
Rating:
+3
With an unoriginal script full of plot holes, a limited budget, cheesy acting, and a twist (though a cop-out) ending, SAW could have been another washed-up horror movie. Instead, it became the surprise horror hit of 2004, birthed a new killer icon--the Jigsaw Killer, prompted two sequels (so far), earned over $100 million worldwide, and revived the movie career of Cary Elwes.

The film opens in a disgusting, dirty, disused, and probably diseased bathroom with two men, Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) chained at opposite ends of the room to pipes by their ankles with an apparent dead man lying between them. The dead guy holds a tape player and a handgun and each of the men has a tape in their back pocket. They each play their tapes: one is threatened, but the other isn't. Dr. Gordon must kill Adam by 6:00 or his wife and daughter will die. The men discover hacksaws in a toilet, but fail to cut through their chains. Time is running out. Meanwhile, Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover) is hunting Jigsaw as the movie flashbacks to scenes showing some of Jigsaw's other victims. Jigsaw wears a giant puppet head and he never actually kills his victims himself. Instead, he forces them to kill themselves or to kill each other, the whole time watching his little "game" which he believes is a public service to set people free (think of a psychotic and murderous Tyler Burden from FIGHT CLUB). Put it all together and it makes for one bizarre movie.

Personally, I found SAW to be better than I had expected it to. The idea of a gamemaster who doesn't actually kill anyone himself but lets them do what he wants them to, is an interesting concept. Danny Glover is a pleasure to watch on film and it was nice to see Cary Elwes again, even if his performance was terrible. There's a lot of blood and guts in the film, though much of it has been toned down through editing and lighting, yet there are some things that the filmmakers leave up to one's imagination.

Overall, even though SAW is pretty much an average horror flick, it has enough sparks of originality to make it one cut above the rest.

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More Saw (2004 movie) reviews
review by . December 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
*** out of ****      Before seeing "Saw", I will warn you that you may throw up. You may be unsettled by the film's violence and gore as well as the atmosphere, which could make it all the more upsetting. Nevertheless, that was simply a warning. I personally liked "Saw", as it was a well made thriller. By now I bet you're already saying, "Thriller? I thought this was a horror film." Allow me to explain some things. In the minds of many, "Saw" …
review by . May 16, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I Saw This Several Times
Prior to 2004, we rarely had the pleasure of seeing a psychological film with the level of intensity as seen here. In fact, Lions Gate was one of the few studios which actually would give us something as violent as this. Those of you who haven't seen this film are in for a nice surprise. Don't let the cast such as Cary Elwes or Danny Glover fool you. Saw is as vicious or bloody film as the multiplex theatres would allow you to see.      The premise is actually pretty …
review by . May 15, 2009
Saw is a excellent horror film. I went into the movie theater with pretty low expectations. Great, another lame horror film with a lot of jump cuts and flashing images. The film had those but they were used very well. The direction and acting were all up to par.  The story line's interesting as well because the characters seem real instead of your usual cardboard cut outs.    The film starts off with two guys in a barren wash room, decay is present everywhere and a corpse …
review by . November 13, 2008
SAW
With some of the PG-13 tripe coming out as horror nowadays, SAW is a refreshing step back into the good old days where horror meant blood, and blood meant horror. No annoying harpies or pretty pictures of hell or tragically humanized vampires here, just an ingenious killer with an obscure motive.     SAW dives right into the depths of the madness too, opening with our killer's current victims, two men chained on opposite ends of a filthy restroom, a body in the center clutching …
review by . October 23, 2007
Pros: Twisted plot (in more ways than one), get ready for a good scare     Cons: Twisted plot (in more ways than one), get ready for a good scare     The Bottom Line: High-end actors, buckets o'suspense, and plenty of twists to keep your heart rate up.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. I realize, as Halloween creeps closer, that I’ve failed to review SAW II, but I figure before I review that, …
review by . June 03, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
Saw, starring Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, and Cary Elwes is an intense roller coaster with twists and turns and hairpin curves. Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) wake up, each chained by the leg to a pipe in a filthy old utility room, prisoners of a criminal called Jigsaw who plays with the minds of his victims by devising tortuous games forcing them to choose between the lesser of two evils in order to live.    The movie transcends beyond a classic …
review by . April 04, 2005
Audiences are jaded, especially horror fans, so it's extremely hard in this day and age to make a truly disturbing film on either the visual or plot levels without coming across as trying to hard. This film skates the edge of "trying to hard", and in my opinion falls on the side of genuine. What I like is that this film is stepping in the right direction, away from teen horror flicks and the "I'm a ghost and didn't know it" flicks that seem to dominate the genre. One of this films strengths is that …
review by . February 17, 2005
Grand Guignol! This low budget horror flick falls into that category - stories that are meant to horrify audiences. And it succeeds, on many levels. Written by Director James Wan and actor (in this film) Leigh Whannell, SAW drags us into the darkened sewer where Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) are chained to opposite sides of a filthy room, the centerpiece of which is a corpse recently dead by gunshot suicide. Yet on this corpse is a tape recorder and after some otherworldly …
review by . December 30, 2004
I went to "see saw", simply because I am a huge elwes fan. I haven't always liked every film he's been apart of, but all in all he's very dependable. After reading the reviews of several critics and balancing whether or not I should spend the twenty bucks, I sauntered into the theater with low expectations. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised.    Saw opens with two men in complete darkness. Only their voices are heard, as they figure out a way to turn the lights on. It takes …
review by . November 04, 2004
Pros: Great story idea, nice effects, not a jumpy film     Cons: Acting.     The Bottom Line: Great story idea; not a "boo!!!! Scared ya..." flick, thankfully. Poor acting decreases the rating, unfortunately     For most people, horror films are either a "yay" or a "nay." They're a yay for me, but I never get to see them as for my boyfriend, they're a "Hell no!!!" I was surprised when said boyfriend invited me to watch Saw... "Come on, …
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About this movie

Wiki

The first film of the Saw series.

Filmed in 18 days.

Originally rated NC-17 until the filmmakers slightly edited a few scenes in order to receive an R-rating.

Adam (Leigh Whannell) wakes up in a dank room across from Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and the body of a guy who has blown his own brains out. Not a happy place, obviously, and it gets worse when both men realize that they've been chained and pitted against one another by an unseen but apparently omniscient maniac who's screwing with their psyches as payment for past sins. Director James Wan, who concocted this grimy distraction with screenwriter Whannell, has seenSevenand any number of other arty existential-psycho-cat-and-mouse thrillers, so he's providedSawwith a little flash, a little blood, and a lot of ways to distract you from the fact that it doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Wan and Whannell (who's not the most accomplished actor, either) pile on the plot twists, which after some initially novel ideas become increasingly juvenile. Elwes works hard but looks embarrassed, and the estimable Danny Glover suffers as the obsessed detective on the case. The denouement will probably surprise you, but it won't get you back the previous 98 minutes.--Steve Wiecking
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Details

Director: James Wan
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 29, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: Evolution Entertainment, Twisted Pictures, Lions Gate Films
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