A wolf, caught in a trap, will chew his leg off to escape
Feb 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 instructions, each man finds a tape on his person that gives instructions on how to take up the next hour and a half of grisly fantasy.
It seems there are loonies out there whose sick minds seek retribution for being ignored or abused by the characters trapped in the sewer lounge. Included in this mélange are Dr. Gordon's wife (Monica Potter) and his daughter, medical and patient personnel from Gordon's oncology practice, and two detectives (Danny Glover and Ken Leung) exploring a serial killer bent on have victims kill themselves in bizarrely medieval methods. It now seems the good doctor and Adam are the latest players in the sicko's trail and how all this works out is a cat and mouse chase and pulse-pounding (?thudding) run to the finish. No, giving away the ending would weaken the effect of the story, so leave that alone. Just be ready to accept the fact that much is left unresolved, making it VERY obvious that we re in for SAW 2 sometime this year.
If you love SEVEN, SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, HANNIBAL, and other grisly shows, you'll love this little movie. Despite its numerous flaws it does succeed in keeping you puzzled enough to overlook the bad acting. And that is all you can ask from this genre! Grady Harp, February 2005
*** 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" … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 Ive failed to review SAW II, but I figure before I review that, … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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 … more
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, … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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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