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Horror film released in 2004, directed by James Wan

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The next time someone asks if I want to play a game, I'm saying "NO."

  • Oct 23, 2007
  • by
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, I should review the first one.

SAW in a nutshell: If you don’t appreciate life, a man dubbed the Jigsaw Killer will find you and put you in a survive-or-die situation. Oh, he doesn’t kill you straightaway, but he does find interesting ways for you to kill yourself or allow yourself to be killed. Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) are two men that find themselves in this position. And while they’re busy trying to escape their situation, Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover) seeks a way, any way, to stop Jigsaw.

First off, I have to say when I saw the previews for this I thought, “Bleh, another movie full of people dying in horrible ways. Boring.” Then I heard that Elwes and Glover were in it and was surprised. When is the last time (if ever) one of those guys popped up in a horror movie? Interesting.

One other thing I feel I should add – I’m not a fan of horror movies. I don’t watch them that often (if ever) unless I feel a particular itch to (which is maybe once a year).

Ok, moving on. SAW is indeed pretty freaky. Jigsaw has some incredibly creative ways of taking out his victims. What I liked most about this movie was that it had an actual, in-depth plot. A lot of other horror/gore movies are just that; they focus on some person/force that methodically dispatches a bunch of people (usually teens, and often most of them girls – what’s up with that? So unfair), and tosses in a lot of blood and ridiculous gore just for the heck of it. In those respects, I know plenty of horror fans who are disappointed that the horror genre has gone from truly freakish to nothing but cardboard gore-fests. Yawn. And I’m not even a fan, but geez, even I can appreciate a good plot.

You find out why Jigsaw abducts each person, and eventually find out who Jigsaw is (oh the twists!), and how some of these abductees are intertwined. This mostly focuses on Dr. Gordon and Adam, as they are the ones stuck in a decrepit bathroom, their ankles shackled with thick chains. The things they have to go through, the “game” they have to beat. Eeeeeh. Not pretty. But very twisty. I like twisty. There are plenty of people you feel bad for, others you wish would make it out…actually a lot of them you wish would make it out just because, let’s face it, the situation they’re in sucks.

The acting was pretty good, as to be expected from everyone involved. Poor Cary Elwes. I felt so bad for him. Anguish and pain, good job. At times it still seemed weird to see him and Danny Glover in this movie because I’ve never seen them in these positions, but hey, they did great.

Of course, you’ll have to watch out for the freak out factor. It’s a great balance of both psychological “Ohmigod” and gore “Ew ohmigod.” I found myself quite pleased (if I can use that word for this movie, haha). Honestly, I never thought I’d like this movie. I flip off movies like Scream, and crap like Final Destination just made me sick (it wasn’t horror, it was horrible). But SAW had some substance to it. Granted, I wanted to know what happened to a certain character at the end (did he live, die, what?? Personally, I think he had a perfectly good chance of surviving, if you’ve ever heard of any mountain climbing survival stories before) and there were a few inconsistencies…well, maybe not inconsistencies, but the way everyone talked and such, I was under the impression Jigsaw always gave his victims a chance to survive – flat out killing police officers and a child doesn’t fit him, but oh well.

If nothing else, maybe this movie will help you appreciate life more. Eeh…


This review has been submitted to CaptainD's Good Movie Write Off (if you can believe it)


Viewing Format: DVD
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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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
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 . September 13, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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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Age: 27 Currently: Freelancing my butt off and querying my other novel, Blood for Wolves. Who likes seriously factured fairy tales? =D      Like books? Then take it from a real, live … more
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About this movie


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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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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