Directed by James Wan
Written by Leigh Whannell and James Wan
Starring: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, and Michael Emerson
With a dead body laying between them, two strangers wake up in the secure lair of a serial killer who’s been nicknamed “Jigsaw”. The men must follow various rules and objectives if they wish to survive and win the deadly game set for them.
I’d forgotten how awesome the first Saw film is. When I think of the franchise now, I just see a series of terrible cashed checks. Any originality or entertainment value died with the sophomore effort of Saw 2. The first two were great in my opinion, the rest were just cash grabs, and poorly written and executed grabs at that. Such a shame for a top-notch original horror film like Saw. Barely scraping in below a NC-17 rating, this film does what Hollywood has a hard time producing; creating an original idea. Saw gave us a new and interesting “killer”, and opened us up to a dark and unfathomable world in this 2004 sleeper. I like my horror EVIL and that’s the way it should be. Horror has a terrible tendency to deliver either fluff or completely over-the-top killfests that serve no greater purpose but to fulfill Hollywood’s flavor of the weeks contractual obligations. Trust horror fans, we can take it. We prefer it.
The premise behind Saw is fantastic. Two men wake up in what appears to be an old warehouse. They’re chained to floor at the ankle, between the two groggy men lays a bloody dead body, his fingers still clutching a gun and a tape recorder. An infamous serial killer called “Jigsaw” has abducted Dr Lawrence Gordon (Elwes) and Adam (Whannel) with a drastic game in mind. They play the tape in the recorder and a distorted voice tells Gordon he has six hours to kill Adam, otherwise Jigsaw will kill Gordon’s wife and young daughter. The pair frantically scramble to find a way out, showing us these two men may be more connected than they thought. The extended opening scene is shot under the harshness of fluorescent light and darkness. It has that whole creepy and washed-out green look to it. It makes the viewer uncomfortable from its opening scenes and doesn’t stop until the bizarre ending. Unlike most of these “riveting” horror flicks, this has no cliché ending. It actually pulls out a move from the WTF playbook that shocks and excites the viewer. The mere fact that we never predict it, just adds to the excitement. I still remember the moviegoers saying “No fucking way..”
Saw delivered a cool angle to the world of horror. Our antagonist never actually kills his victims, instead he puts them in situations where they must accomplish the unthinkable to gain freedom. Elaborate traps are constructed for the victims, causing them to nearly die from fear as they race to save themselves. The traps are demented and terrifying, often guaranteeing the promise of self-mutilation of some kind to remain alive
“Did that butter churn just move?? Cause if it did…”
How long would you last of you woke up with a freaking reverse bear trap wired into your jaw? All you have to do is get the key and unlock the back of the trap while a very audible timer counts down to an inside-out face. Sorry, see you soon, Jesus. I would never make it. Saw isn’t for everyone, the entire film is marked with these scenes via flashbacks. Wan leads us to some dark places, never letting us know too much at once, but giving us slow tidbits until we can’t take it any longer. Every horror movie fan can legitimately cringe as they watch this. Saw will also sell you on the creep factor of a weird puppet on a tricycle. I don’t know any horror movie fans that haven’t seen this film, but if you haven’t – be ready.