Director: James Wan – Starring: Leigh Whannel, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover
Updated: 10-09-2004

How far would you go to save your own life? What if you woke up, shackled to a pipe inside a room and had nothing but a manual saw? What if that little serrated blade wouldn’t cut through the case hardened chain, the shackle, or the lock? It would probably get through flesh and bone, though… Hm. It’s no revelation when I tell you that animals caught in steel traps have been known to gnaw through their own limbs to free themselves. A year ago, a lone hiker in Utah made national news when, after his arm was pinned by an 800-pound boulder, he cut it off at the wrist with a pen knife to free himself.


So that’s the set-up for Saw, the latest horror movie to ask the question: What would you do? Adam (Leigh Whannel) and Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) both wake up, after being separately knocked out, in a filthy room and shackled to metal wall pipes. In the middle of the floor, directly between them, is a dead man lying sprawled in a pool of blood with a pistol resting in his hand. Adam and Larry don’t know each other, neither has any idea how they got there, or why they are there. Each has a recorded note, explaining how they can save their lives. The solution involves… one killing the other.


As the story unfolds, we learn that maybe Adam and Larry do have a connection. Maybe Larry does have an inkling as to who could be behind the macabre, potentially deadly joke. You see, a few months back Larry was a suspect in the unsolved crimes of a serial abductor and killer known only as “Jigsaw” – the cop who questioned Larry, Detective Tapp (Danny Glover) only reluctantly let him go. Is Larry the “Jigsaw”, or is he really only an innocent victim?


There are elements of Seven, Phone Booth, Cube, Play Misty for Me, and Kiss the Girls (which, incidentally, starred Elwes) in Saw. While Saw is indeed derivative, it takes the best elements of what we love from those kinds of movies and makes them work to its advantage. To say very much more about Saw would only spoil the fun, so I won’t reveal the plot any further.


The acting (“Adam” is played by the film’s screenwriter, by the way) is above average for this sort of thing, and the direction is mostly taut, edge-of-your-seat and cringe-inducing. Mostly. There are a few instances in which Saw loses its edge, mainly towards the end. In fact, it almost seems like a different movie from a certain point on. The use of accelerated time (again, only employed toward the end) is puzzling. It serves no purpose, and it is not at all apropos to the story (unlike, say, A Clockwork Orange, Trainspotting, or Snatch).


The horror is no-holds barred. If you like really gruesome, gory thrillers with a touch of macabre mystery and suspense, then by all means: See Saw.

Latest User Comments:
Loved it! justifies my fascination for the name:rolleyes:
07-10-2006 by freaky_jigSAW discuss
I Really enjoyed this film particurly the Clastrophobia (did I spell that right?) of it... Tho one minor irk... was it me or am I imagining things but did Elwes accent start comming though when he was in the midst of a particularly emotional speach or when yelling?
03-24-2006 by ProngZ discuss
SAW"S the mad shit
12-13-2004 by gnarly discuss