1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Saw (DVD)
My corny title is not just there to be funny in a stupid way, as it is also meant to convey to horror fans who have not seen SAW, thinking it to be another HOSTEL/HILLS HAVE EYES/any "let's torture young people for fun instead of trying to be, you know, scary" movie, that it's definitely worth their time. I have not seen SAW's sequels (though I liked this one enough to see the others), but I can say that this movie is more in the SE7EN kind of vein than the torture porn flicks we've been subjected to over the last few years. Yes, it is quite often gruesome, graphic, and disturbing, but it is all accredited to a very clever and darkly interesting premise.
We are introduced to our two protagonists (if they can be called that, as they have their vices) first, workaholic doctor Lawrence (Cary Elwes) and cocky youngster Adam (screenwriter Leigh Whannell), who awaken in a dark room resembling a larger version of a prison cell, each of them chained to pipes adjacent from each other. In the center is a dead body holding an unloaded gun with a gunshot wound to the head and a tape recorder. Adam and Lawrence each have tapes to be played on that recorder, on which a raspy voice, their captor, informs Lawrence that he must kill Adam by 6:00 that night, or he will kill Lawrence's wife and daughter. To further explain what could possibly be going on, Adam and Lawrence both tell certain stories about their past, leading to flashbacks where we are introduced to other key characters like policeman Det. David Tapp (Danny Glover) and his partner, Det. Steven Sing (Ken Leung), who are on the trail of the Jigsaw Killer, a sadistic serial killer who forces his victims to save their own lives through twisted puzzles and games. Lawrence believes this Jigsaw is their holder, and that Tapp believes Lawrence is somehow in cahoots with Jigsaw. More plot complications pile on top of each other, leading to the bloody, shocking finale, which whether you like it or not, is a doozy.
Writer Whannell and director James Wan, both newcomers, showcase a great confidence towards filmmaking, as Whannell's writing is very fluid and engrossing (I'm not saying he's David Mamet, but for someone not much older than college age he's very talented) and Wan's direction points toward a long future in filmmaking. Elwes should have won some sort of horror acting award or at least award for best desperate screaming and wailing (something I can't quite say for Whannell, a much better writer than he is an actor, though he's more than adequate in his role). I can't tell you if the sequels are able to have a nice psychological thriller along with the blood and guts, but this one has it and more.