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Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer is abducting morally wayward people and forcing them to play horrific games for their own survival. Faced with impossible choices, each victim must struggle to win back his/her life, or else die trying.
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 seen Seven and any number of other arty existential-psycho-cat-and-mouse thrillers, so he's provided Saw with 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
- Audio commentary with director James Wan and writer/actor Leigh Whannell
- Fear Factory's "Bite the Hand That Bleeds" music video
- Making of "Bite the Hand That Bleeds"
- Making of Saw
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This is where Saw gets my praise for being very original. It's certainly scary at times and packed with grit, but it also has a side of it that makes you think. Kind of a mystery to be solved, and when the answer is revealed in the heightened climax, its quite rewarding cause no one could have ever seen it coming. The story uses flashbacks and pieces them together like a puzzle up til the very end, and just when you thought you knew what the puzzle is going to look like, it turns out to be a whole other picture. The traps in Saw also carry originality, putting people in near impossible situations to escape, but not impossible. Our villain Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is no murderer, but he finds ways for people to kill themselves - which is usually the case. The reason for the traps is explained as a game you must play (in Jigsaw's eyes) to test and see how much you desire life. Generally those placed in the traps are not grateful to be alive, and these horrific games quickly put things in perspective. Once you see these scenes, its enough to say "Yes I am grateful."
The cast is an interesting mix for a horror film. Danny Glover is probably the most famous actor associated with the film, but the script is somewhat limited for his role that any actor probably could have pulled it off. Cary Elwes is also an interesting addition when I think back to his roles in Princess Bride and Men in Tights...his character is the main focus in this film and his acting may have been better suited in non-horror films. Tobin Bell, while he gets very little screen-time as Jigsaw and even then he is usually wearing a cloak, he feels like a perfect cast (though I say this after watching the Saw sequals where he gets a lot more screentime). Tobin Bell is to Jigsaw like Anthony Hopkins is to Hannibal Lecter - you see the actor's face and that's the role he was born for.
Overall, Saw brings a variety to a horror film, though really its much more than your basic horror film. It focuses less on scares and more on what's truly scary - very disturbing scenarios that ask a simple question, and the mystery of events that is impossible to solve.
Acting - 3
Characters - 3.5
Horror/Gore - 4.5
Story - 4.5
Overall - 4
Dark, gruesome, violent and smart psychological horror crime thriller with excellent acting especially by Danny Glover, Monica Porter, Michael Emerson and others. The direction by James Wan is very good as well as the script he wrote which is quite well written, this movie is an edge of your seat thrill ride that isn't for the faint of heart but for those brave enough to enjoy this movie. There's plenty of twists and turns throughout this movie that includes one scary looking puppet that the killer uses to terrorize his victims, there's also a nice twist at the end of this movie.
This 2-Disc Uncut Unrated Special Edition has good picture and quality sound with the movie being shown in it's unrated version with footage that was trimmed down to avoid an "NC-17" rating. The extras include two audio commentaries, the original shortfilm "Saw" that inspired this movie, behind the scenes featurette, alternate storyboard sequence, and more. If your into psychological thrillers or horror movies then add this to your DVD collection right now!
Also recommended: "Pin", "Tourist Trap", "Silence of the Lambs", "Se7en", "The Bone collector", "The Sixth Sense", "The Game", "Suspiria", "Hostel", "Men Behind The Sun", "Saw 2", "Magic", "Manhunter", "Freddy Vs. Jason", "A Nightmare on Elm Street", "Psycho ( 1960)", "Kiss The Girls", "End of Days", "Double Jeopardy", "Last House on The Left", "Maniac ( 1980)", "House on The Edge of the Park", "Ichi The Killer", "Sin City", "Kill Bill Vol. 1", "Reservoir Dogs", "Battle Royale", "Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky", "Scream 1 & 2", "Final Destination Trilogy", "High Tension", "Deep Red", "Tenebre", "Opera", "May", "Love Object", "The Descend", "Wolf Creek", "The Cell", "Phenomena", "L.A. Confidential", "High Crimes", "Perfect Blue", "Intruder", "Halloween 1 & 2", "Friday The 13th series", "Red Dragon", "Hannibal", "Hellraiser 1 & 2", "Bloodsucking Freaks", "Cannibal Ferox", and "Silent Hill".