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Saw

3.8 out of 5 stars 706 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

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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

Special Features

  • 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

Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Dina Meyer
  • Directors: James Wan
  • Writers: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
  • Producers: Daniel J. Heffner, Gregg Hoffman, Jason Constantine, Lark Bernini, Mark Burg
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: February 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (706 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006SSOHC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,494 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Saw" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 17, 2004
When I went to go see "Saw" late last night I was thinking "saw" as the past tense of see and not "saw" as the noun ("a hand or power tool or a machine used to cut hard material and equipped usually with a toothed blade or disk") or as the verb ("to cut with a saw"). What was I thinking? "Saw" is in the Grand Guignol of "Seven" and "The Bone Cutter," and apparently had to make some last minute cuts to avoid getting saddled with a NC-17 rating. That alone with give you an indication of what first time director James Wan and first time writer Leigh Whannell were going for in "Saw," even with only $1.2 million to make the film and 18 days to shoot it.

Adam (Leigh Whannell), a young man, wakes up underwater in a dark room with a chain around his ankle. He is not alone, and when the light come on he finds himself is what appears to be a long abandoned public restroom. At the other end is Lawrence (Cary Elwes), who is also chained to a pipe. On the floor in between them, out of their reach, is the corpse of a man who apparently killed himself with a gun. In his hand is a tape recorder. After becoming oriented to his strange surroundings, Adam discovers a plastic bag in his pocket, containing an envelope. Inside is a key and a small cassette tape with the words "Play Me." Let the game begin.

Beyond that you really do not want to know that much about this before you see it, and given the dreck that passes for horror thrillers in recent years "Saw" is worth the seeing in the theater. The last time I actually went to see a film in this genre in a theater was probably "Hannibal," and I have not had any reason to regret being selective in this regard.
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I'm a hard sell when it comes to horror/thriller type of flicks (even though I was pretty surprised on how much I enjoyed the 2003 version of 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'). And aside from 'Kill Bill' (1 or 2), I cannot remember the last time I was genuinely excited to see an upcoming movie - oh yeah, I can, 'Return of the Jedi' - OK then, so that puts this in perspective.

The clever thing about 'Saw', is its primal simplicity in explaining the human condition. That is, when push comes to shove, a person will do some unsettling things to stay alive (remember that poor SOB that was caught under a boulder in the Rockies a couple winters ago - and had to cut off his own arm with a friggin' credit card to free himself?!). Now imagine you're in a similar siutation, BUT, you don't have to cut your own arm off - just some stranger. The bitter pill goes down a little easier, huh?

'Saw' if nothing else, is simple and unapologetic - and well it should be. 3 hour bio-pics like 'Ghandi' and 'Braveheart' need 20 richly developed characters and $100 million budgets - not horror movies. Besides, a lot of great flicks have ridiculously pedestrian plot lines (remember 'Speed'?). Moreover, if you took at least one social science class at college, 'Saw' is basically a grizzly 90+ minute version of Maslow's Experiment or the Prisoner's Dilemma (you may have to crack open a textbook to cite the reference).

Brass Tax folks - you WILL say to yourself during the movie, "She's not gonna do what I think she's gonna do?"; or "Please, don't tell me what I think is coming next, is actually coming next!". Either way, do yourself a favor and see it in the theater because 1) It may become a classic on the sub-genre; or better yet 2) It'll become a big cult film - and you'll earn bragging rights, 'cause you saw it BEFORE the hype.
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Format: DVD
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 a cassette player and a handgun. Each man is given a tape to play, which provides him with a nice dilemma to ponder during his captivity. The background of the killer and the events leading up to the men's current situation unfolds nicely during narrated recollections and well-placed flashbacks, while the actual motive stays hidden underneath the obvious delight the killer derives from the simple pleasures of torture.

Because SAW also brings to film an excellent `Whodunnit?', I am not going to elaborate on the storyline any further. Suffice to say that Cary Elwes and Danny Glover give excellent performances (Elwes surprising me since I have only seen him in comedy roles), the photography is good, the killing methods tasty, the blood not really overdone but still dosed out well, and the plot sustainable.

Lets face it fans, we don't go to horror movies to learn how to do decoupage, we go to get scared and grossed out. SAW fulfills that primal hankering, leaving you to utter `blech' and `bravo' in the same troubled breath, and wondering what your punishment would be like under the careful ministrations of this psychopath.
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