Saw

"OK"

Saw Review


You know how some movies have perfect trailers -- so imaginatively cut together that you can't help but have to see the movie when it comes out? And then you see the movie and it kinda sucks?

Saw is that movie.

The Saw trailer almost made me soil myself, and that was just from watching it in a 2-inch-wide screen at my desk and in broad daylight. Saw's story is high-concept and tantalizing: A madman is forcing strangers to play sick games as some form of punishment: A wrist-slashing suicide survivor is forced to burrow through a room full of razor wire or else he'll be entombed in the chamber. A drug addict has to chop a key out of a living person's stomach to keep her face from exploding. And a doctor (Cary Elwes) finds himself chained in a dingy toilet with a stranger (Leigh Whannell), with a dead body between the two. Mind games ensue, as a series of messages and clues indicate that one will have to kill the other, and perhaps both will be forced to use hacksaws on their own extremities in order to escape. Our killer never kills anyone directly: He simply engineers it so they kill themselves during the game.

Creepy stuff, and the premise is tantalizingly exciting, but first-time director James Wan screws up every opportunity to make Saw into a classic.

The biggest problem is that Saw's big draw -- the sick games -- are all backstory, with the exception of the toilet scenario, which plays out in bits and pieces over the course of the movie. We see bits and pieces of them in flashback, but on the whole they're glossed over. And the lone thrill of the girl fumbling with intestines isn't nearly matched by the long stretches of build-up where nothing happens.

Worse, Wan adopts a tried-and-tired heavy metal music video editing style (with matching soundtrack, natch), which further removes us from the action. It's hard to be frightened or even thrilled when the camera is whip-panning around a cell and herky-jerky jump-cutting through a scene. The effect rips you out of any sense of reality and makes you feel like you're watching a cartoon. Saw's flashbacks aren't terrifying, they're mentally grating. I had more fun listening to the hecklers in the audience.

Some of the film is truly thrilling, but by and large it's the usual dude-in-a-closet kind of scares, relying on a captured child and wife (Monica Potter, hitting a personal all-time low for acting ability) to manufacture suspense. There's also an appropriately twisty ending that is quite impossible to see coming, yet which is ultimately an unsatisfying copout that falls apart five minutes after you leave the theater.

Before the screening, writer/co-star Whannell said that some people had compared Saw to Seven. This is true only to the extent that they both have one-word titles beginning with the letter S. Don't buy the hype. Just watch the trailer again and pretend that you saw a better movie.



Saw

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

In Theaters: Friday 29th October 2004

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $102M

Budget: $1.2M

Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Production compaines: Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures, Evolution Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 87 Rotten: 94

IMDB: 7.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Adam, as Dr. Lawrence Gordon, as Detective David Tapp, as Detective Steven Sing, as Kerry, Mike Butters as Paul, Paul Gutrecht as Mark, as Zep Hindle, as Brett, as Amanda, as Diana Gordon, as Alison Gordon, as Jeff, Alexandra Bokyun Chun as Carla, Avner Garbi as Father, as John

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.