Saw (2004)

4 stars

Cast: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Shawnee Smith, and Tobin Bell

Director: James Wan

Synopsis: Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why, and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.


The first in the series of a whopping 7 entries and another on the way, the Saw franchise started out as a cool, original concept, and by the 5th film this concept had been stretched out as far as possible, at that point they had already become absurd. Known as torture-porn, the gore and violence had been increased while an imaginative storyline had been ditched.

The first however is one of the best horror films I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. The simplistic structure and tight budget is part of it’s charm. Most of the picture is shot in the iconic bathroom and inside this bathroom are 2 strangers chained by their ankles to a pipe. What follows is excellent horror and the debut of modern horror master: James Wan.

The characters aren’t really explored until the sequels, but we already know what we need to. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) is a doctor, happily married with a daughter and living a high life with a fancy house, car and clothes. He is the polar opposite of Adam (Leigh Whannell) who is the other guy in the bathroom. He looks like a junkie, probably is a junkie and lives in a dirty, cheap rundown apartment. His profession is a private photographer. John Kramer (Tobin Bell) recruits him to take photos of Lawrence’s private life. This is where we learn he is cheating on his wife with one of the practice doctors.

What do Adam and Lawrence have in common? If it’s not evident by now, both of them have sinned, which is the Jigsaw Killer’s motive; punish those who do not appreciate life or who sin.

Easily the most quintessential scene in the film, and probably the entire series, is the ending twist combined with the iconic score composed by Charlie Clouser. The perfection of this scene could possibly result in the greatest scene I have ever seen in film.

Saw is a true horror masterpiece and one of the most imaginative, unique and chilling storylines of all time which introduces us to the intelligently-equal to Dr. Hannibal Lector:  John ‘Jigsaw’ Kramer