I had not seen Saw since back in early 2005 as a new release DVD, and at the time I loved it. I thought it was such a unique horror film, and I lapped it all up. Usually when I love a film I do not just watch it only once, so why has it taken me so long to revisit Saw? I have no idea, but I am happy I did! I think I loved it even more the second time around, and knowing the outcome this time around I think I picked a lot more up. For those of you reading this review that have not seen Saw, the plot is actually quite simple. Two men Dr Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) wake up in a scummy looking room (a bathroom maybe), both have their ankle’s locked up to a chain. They have no idea how they got there, or why they are there. After finding some audio tapes, they get a tape player off a body that is also in the room, and they hear a message from someone known as ‘Jigsaw’. Dr Gordon works out what might be going on, as he has a connection with ‘Jigsaw’. While these two are trapped, we also see the police investigation of ‘Jigsaw’ and the games that he plays. It doesn’t take long for this to get personal between Det. Tapp (Danny Glover) and ‘Jigsaw’, as he investigates things with his partner Det. Sing (Ken Leung). Slowly motives are revealed, and Dr Gordon and Adam begin to realise what is really at stake and what it will take to survive this game.
This film hooked me in right from the start, the beginning is one of the best I had seen for a long time. These two men waking up the way they do, in the situation they are in, it is frightening. Just being thrust into this situation, much like those two, I had to know what was going on. The film does slowly reveal things, and it does so in such a clever way. The events unfold in sequences and they are not all in chronological order either, which is something I figured out early on during my first viewing. This film is like a jigsaw, you have to put the pieces together, and by the end they are. The antagonist of the story ‘Jigsaw’ is one of the most unique characters I have seen, while we do not see that much of him here, we find out about him. Through the flashback’s of the other games he’s played it is clear he has a serious agenda, and we soon find out where the nickname of ‘Jigsaw’ comes from. I loved the way things get revealed, not only to the audience but to the characters in the film as well. Nothing is what it seems, however there are clues through out the film as to what is going to happen and who ‘Jigsaw’ really is. Upon my first viewing there were a lot of things I did not pick up on, but watching it again, there clues are there as to who he really is.
The characters in this film are great, I loved the dynamic between Dr Gordon and Adam. The focus for a lot of this film is those two, they are stuck together, confused by what is going on and of course unable to really trust each other. I thought Cary Elwes was great in the role, for me he gave a strong and even at times I really did feel for him, especially when his family were involved. Adam too was a good character, while Leigh Whannell (who also wrote the film) isn’t the best actor, I did find him quite entertaining. He certainly had some great lines during the film, was that on purpose? I felt the reactions these characters had to their situation were quite natural, especially as things progressed. On the other side of the fence, Danny Glover delivered the goods, he makes for a good cop. Despite the fact we don’t get to know him as much, I liked his character and I didn’t want to see anything happen to him. Ken Leung was solid as well, I liked him in the time he was in the film. I thought those two made a good detective team. Dina Meyer for her small role was good as well, she usually is in whatever she does. Michael Emerson (Yes Benjamin Linus from Lost) was great in this, again he always is. I actually didn’t remember he was in this, and even watching Lost I didn’t put it together, same goes for Ken Leung. In her small role Shawnee Smith was great, her scenes were intense and brutal and this woman really showed her stuff. Monica Potter was alright as well, she was in it more towards the end. The film does have a lot of smaller roles, but for the most part everyone did well. Saw does have quite solid acting, and that certainly made this a stronger film.
The script for this film is so strong, it is smart, brutal and unique. Leigh Whannell and James Wan came up with something special, they knew the genre was changing and it needed something we were not used to. I applaud their efforts with this film, watching something like this makes me proud to be such a huge fan of the genre. Saw really did set things off, many imitators but not quite getting to the level of this film. You know when a film inspires copy cat’s that is has to be good, and this really is. James Wan has crafted something that is hard to watch at times, but also something so interesting that no matter the horror on screen you can’t look away. The sets here are fantastic, from the set of the bathroom to ‘Jigsaw’s lair, it all looks great and it works so well. I love the fantastic use of colour, for each sequence in the film it changes. The amazing imagination at play for some of the traps we see is just so jaw dropping! I mean that head brace that Amanda finds on her is so shocking, and horrific. I have no idea where they got that from, I don’t think I could have thought that up, even in my worst nightmare! This is one of those films that cleverly plays to everyone’s fears, seeing these people in such impossible situations, it makes you think, could you survive it? How far would you go?
The film actually does have a message, which is from ‘Jigsaw’ and I certainly want to obey him! This film as far as I can remember had one of those unique and unexpected endings, and when a film can do that without being stupid, I really appreciate it. I like to be surprised from time to time, it’s fresh to have something different happen. If you haven’t seen Saw, well what are you waiting for? Don’t have a strong stomach? Well this isn’t as gory as I remember it, but if it feels like it is too much, look away if you dare. This film is definitely one of the best horror films of the past ten years, and you know who we have to thank for that? Two Australian boys (well James wasn’t born here but he was raised here)! Thank you James and Leigh, a job well done to say the least.
Saw was part of my Horror Films For October, you can find the entire list here.

One thought on “Saw

  1. Pingback: Our Weekly Recommendations (October 14th 2011) « Super Marcey's Super Website

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