Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Directors and writers commentary.
Music video by Fear Factory 'Bite The Hand That Bleeds'. Making
of the music video. 'Sawed Off' mini featurette.
IN TERMS of grisly fun, Saw is possibly the sharpest, most ingeniously
warped slice of crime/horror to emerge from Hollywood this year.
Co-written by one of the film's stars, Leigh Whannell, and its
first-time director, James Wan, the movie is a gruesome psychological
chiller in the Se7en tradition,
which should keep fans guessing right up until its surprise conclusion.
It wastes no time in plunging viewers into its nightmare scenario,
either, for as it picks up, Adam (Whannell) regains consciousness
after nearly being drowned at the bottom of a bathtub, to find
himself chained to a rusty pipe inside a dark torture chamber.
Chained up with him, on the other side of the room, is Dr Lawrence
Gordon (Cary Elwes), while lying between them is a man lying in
a pool of blood after apparently shooting himself in the head.
Adam and Dr Gordon must therefore piece together the clues left
behind by the deranged criminal mind that has brought them together,
while also being aware that they only have a limited amount of
time to do so, before each of them is killed.
As the two form an unlikely bond, Dr Gordon realises their predicament
is the brainchild of Jigsaw, a twisted serial killer who plays
games with victims, teaching them life lessons through torture.
And as the clock ticks down, the
reasons why the men have been brought together are relayed via
a series of flashbacks that reveal the full extent of Jigsaw's
past crimes, as well as the attempts of Danny Glover's equally
unstable detective to capture him.
Part of the 'fun' in watching Saw unfold lies in watching how
Wan and Whannell continually strive to think up new ways of creeping
their viewers out, while sustaining the claustrophobic tension.
The film is as unrelenting as it is disturbing and succeeds in
getting under your skin and toying with your head in the same
way that David Fincher's masterpiece did.
Indeed, Se7en is undoubtedly the film's biggest source of inspiration,
in terms of look, lighting and mood, even if it ultimately falls
short of Fincher's masterpiece.
Anyone who admired the ingenuity of Se7en's killer can't fail
to be impressed with Jigsaw's 'talents', particularly as each
game forces the viewer to play out the 'what if' scenarios along
with the victims.
The film is let down, however, by some of its visual flourishes,
which owe more to pop video culture than serious horror, and by
some of its twists, which won't stand up to scrutiny by the more
Quibbles aside, however, Saw efficiently achieves what it sets
out to, which is to scare the life out of its viewers, while forcing
them to piece together the puzzle for themselves.
And in both Whannell and Wan, it has uncovered two bright talents,
whom we should be hearing a lot more from in the future.
For out and out chills, twists aplenty and a deft blend of gore
and psychological terror, Saw certainly makes the cut.