CORPORATE LINE: How far would you go to save your own life? Prepare yourself for a gut-wrenching trip into the heart of terror with SAW, Lions Gate Films’ gripping horror film starring Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter and Leigh Whannell. Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer is abducting morally wayward people and forcing them to play macabre games for their own survival. Faced with impossible choices, each victim must struggle to win back his/her life, or else die trying…
A young man named Adam (LEIGH WHANNELL) wakes to find himself chained to a rusty pipe inside a decrepit subterranean chamber. Chained to the opposite side of the room is another bewildered captive, Dr. Lawrence Gordon (CARY ELWES). Between them is a dead man lying in a pool of blood, holding a .38 in his hand. Neither man knows why he has been abducted, but instructions left on a microcassette order Dr. Gordon to kill Adam within eight hours. If he fails to do so, then both men will die; Dr. Gordon’s wife, Alison (MONICA POTTER), and his daughter will also be killed. Recalling a recent murder investigation by a police detective named Tapp (DANNY GLOVER), Dr. Gordon realizes he and Adam are the next victims of a psychopathic genius known only as “Jigsaw.” With only a few hours left to spare, they must unravel the elaborate puzzle of their fate in the midst of mounting terror. The killer has provided them with only a few clues and two handsaws – too weak to break their steel shackles, but strong enough to cut through flesh and bone…
THE GOOD: What would you do if you woke up in a dungeon-style bathroom shackled to a pipe with a dead man lying in the middle and another man shackled the across from you? What if you had to kill the other man to get out? What if you had to saw your foot off to get to the gun? It’s a very curious position and the best thing about Saw is you have to wonder what you’d do in the same situation.
For those who love gore; Saw is a bloody mess. The first 2/3 of the film is full of chaos and terror. The plot is brilliant. Then the end comes and screws it all up.
THE BAD: Plots twist and turn—we’re used to that happening with movies by now, but… The problem is if they twist so much that it gets tied up into an ugly bow. Saw gets lost in its own attempt outthinking itself. The film is nasty and it’s thought provoking. What drove me crazy were the Marilyn Manson style camera effects. Can someone shoot a horror movie in standard mode? Saw is supposed to scare us with its plot not some wacky sped up camera work.
Nothing can prepare you for Cary Elwes’ bad acting. At first you think it’s some amateur hack trying to pull off weak dialogue. Then you realize its Elwes and you start to feel embarrassed for him.
Even more embarrassing was how time and again the bad guy was point black in the line of fire but no one shoots him? It is completely ludicrous—especially when two cops are guilty of not taking the bad guy out. The crowd at a radio screening laughed at these idiotic scenes. A horror movie is supposed to be scary. Saw on the other hand had a crowd laughing and yelling ‘shoot him’. It’s out of hand.
FRANKLY: Saw is not cutting edge. It’s more like cutting down a tree with a dull blade—you hope you can cut that tree down, but when you finally start cutting you realize you’re going nowhere fast. I love scary flicks—if they are smart. Saw is mind-numbingly unintelligent. The dialogue is horrible. I have no words that can smack it around enough. Saw won’t go down as a cult classic—this is destined for the toilet.
+ Charlie Craine