Saw (2004)

Saw

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Demented, but Innovative

You know a movie is good when it has a trail of copycats immediately following its success, trying to somehow borrow some of that lucrative victory. This is just basic observation…a lot of people will be able to see the trail of copycats, but not the quality of the original source. Saw was one of these films that just exploded in popularity when it was released. Some people like it, some people hate it. I’m not a huge fan of gore, but I am truly a fan of the Saw series for a few reasons, and I really don’t think any of the films would be anything at all if the first one wasn’t made.

In an abandoned bathroom of sorts, two men find themselves chained at the leg to the opposite sides of the room. One is a doctor (Cary Elwes) and one is a photojournalist (Leigh Whannell). In the middle of the room is a dead man who has at some point in the past, shot himself in the head, blood is found pooled around the body. The doctor and photojournalist receive a message via tape recorder that they must find a way out of this predicament, without expressively telling each other how. However, he does tell the doctor that he must kill Adam. Throughout the film, these two backtrack on how they got here, and how they are connected. Meanwhile Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover) investigates the crimes of the Jigsaw Killer, all ending with an epic finish.

Out of all seven films in the series, this one sticks out like a sore thumb, because it is the foundation for the rest of the series. Not only that, but it also has a bit of a different structure than the rest. Instead of what seems like endless games one after the other, this one had one…cut off your leg or die. Sure, the detectives were investigating other Jigsaw crimes, but those were done in the past, this was the only one in the present, and it was stretched out over the course of the film. I honestly think that was a good idea. It allows for more actual story and character development. It also allows for the psychological thriller part to take effect. I’ll be honest, the psychological factor is 100% effective. It is, because it is just so demented. So twisted that you realize after seeing the entire series, they don’t need a thousand different games to get the movie rolling.

You can’t go reviewing a Saw movie without talking about twist endings. Anyone who has even heard about these films knows that the twist endings are just a part of what makes these movies special. They are what’s expected, and they all started with this movie. There’s a few reasons why I like this twist ending. It’s not gimmicky, and done just to be done like most movies nowadays. It has quite possibly the best musical score for a twist ending…ever made…period. It’s also a good twist, like…something you can look clues for when watching again…a right under your nose type of twist. Those are simply amazing, and people will remember it for years.

Technically speaking…I really think this should be seen as the best movie in the series, and I still have to watch the rest of the movies to really say which one is in my opinion, but if I had to make a quick guess, I’d say it’s not. In a filmmakers perspective, yes, hands down. Unfortunately, something is very distracting whilst watching, and that’s the performance of Cary Elwes. I’m sorry, fans, but the man is just a disgrace to acting when it came to this performance. It was so fake and plastic and over-the-top that I wanted to pull my hair out, because the rest of the movie is done so well! I couldn’t believe the casting choice for the doctor…literally anyone else could have filled that role…including Ben Affleck! Little shout out to all you Batman news followers.

Saw hands-down had the best idea for the series. It knew how it wanted the story to be told. It knew how to slowly introduce the characters in an interesting light so in the end they make a connection that you couldn’t have guessed. It knew how to leave things out in the open for a sequel while still making a firm close if it was a sole film. There was a lot of good to this movie, it’s just that horrible, horrible, laughable performance by Elwes that brought everything to a halt.

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5 thoughts on “Saw (2004)

  1. Excellent review. The first Saw film is the best by a landslide. It is definitely as much psychological thriller as it is horror. The others just become dumbed down, gross-out gorefests with characters that are hard to like. Nice to see someone revisiting the roots!

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