"Saw" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
Two men, strangers to one another, wake up in a room. They have no clue where they are or how they got there. Their ankles are chained to pipes across the dirty bathroom from one another, and there is a man's body in the middle of the room, brains splattered on the floor with gun in hand. These are the opening minutes of "Saw", an hour and a half gore-fest from the brilliant James Wan.
This movie is disgusting, disturbing, hard to watch; yet it works. It's brilliant. Who would've thought a torture film like this would be as good as it is? Not only do we have the gruesome scenes involving the two men in the bathroom (played by Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes), but the movie jumps back and forth to tell the story of why these men are in this situation. At the same time, we also have a cop (Danny Glover), who has been fired from the police force because of his obsession with this "Jigsaw Killer".
Even though this movie is perhaps the most tame of the entire franchise, it doesn't skimp back on the blood and gore. Consider the scene where Elwes' character saws off his own foot towards the end of the film. Even though we don't see it in detail, it's still extremely hard to watch due to the constant cuts back to the foot and blood splatter and Whannell's horrified expression.
Perhaps one of the best things about this film is the twist ending. The other films in the franchise have sort of cheapened the ending due to the bad writing and plot twist. But this film has that ending that jumps out of no where. Upon my first viewing of this film, I did not expect for the dead man in the middle to actually be alive and be the real "Jigsaw Killer".
On a side note, Tobin Bell is absolutely incredible as John Kramer/ The Jigsaw Killer. He delivers such a creepy and amazing performance, and not only in this film. In my opinion, he was the best thing about this original series of films. They couldn't have hired a better actor to play this iconic horror villain.
The film ultimately concludes unresolved, leaving the door open for a sequel. The studio definitely took advantage of that, spawning eight more direct sequels and a spin-off with Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. Even though some of the other films are sub-par compared to this one, this first film was an excellent start to the horror franchise everyone knows today.