Saw is an American Horror film, and also happens to be the first American movie the Australian director James Wan, has made he has since went on to do more with the world of Horror including some of the other Saw franchise films in one way or another if not directing then perhaps producing.
Saw is based on a low budget short film of the same name , this short film is only nine minutes long and can actually be seen in the movie only the role is reversed instead of having some one named David they used Amanda (Shawnee Smith) the scene is actually when we meet Amanda for the first time and find out about the reverse bear trap, you can also find the original short on the second disk of the movie if you have it.
Saw opened with a mix of reviews, from fans and critics alike. Some good, some bad and some still just stuck in the middle. some reviews went as far as to call the film squeamish and mundane, and some even say that the film just rehashes things we've already seen in any other slasher film.
And that folks this is where some people just get it wrong, SAW isn't a slasher at all and I think that has to be the best part of this film for me, next to the blood and guts of it all, a lot of people use the Torture Porn sub-Genre when they talk of the Saw franchise, but I'm really not sure that fits specially not the first one.
the definition of torture porn is: genre of horror films in which sadistic violence or torture is a central aspect of the plot.
I don't feel this is the case with the first film it centers around a good bit of violence yes, and maybe a bit of torture, but we have to remember is each of the 6 traps or games, (6 is counting Zepp, if you count him I don't..) is win able you're able to escape.
In the whole film only two deaths are not win able and neither is in one of Jigsaws games, the one guy takes a shot gun to the face due to a hair trip wire, which come on guys he was a cop in a what they say is a 'killers' lair he should have known to look around for things like that.
The next death is the guy Amanda has to cut open to get the key from him, she of course thought he was dead but still that was the only two deaths not able to some how some way win or get out.
if you look up the plot on most websites it will say something like this: The story is about two men trapped in a room together, they both have a set of rules the other may not no know about, and they think they are part of the Jigsaw murders.
While I think this is a good idea and most of the movie is spent with Adam and Dr.Gordon, I just don't feel comfortable saying that is the plot of this movie. If you ask me the plot is more about the who's and the whys. (That of course being the who is doing this and why are they doing it to me.)
Almost the whole movie is told through flash backs, which is used to tell us about the Jigsaw 'killer' which is where the who comes in, I got the idea of a cat and mouse game going on, Jigsaw was hiding and the cops where dying to know who he was and even go as far as to accuse Dr.Gordon of the crime, and they have a few other people who they use as red hearings to throw us of track. I liked the idea that I never once knew who Jigsaw was till the end of the film it was cleaver, and very few films since this one have been able to deliver that kind of surprise at the end of it.
the why this one is a bit more tricky but is sort of given away when Amanda is talking with the cops and retailing her story of what happened to her. She even tells them he helped her, of course before this scene we get this quote from Billy (Jigsaw's doll) right after Amanda has taken the revers bear trap off.
"Congratulations. You are still alive. Most people are so ungrateful to be alive. But not you. Not anymore."
Its here and with Amanda's confession that Jigsaw helped her that we get the idea of what his games are all about and why they are indeed win able, of course in two is when they full explanation comes out, but just from what we get in one its easy to tell he wants people to appreciate their life more.
its these facts that make me like Jigsaw so well, every time he takes or kidnaps some one deep down he wants them to succeed and live through what ever hell they are about to endure. He's had his own encounter with death and its changed him, he just wants to do that for others.
I also really enjoy how he isn't a killer, in the movie they call him the Jigsaw killer, but never once does he kill anyone, his games are meant to be played and won. People do die and he tells other they must kill in the rules but he never once is the actual killer through any of the film, the people who do die, do it on their own accord by not panicking and wasting time, moving to slow, not walking where their going, not knowing things, all these are factors in how the people in his games killed them-self or killed some one or was just down right stupid.
As for a favorite trap I'd have to go with Adam and Dr.Gordon being in that room, I know earlier I said the movie isn't about these two, but I just love the fact that if there wasn't any flash back scenes or a few moments we get of his wife and daughter how this whole film would have just been two dudes and a dead body in a room trying to figure out how to escape, I love all the flashback and the story its self but I just like how this is kind of a nod to some of the other great Horror directors before Wan who could tell a story with just a few people.
For a low budge independent film I think this movie hits the nail on the head I cant believe its been ten years since it first came out, and its been four years since a saw film has graced movie screens everywhere.