SAW (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/09/2004

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Complex, tricksy, gruesome and thoroughly entertaining, SAW is like Cube meets Seven and bodes well for the future of its writer-director team.

SAW is one of those films that grabs you from its opening scene and doesn’t let go, giving you a bloody good shake in the process. Leigh Whannell and Carey Elwes play two men who wake up to find themselves chained to opposite walls in a bathroom with no windows. On the floor in front of them is the corpse of an unknown man with a gun in his hand. The two men quickly discover that they have just eight hours for one of them to kill the other or they’ll both die, along with Elwes’s wife and child…

At The Mercy Of Puzzle-Loving Killer

As the two victims-in-waiting unpick the various clues to their captivity, Elwes realises that they are at the mercy of a brutal, deeply twisted, puzzle-loving serial killer called Jigsaw. However, the reason he knows about Jigsaw was that he was a suspect for one of his murders…

Screenwriter Leigh Whannell makes a superb acting debut as Adam and the fact that his face is ‘unknown’ means that the audience is never sure how long he’s got left. Carey Elwes is also extremely well cast, as he frequently plays evil characters so you’re never sure how much you can trust him.

In the flashback sequences, Danny Glover is excellent as the increasingly obsessed cop on Jigsaw’s trail and Monica Potter (the poor man’s Julia Roberts) is also good as Elwes’s wife, though she doesn’t have much to do beyond getting kidnapped.

Inventive, Shocking, Funny And Unbearably Tense

The trailer for the film concentrates heavily on one of the film’s nastier scenes, in which one of Jigsaw’s victims has a dilemma: let the bear-trap attached to her head and jaw spring open when her time runs out or hack the key from the intestines of the drugged-but-still-conscious man on the floor in front of her.

There are a couple of similar sequences that are reminiscent of David Fincher’s Seven (Jigsaw has a peculiar moralistic streak) – the scenes are truly grisly but they occur in flashback so as to cleverly crank up the tension in terms of what might be in store for Elwes and Whannell.

Whannell’s script is superb – it’s inventive, shocking and unbearably tense throughout. It also keeps you guessing right up until the end and is shot through with some jet black humour – you’ll frequently find yourself laughing, even as you’re attempting to hide behind your hands. It’s probably only fair to warn you that certain scenes are not for the squeamish…

In short, SAW has ‘cult thriller’ written all over it and as such it’s one of the most exciting movies to come along in quite some time. It delivers brilliantly in terms of putting the audience through the wringer and if Wan and Whannell’s next film is only half as good as this, it’ll still be worth watching. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

SAW (18)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 17:32

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