Saw (2004)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Sadistic Horror  |   Release Date - Oct 29, 2004 (USA), Oct 31, 2014 (USA - Rerelease)  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
  • AllMovie Rating
    4
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by

By the time the highly improbable twist is revealed in the final moments of first-time writer/director James Wan's grisly horror thriller Saw, even viewers who may have enjoyed the decidedly grimy tale will be embittered at having been so cheaply sucker-punched by a film that, despite brief glimpses of ingenuity, mostly resembles a secondhand Seven-clone as directed by Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst. Of course, that isn't to say that Saw is not an entertaining film for those who like their thrillers delivered with a little bit of gristle still in the meat -- only that, upon reflection, the twist arguably raises more questions than it answers. Sure, Saw has a fairly hard edge when compared to most multiplex horrors, but it certainly takes more than some well-placed gore and a few inventive ideas to overcome the tired malaise of a script that makes as many unforgivable mistakes as that of screenwriter/star Leigh Whannell. Even the considerable presence of Danny Glover and Cary Elwes can't compensate for a screenplay in which a mother watches a sadistic killer put a gun to her daughter's head -- only to find the tormented parent failing to pull the trigger when the tables turn in her favor. Of course, underestimating maternal instinct is only a minor quibble with Whannell's script, but it's a prime example of the laughable, bungled logic that continually pulls the viewer out of the action and effectively negates any real tension. Though these lapses in logic may be forgivable either on their own or placed within the context of a better film, they simply self-destruct when coupled with a decidedly over-bloated MTV aesthetic that equates dramatic tension with jittery, over-caffeinated camera work and Rammstein-like guitar riffs. There is room for subtlety even in films as horrific and gruesome as Saw, and only when Wan and Whannell begin to realize this will they be able to craft a film that actually lives up to its captivating premise.