Saw is the first installment of the seven-part Saw mystery psychological thriller. Directed by James Wan and written by Wan and Leigh Whannell, Saw was filmed during only 18 days of production. It was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2004 and saw international release later that year on October 29th. Saw is essentially an expansion of Wan and Whannell's 2003 short film of the same name. The film's story revolves around 2 men who are kidnapped, locked in an industrial bathroom and given instructions on how to escape. Meanwhile, police detectives investigate and attempt to apprehend the criminal responsible, the "Jigsaw Killer". Originally rated NC-17 for strong, graphic violence, the film was slightly edited to achieve an R rating. The unrated version is available as the Saw: Uncut Edition, a DVD Special Edition that was released around the same time that Saw II was released theatrically.
On October 31, 2014 Lionsgate re-released Saw theatrically in celebration of the film's 10th anniversary.
Adam Stanheight , a freelance photographer, and Lawrence Gordon, a doctor, wake up chained to pipes on opposite sides of a dilapidated industrial washroom. Between them is a corpse lying face down in a pool of blood holding a gun in one hand, and a tape player in the other. They each find tapes in their pockets, instructing Lawrence to kill Adam before six o' clock, and Adam to escape. If Lawrence fails his wife, Alison, and daughter, Diana, will be killed.
Using a hidden message from the tape, Adam and Lawrence find two hacksaws in the toilet, which they discover are unable to cut through their chains when Adam's saw breaks. Lawrence deduces the saws are meant for their feet, and tells Adam they have been captured by The Jigsaw Killer. Flashbacks show, Lawrence was interrupted by an orderly, named Zep Hindle, while talking about a patient named John Kramer, who suffers from an inoperable frontal lobe tumor. He was then questioned by Detectives David Tapp, and Steven Sing about his penlight being found at the scene of a Jigsaw crime, and viewed the testimony of Amanda Young, a heroin addict and the only known survivor of a jigsaw "game", who believes her ordeal has helped her. Other victims include Paul Leahy, who had two hours to escape a maze filled with razor wire, and Mark Wilson, who had to use a candle to read the combination covered walls, in order to extract the antidote for the slow-acting poison in his body from a safe. His naked flesh was smeared in napalm, and he was forced to walk over broken glass.
Meanwhile, Allison and Diana are being held captive by a man watching Adam and Lawrence through a camera, hidden behind the bathrooms two-way mirror. The house is simultaneously being watched by Tapp, who has been discharged from the police force. Flasbacks show, Tapp and Sing raided Jigsaw's lair without a warrant or back-up. They saved a man named Jeff Ridenhour, but Jigsaw fled after slashing Tapp's throat with a concealed wrist-blade, and Sing was killed by a shot gun booby-trap, while pursuing him. After his partners death Tapp became even more obsessed with closing the case, and continued to stalk Lawrence, still convinced he was the one responsible.
In the bathroom, Lawrence gives his wallet to Adam who finds a picture of Allison and Diana bound and gagged, on the back is a message that reads " X marks the spot, sometimes you see things better with your eyes shut". Adam tells Lawrence to turn off the lights, and discovers an "X" written on the wall with fluorescent paint. Lawrence breaks the wall, and discovers a small box containing a single bullet, two cigarettes, and a one-way cellphone. They attempt to stage Adam's death using a "poisoned" cigarette, but their plan is foiled when Adam is suddenly electrocuted. Adam recalls being abducted from his apartment by a pig-masked figure. Then, Alison calls and tells Lawrence not to trust Adam. Adam reveals he was being paid to follow, and photograph Lawrence, and Lawrence identifies his employer as Tapp. After Lawrence berates Adam for invading his privacy, Adam shows Lawrennce photos proving he was having an affair with his medical student, Carla Song.
Among Adam's photos is one of a man in Lawrence's house. Lawrence identifies him as Zep, revealing he is the one holding Alison and Diana captive. As they realize this the clock strikes six, and Zep moves to kill Alison and Diana. He holds the phone to Alison's ear to tell Lawrence he failed, and she attacks him, having removed her restraints. They both fight for the gun, gaining Tapp's attention in the process. Lawrence, only aware of the sounds of screams and gunshots, is suddenly electrocuted, causing him to lose reach of the phone. In a desperate attempt to save his family, Lawrence severs his foot, and shoots Adam with the corpse's revolver, seemingly killing him. Meanwhile, Tapp chases Zep into the sewers, and is shot after a brief struggle. Zep enters the bathroom intent on killing Lawrence as he acted too late, only to be knocked to the ground and beaten to death by Adam, who only suffered a non-fatal shoulder wound.
Lawrence crawls away after promising to get help for Adam. Adam searches Zep's body, and finds another tape player, revealing Zep was another victim, forced to hold the Gordon's captive in order to retrieve the antidote for the slow-acting poison in his body.
"Hello, Mr. Hindle... or, as they called you around the hospital, Zep. I want you to make a choice. There's a slow-acting poison coursing through your system, which only I have the antidote for. Will you murder a mother and her child to save yourself? Listen carefully, if you will; there are rules"
Adam stares in utter disbelief as the "corpse" to its feet, revealing himself as John Kramer, the real Jigsaw Killer who was pretending to be dead the whole time. Kramer tells Adam that the key to his chain is in the bathtub, which was sucked down the drain when Adam pulled the plug out. Adam attempts to shoot Kramer, but loses reach of the gun when Kramer electrocutes him with a hidden remote control. Jigsaw then proceeds to turn off the lights, yell Game Over and slam the door shut, leaving a hysterical Adam to die.
|Dr. Lawrence Gordon||Cary Elwes|
|Detective David Tapp||Danny Glover|
|Detective Steven Sing||Ken Leung|
|Zep Hindle||Michael Emerson|
|Diana Gordon||Makenzie Vega|
|Alison Gordon||Monica Potter|
SAW was a financial success. Shot on a meager budget of about US$1.2 million, it earned over $55 million at the box office in the U.S. alone and $102,917,772 worldwide.http://imdb.com/title/tt0387564/business Box Office revenue Critical responses were mixed. It earned a 46% rating from Rotten Tomatoes, and a 29% rating from the most esteemed professional critics, qualifying it as "rotten." Despite the mixed critical response, the movie attracted a strong following and spawned 6 sequels. Noted critic Roger Ebert called SAW "an efficiently made thriller" but "finally not quite worth the ordeal it puts us through."  Other reviewers, however, were not so lenient, such as Paul Matwychuk, who described it as "convoluted" and its twist ending as "ludicrous".http://www.vueweekly.com/article.php?id=777
With the emergence of the torture genre in the 2000s, the SAW film series, along with similar films such as Hostel and The Devil's Rejects, is frequently singled out as an example of the prevalence of exploitive graphic violence and gore in horror films. SAW occupies the third slot on Bravo's Even Scarier Movie Moments for the scene in which Lawrence cuts off his own foot. PopSyndicate.com forums This scene, Amanda's test and the razor wire maze scene were grouped among the scariest film scenes of all time on FilmSite. Scariest Movie Moments and Scenes The movie was also added on Empire's The 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time list.Critic Richard Roeper praised Saw,stating that Saw is by far,one of the greatest horror films I have ever seen in my life.I don't like it,I love it. Roeper gave the film three out of four stars.
The uncut edition of the film is approximately eight seconds longer than the theatrical version. The additional footage includes:
- An extra close-up shot of the body on the floor, which shows the extent of the "gunshot wound" on the back of the head.
- A few extra seconds of Paul crawling through the razor wire.
- A few extra shots of Amanda sifting through the intestines and stomach of Donnie Greco, who she kills.
- An extra shot of Lawrence sawing into his foot, which shows more blood.
However, in addition to the new footage, the dialogue between Lawrence and Adam in the end, just before Lawrence leaves, has been shortened.
There is also an Easter egg on the uncut DVD titled "See Saw in 60," which consists of three jumpy and humorous one-minute condensed versions of the film. Two are presented using dolls with crude faces drawn on them; sound clips from the movie are used for one, high-pitched squeaky voices for the other. The third is made using actual footage from the movie and the squeaky voices. Similar Easter eggs were used on later uncut releases of the sequels.
- Originally, Adam and Lawrence were to be trapped in a lift or a basement.
- Director James Wan created Billy the Puppet for the film.
- It was meant to be a straight-to-video release, but due to positive screenings it became a movie release.
- Filmed in 18 days, with Pre-Production lasting only 5 days.
- All the people killed in the film are men.
- All corpses seen in the film were the actual actors, except for Mark Wilson's burnt corpse which is a dummy.
- Shawnee Smith (Amanda) filmed all her scenes in one day, and was sick.
- Producer Oren Koules cameos as Donnie Greco.
- All the Bathroom scenes were filmed in six days in chronological order.
- When Lawrence starts cutting his foot, actor Cary Elwes (Lawrence) actually scratched his foot despite the saw being blunt.
- Leigh Whannell not only plays Adam in the film, he also played Sing during reshoots when the actor was unavailable. He plays Sing when he gets shot. In addition, his hands were used as stand-in for Shawnee Smith's hands during close-ups of Amanda sifting through Donnie's guts.
- Sing's chase after Jigsaw was the last scene filmed.
- Director James Wan did not get paid and instead got a percentage of the profits.
- The map used by detectives Tapp and Sing when reviewing locations of fire alarm reports was that of Washington D.C.
- After Lawrence cut off his foot, in the scene where he tries to shoot at Zep with empty revolver, Cary Elwes wore a black shaggy sock to cover his foot.
- Despite Jigsaw claiming he detests killing (Saw II) he orders Zep to kill Lawrence's family if he fails his game.