cult horror

SAW (2004)

 S A W  (2004)




appearing on FUCKED UP FRIDAY,


but then,that is another tale for a different time.



THE SAW SAGA, a horror lexicon, seven of them, with #8 in the works; sort of. It is my damn intent to line these bitches up, & review them one by one; looking at their strengths, weaknesses, tits & ass ( always a component of a good review).


SAW (2004)


Directed by James Wan @ 103 minutes.


Written by James Wan & Leigh Whannell.




Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon.

Leigh Whannell as Adam Faulkner.

Tobin Bell as “Jigsaw” John Kramer.

Danny Glover as Detective Tapp.

Ken Leung as Detective Sing.

Monica Potter as Allison Gordon.

Mckenzie Vegat as Diana Gordon.

Michael Emerson as Zep Hindle.

Shawnee Smith as Amanda.

Dina Meyer as Kerry.

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Tagline: Their saws were there not to cut their chains–they were there to cut their feet.


Director James Wan is from Malaysia, and he met Leigh Whannel in Film School in Åustralia. They wrote, pitched and made this horror gem together, and often work together on other projects. Wan considers himself part of the SPLAT PACK.


Allen Jones of TOTAL FILM wrote, “The Splat Pack is a modern wave of  directors who make brutally violent horror films–like James Wan, Eli Roth, & Rob Zombie.”


James Wan said, “Both David Lynch & Dario Argento were influences on me while creating SAW.


AWARDS: James Wan won a Best Director award in 2005 at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film.


Wan has directed 10 films since 2000, and has a reputation for working quickly, and getting great results; his first film was STYGIAN (2000), and SAW (2004) was his first feature film; some of his others were DEAD SILENCE (2007), INSIDIOUS (2008), THE CONJURING (2013),  INSIDIOUS II (2013), & is now in production on FAST & FURIOUS 7.


Tobin Bell, who is the Freddy Kruger, the Jason, as Jigsaw for the SAW SAGA, is a busy actor with 91 film credits since 1982, including MISSISSIPPI BURNING (1988), GOOD FELLAS (1990), MALICE (1993), THE QUICK & THE DEAD (1995), BLACK MASK II (2002), SAW (2004), SAW II (2005), SAW III (2006), BOOGEYMAN 2 (2007), SAW IV (2007), BOOGEYMAN 3 (2008), SAW V (2008), SAW VI (2009), SAW 3D: The Final Chapter (2010), & will be in SAW VIII, now in pre-production, to be released in 2015.


The casting agent for SAW was Amy Lippens, & she needs to be commended for her sound judgement in casting this low budget movie.

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Carey Elwes was the big star snag; must have been hungry, or liked Jimmy Wan. As a major league actor, he has been in 95 film projects since 1979. Raised in London, he had classical training before returning to America; his films include LADY JANE (1986), THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987), GLORY (1989), TWISTER (1996), CRADLE WILL ROCK (1999), played Ted Bundy in THE RIVERMAN (2004), and was Dr. Gordon in SAW 3D (2010)–so it seems the good doctor survived SAW (2004).

He was nicknamed, “The next Errol Flynn” by Mel Brooks.

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Danny Glover, another star snag with marquee power, did a 2 day shoot, a fleshed-out cameo; must be a nice guy to hook up with a horror Indie; probably enjoyed himself.


Michael Emerson (Zep Hindle) has 43 film credits since 1990; his cash cow has always been television roles; was in THE PRACTICE (2000-2001). SAW (2004) must have  brought him luck because he picked up LOST (2004-2010) right after working on it. Presently he is enjoying being on PERSON OF INTEREST (2011–), now in its fourth season. He also does a lot of regional theater when he can fit it in.


Ken Leung ( Detective Sing ) is another LOST alumni, and now appears regularly on PERSON OF INTEREST.


Benito Martinez ( Dr. Gordon’s Lawyer) went from SAW to several successful seasons on THE SHIELD, and has a running part on SONS OF ANARCHY. 


Shawnee Smith (Amanda) does not have a nude scene in SAW, but I found a nice sexy shot of her to include.

Shawnee Smith

She does appear in SAW II, III, & VI though.  Presently she is in her second season working with Charlie Sheen in ANGER MANAGEMENT. 


Monica Potter (Allison Gordon) works a lot too,


including in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009), CON AIR (1997), & PATCH ADAMS (1998); presently she is enjoying a good run on PARENTHOOD, now in its 4th season.

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McKenzie Vega ( Diana Gordon) was only 10 years old when she appeared  in SAW; started film roles when she was 5. She has been doing very well as the daughter on THE GOOD WIFE, now in its 5th season.


Very few horror franchises start out with this caliber of acting talent.


The excellent cinematographer for SAW was David A. Armstrong. He has lensed 41 films since 1986, including FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (1995), he shot the first six SAW movies,


SKINWALKERS (2006), THE GRAVE DANCERS (2006) KILL THEORY (2009), DEAD AWAKE (2010), & HELLRAISER: Revelations (2011). 

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The musical score was by Charlie Clouser, who wrote it in 3 weeks. He has written scores for 19 films since 2003, & has done the music for all the SAW SAGA, plus DEAD SILENCE, DEATH SENTENCE, & RESIDENT EVIL: Extinction all in (2007). He is a multi-instrumentalist who composes for film, television, & games. He is a recipient of 10 BMI Film & TV Music awards. He has worked with NINE INCH NAILS, WHITE ZOMBIE, & other rock groups.

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from IMDb: “His scores for the SAW series combine brutal electronics & homemade bowed metal instruments with tortured orchestral washes, & have become landmarks in industrial-strength horror.”

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TRIVIA: The film was completed in 18 days of shooting, & it went on to become one of the most profitable Indie Horror films of all time. Shooting that quickly, there was no official rehearsal time for the actors; some of their first takes were used as finished footage. Film had a modest budget of 1 million dollars, & it went on to make more than 100 million bucks worldwide. Lionsgate bought SAW right after it was screened at Sundance. The first sequel was approved for production the weekend SAW opened.



James Wan declined a salary, opting for a percentage of the box office; obviously he did very well with that arrangement. The film was originally slated to be a Direct-to-Video feature, but after the first couple of previews, it was obvious it had legs.


Wan wanted the camera work to reflect the two main characters, so he usedthe Steadicam for Dr. Gordon, & a hand-held camera for Adam. All the main bathroom scenes were shot in chronological order, giving the actors more of sense of the flow of the story; not usually done on a movie.


Danny Glover shot all of his scenes in 2 days. Shawnee Smith shot all of hers in 1 day, & she was ill with a fever of 104 degrees. When Amanda is searching the dead inmate’s guts for a key to the reverse bear trap helmet she is wearing, the prop was a pig’s uterus.


Wan & Whannell tried to sell SAW in Australia first, but there were no takers. Wan built the Jigsaw puppet life-size doll himself. When Adam is slamming Zep in the head with the toilet tank, he was actually hitting a garbage bag of fake blood. While he & Zep were fighting, he accidently punched Michael Emerson for real.

Saw Jigsaw

SAW was originally given a NC-17 rating, Wan had to edit a number of things out to snag an “R” rating. During the editing process, Wan &  Whannell were forced to return for several re-shoots; but none of the original actors were available, so the took turns, both playing the characters in close-up body shots, editing in the actor’s faces from other shots later. Wan did not originally intend for the film to be a  torture porn movie, but after the sequels got into gear, that is the direction things went.


There were no exterior shots in the movie because the budget did not allow for it; even the car chase was done in a large warehouse, adding fog & darkness to mask the deceit. In the car chase, Zep starts out in an 80’s Ford Bronco II, & ends up in a 90’s Ford F-150 pick up. When Zep & Tapp are fighting, he starts out with a Springfield Army .45, which changes to a Beretta M92, & then back into the .45. When Detective Trapp tracks down the warehouse from a fire alarm sound, and a gang tag, it is on Stygian Street–STYGIAN was Wan’s first film.


***Spoilers, served hot: The identity of the Jigsaw killer was given away early on; during a scene where Dr. Gordon is doing rounds with some interns, Zep, as orderly, says,”He is a very interesting person–his name is John.” –& there on the bedside table is a crude drawing of the reverse bear trap. Unlike most Slasher Movies, all the victims who die are men, never women. The cloak Jigsaw wears in the warehouse is actually inside-out. It never seems to occur to either Adam or Gordon that they could have used the hacksaws to saw through the pipes that chains were attached to.


Synopsis: Those brave souls among you who have slogged through some of my other reviews may remember that my notes & recall are phenomenal; albeit long-winded, and very complete. This means, folks, that beyond giving away Spoilers, I write about the entire fucking movie–giving you a real roller- coaster ride, more novella/short story than truncated review. I once wrote an actual movie review for the TACOMA WEEKLY, & I think it was finished & submitted at 1,500 words. Well, the editor did not have the space to publish it in its entirety, so he asked me to cut it back to 500 words; which I reluctantly did, but shit, I have seen more information on the label of an aspirin bottle. Actually, I found it difficult to cut two-thirds of it, leaving a hazy non-coherent glob of fucking babble. So, buckle up, bitches–here we go:


Even in the opening credits we get terrific CGI over the TWISTED PICTURES logo, and the different rendering of LIONSGATE logo.


Movie opens in darkness, near total; someone is sloshing around in a bathtub of water, soon struggling to get out of it. We hear Adam: Help, someone help me. Is there someone there? Oh, shit, I’m probably dead.

Voice responds: No, Adam, you’re not dead.

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The lights are flipped on, & we are introduced to a large filthy public men’s room, cracked broken urinals, and one naked toilet against the wall (very odd, just one toilet, with no stall.) We find that Adam is not alone; on the opposite side of the room we are introduced to Dr. Gordon.


Lying between them is a dead body in a pool of blood, a pistol in one hand, and a cassette recorder in the other.

Both men discover they are chained at the ankle to the wall.

Adam: What the fuck is this?

Gordon: Calm down, are you hurt? What is the last thing you remember?

Adam: Not a fucking thing. I went to bed in my shitty little apartment, & then I wake up in an actual shithole.

Gordon: Whoever brought us here could easily have killed us by now. They must want something from us–the question is what.


They notice that mounted on the wall of cracked tile there is a large new wall clock. Adam digs in his pockets, and he finds a small cassette tape with the words PLAY ME written on it. Dr. Gordon finds one too, along with a single bullet, and a key. The both try to use the key on the locks for their chains, but no go. That’s when they notice the corpse is holding the miniature cassette recorder.


Adam knots up his shirt, using it to snare the recorder, then he plays the tiny tape:

Voice: Are you going to watch yourself die today, or do something about it.

Gordon tosses Adam his tape, and it is played:

Voice: Dr. Gordon, you aim in this game is to kill Adam. You have until 6:00 to do it (shot of the clock shows it is 9:30), or you might just shoot yourself. Remember that X marks the spot, & to follow your heart.  If you do not kill Adam by 6:00 then your wife & daughter will die, & I will leave you in this room to rot. Let the game begin.


They both notice a heart shape drawn in shit on the toilet. The toilet is over-flowing with feces, a lovely image; reminding me of the Shit Monster in Kevin Smith’s DOGMA (1999). Adam reaches down into the brown.

Gordon: Did you find anything?

Adam: No fucking solids.

Gordon: Open the tank lid.

Adam does this, & finds a sealed plastic garbage bag, with two rusted hacksaws in it. Passing one to Gordon, they both begin to saw madly on their chains. Adams blade breaks. Fuck, fuck, fuck!  he screams, tossing his hacksaw against the wall, breaking a mirror.

After a pause,

Gordon: He doesn’t want us to cut through our chains, he wants us to cut through our feet.

After a pause:

Gordon: Christ, I think I know who this son of a bitch might be!


Cut to an earlier homicide scene, with intro to Detective Tapp, &  Detective Sing. A naked 40 year old male has slashed himself to death in a cage full of sharp barbed wire spools. A cassette recorder was found on the scene. The man was given two hours to work his way through the barbed wire before the door sealed; but he bled out before he could escape. Det. Tapp notices a jigsaw piece of skin cut out on his back.

Cut back to the toilet killing room.

Gordon: The newspapers started calling him the Jigsaw Killer–although technically he was not a murderer–he seemed able to find ways for the victims to kill themselves.

Cut to different homicide scene, another naked victim, burned to death in a room with a 1000 red numbers stenciled on the walls, his body smeared in flammable grease–slow acting poison in his system, the only antidote in a safe there in the room, the combination found in some of the numbers on the walls, with only one candle to see by–but of course he ignites himself before he could escape.

The cops find a peephole in the wall; apparently the sadist liked to watch the scenario unfold. They also find a penlight.


Cut to Dr. Gordon giving a lecture at a hospital to some interns about a patient with an inoperable brain tumor.

Zep, an orderly says: He is an interesting man. His name is John. 

Cut to the doctor’s office where Gordon is talking with Det. Tapp & Det. Sing. The penlight had Gordon’s fingerprints on it, & he would not give an alibi for his whereabouts from the previous night.


Note to self: At this point I was very aware of the excellent camera work, the great musical score, crisp editing, & good writing.


Cut to the police station; Gordon is conferring with his lawyer, & he finally admits he was seeing a co-worker at a seedy hotel during the time of the murder.

Cut back to the shitty toilet killing room:

Gordon: That was five months ago.


Cut back to the police station; Det. Sing admits that Gordon’s alibi holds up, but requests he listen to the testimony of a woman who survived one of Jigsaw’s games.


Amanda recounts her experience, waking up bound to a chair, tasting her own blood, wearing some kind of bizarre headgear. A monitor activates  and we see for the first time the Jigsaw puppet mask on the speaker:

Voice: Hello, Amanda. You don’t know me, but I know you. I want to play a game. Your headgear is a reverse bear trap. A timer on the back will go off, & the trap will tear your jaw off. There is only one key to unlock the headgear at the back, & it is in the stomach of your dead cellmate.


Amanda freaks out, breaking free of her flimsy wrist bounds, and sees that there is a body on the floor in the room with her. She lifts his t-shirt and sees there is a large question mark painted on his navel, & there is a knife lying alongside it. The man suddenly opens his eyes, but seems paralyzed; can’t move. The timer on the trap has been activated, so she picks up the knife & stabs the man 20 times, before opening up his stomach, picking through a handful of his intestines before finding the key. She opens the lock with her steaming bloody hands, & flings the mask trap on the floor.


A jigsaw doll life-sized puppet seems to ride a bicycle out of the shadows:

Jigsaw: Congratulations, you are still alive. Most people are so ungrateful, but not you–not anymore.


Cut back to the toilet killing room:

Adam has figured out the broken glass is from a 2-way mirror, so he tosses things at it, breaking the glass. We note a red light from a CCTV camera lens.


Cut a B&W CCTV image of them in the room:

Adam: Oh, this is fucking great, we are now just another episode on reality TV.

Gordon: We need to find the x.


Cut to Gordon’s apartment, his young daughter’s room, with her awakened by a strange noise.

Cut to the parent’s bedroom:

Diana: Mommy, there is a strange man in my room–he talked to me. I want Daddy to take care of the scary man.


Gordon, still up doing paperwork, does check the room; no one was there: See, there is no such things as the Bad Man.

Diana: He told me that you were going to leave us.


Cut to Gordon arguing with his wife, Allison, with the daughter hearing the angry words about divorce.


Cut back to the toilet killing room, Gordon tosses Adam his wallet, so he may check out the family pics ( I’m thinking, damn, it has to be 25-30 feet between them, & somehow they are managing to toss all kinds of shit back & forth to each other.) Instead of a school pic of daughter, Adam finds a polaroid of Allison & Diane bound & gagged, with REGARDS next to a jigsaw symbol, & a note printed on the back: X marks the spot; remember sometimes you can see more with your eyes shut. 

Cut back to Gordon’s home:

Allison: Why are you pretending to be so fucking calm? This is bullshit! I’d rather you broke down & told me that you hated me.


Cut to Zep assaulting the wife & daughter, tying them up, & gagging them. He is wearing a stethoscope, which he delights in using, listening to their rapid heartbeats as he holds his .45 to their head. Then he strolls to a window & peeks out.


Cut to a B&W CCTV screen, showing Zep peeking out of the curtains.

Detective Tapp, whispering: I see you little man. What are you doing over there–waiting for the doctor?

**( for a moment we are faked out, thinking this was another of Jigsaw’s monitors, but immediately we see:) the interior of the surveillance room, the walls covered in Jigsaw murder newspaper clippings, empty fast-food containers all over the floor.

Cut to Det. Tapp driving Gordon home after his interrogation.

Tapp: You know we arrested a dentist last week, liked to play with kids too much. He lived 2 blocks from here. The sewer lines run under this neighborhood too.


Cut back to the police station; Tapp is replaying the CCTV tape of Jigsaw talking to Amanda, over & over & over. Det. Sing is upset with this obsession of his partner’s. Suddenly Tapp stops the tape, & they both recognize a gang tag on the wall, then the hear a fire alarm; using both clues they trace the location–an old mannequin factory warehouse. They drive over there in the middle of the night, break the front door lock, and enter the dark premises. Sing is carrying a shotgun, Tapp has his service revolver. In the middle room of the warehouse, they find the life-size Jigsaw puppet,


& a new victim chained & yoked to a chair. Then they hear someone approaching, so they hide.

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Jigsaw, tall & pale, shows up wearing a blood red cape. The cops jump out and yell, Freeze, motherfucker,


but Jigsaw steps on a floor switch, which activates electric current to the victim:


Jigsaw: Now, make a choice. In 20 seconds this man will be dead. What’s more important to you, arresting me or saving the life of another human being?


Det. Sing find a key ring with 50 keys on it, and he tries key after key on the victims lock collar. Det. Tapp makes Jigsaw get onto his knees on the floor.

Tapp: Stay down, you sick son of a bitch.

Jigsaw: Yes, officer, I am sick–sick of the disease that is eating me from the inside out–sick of the hypocrites that surround me.

Then he whips out a blade & whirls around slicing Tapp’s throat, & he beats feet for the exit. Sing pursues him, while Tapp holds the blood back on his throat wound.

Sing does catch up to the tall robed figure and back shoots him with the shotgun, hitting him at 35 feet away; no mean feat with a sawed off pump shotgun.


Cut back to Tapp, struggling to his feet ( no idea what happened to the victim ) and stumbling after Sing ( which seems to be a  real dumb ass idea since he did have his throat cut ). Sing is moving up slowly to check out the wounded Jigsaw, & then steps into a trip wire, & he is shot 6-7 times;

Cut to Sing going down bloody.

Cut to Jigsaw getting up.

Cut to Tapp struggling, gurgling, trying to catch up.

Cut Jigsaw making good his escape.

Cut to Tapp finding Sing shot to pieces. As he panics, & he reaches out to his dying partner, blood spurts from his own neck wound, & we see a silent scream on his lips.

Cut back to Tapp in the surveillance room, raving mad:

Tapp: Yeah, yeahl, you’re running scared now, because you know we’re going to get your ass. We’re going to close this fucking case, Sing. Sing, do you hear me?

Cut to Zep sitting in front of a CCTV monitor, beside a large digital clock registering 3:52 elapsed time.

Cut into the toilet killing room. Adam is staring at the back of the bound & gagged polaroid shot.

Adam: Hey, turn the lights off.

Gordon turns the lights off & a large X appears on the wall. He uses the handle of the hacksaw (his good one, why not use the one that  Adam threw against the wall broken) & he smashes out a hole in the tile, then pulled out a small metal toolbox. It is locked. They remember the single key they were given. It works, & the box is unlocked. Inside there is a cell phone, two cigarettes, a lighter, & a folded note, with Ssshhh, Doctor printed on the outside.


Adam: Cigarettes? Oh, fuck yeah, give me one of those sweet cancer sticks!

The note read: The cigarettes are not yet poisonous, but realize you don’t need a gun to kill Adam.

Gordon tries to call 911 on the cell phone, but it only gives him a busy signal: This was adjusted to receive calls only, not make them–this has happened before.

Cut to a parking garage the night before, Gordon walking to his car, then stopping at a closed security door. He tries to call out for the unlock order, but only gets a busy signal. His cell phone wasn’t  working either. We see his rear car door opening up, with someone crawling out, attacking him & knocking him unconscious.

Cut back to the toilet killing room; Adam explaining how he knew to turn off the lights, from the note on the polaroid. He tosses it to Gordon (again, no mean feat; who the hell can toss a polaroid 30 feet across a large room?)

Gordon remembers that the corpse in the middle of the room was poisoned, ergo his pool of blood had to be poisoned; so he dipped one of the cigarettes in the blood; then flips the light off–

Gordon whispering: Hey, I want to try something; work with me on this.

Cut to Zep being upset because the CCTV went dark. ( while I’m thinking how in hell does Zep monitor them with equipment & a countdown clock if he is holding the wife & daughter prisoner?)

Cut back to the toilet killing room. Gordon flips the lights back on, then offers Adam a cigarette ( the good one, not the poisoned one) & manages to toss it & the lighter to Adam ( oh sure, folks, another miracle pass. No one could toss a single cigarette more than 10 feet.)

Adams lights up, & after 3 puffs, he seems to be choking as if he were poisoned; shuddering he falls to the floor.

Gordon: There, I did it–I killed him; now where is my family?

Adam begins to squirm & yell; his chain is electrified, & it was giving him some boss shock treatments.

Gordon freaks out, trying to hacksaw his chains again, to no avail ( what about sawing the fucking pipes? )

Adam: Jesus, I remember everything now. I remember how I got here.

Cut to the night before; Adam arriving at his apartment, checking out his darkroom in the glow of reddish tints; pulls out an 8×10 photo of Dr. Gordon (why Adam, you tricky little bastard ).


Cut to the darkness in his bedroom. Adam awakens, tries the light switch; it doesn’t work, of course. He hears someone else in the room. He uses the flash on his camera to get quick glances into the darkness. He hears an insane sounding mechanical laughter; uses flash to see the Jigsaw doll in his easy chair. He grabs what appears to be a baseball bat, & smacks the devil out of the dummy until the laughter stops; then we seem to see the crazed face of a madwoman in an orange jump suit, & everything went black. (come to think of it, the person who crawled out of the back door of Gordon’s car seemed to be long-haired, stooped, & in an orange jump suit too; who the fuck is this person?)

Cut back to the toilet killing room; the cell phone is ringing.  Gordon answers it; it is Diana, his daughter.

Diana: Daddy, the Bad Man is here, & I’m scared.


Zep is using his .45 to play with Allison’s hair; he put her on the phone:

Allison: Larry, is Adam there?

Gordon & Adam exchange confused looks.

Allison: Don’t believe Adam’s lies. He has known about you before today. (WTF, did she bang him while Gordon was banging his nurse? Did she hire him to photograph Gordon?)

Gordon loses his cool, & confronts Adam, who admits to following Gordon for a few days. He suddenly reaches back into the black plastic bag the hacksaws had been in, and came up with a handful of photographs he had taken of Gordon, which he tosses over to Gordon to look at ( yes, damn it, another miracle toss of 25 feet with paper photos).

Adam: You want to know what I do? I get paid for taking pictures of rich assholes like you!

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Cut to a seedy hotel room where a pretty oriental girl, who calls him Dr. Gordon, is unbuttoning her blouse. Gordon stops her (Wan decided not to have any tit shots in this movie–what horseshit for sure.)

Gordon: I’m sorry to asked you here; I can’t do this.

The hotel phone rings, she answers, then hands it to Gordon: It’s for you, she says

Jigsaw: I know what you are doing doctor.

Cut back to the toilet killing room:

Gordon: Who hired you?

Adam: He calls himself, Bob, & he gives me 200 bucks a day up front. Then boom I wake up here staring at the asshole I’ve been taking pictures of. Bob is a big black guy with a nasty scar on his throat.

Gordon realizes Bob was Tapp.

Adam: Why ask me what I think about you banging someone other than your wife. I don’t care if you cover yourself in peanut butter & conduct a 15 hooker gang bang.

Cut back to Gordon’s home; Zep walks out of the room. Allison is struggling to free her hands. Diana is whimpering.

Cut back to the toilet killing room. Gordon is looking at a photo of Zep in his window; which was quite a trick since Adam did not snap that pic, as it was only an image on Tapp’s CCTV screen.

Adam sees on the wall clock it is already 6:00.

Adam: Fuck me, we’re out of time.

Cut back to Gordon’s home. Zep is checking the load on his .45. Allison manages to get her hands free, but pretends to be tied as Zep returns, informing her the time is up, & that it is up to her to call Gordon & tell him so. He dials the phone for her.

Allison: Larry, your time is up.

Allison leaps up onto Zep, disarming him, holding the .45 on him. Zep comes to life, and jumps Allison; they tussle, the gun discharges twice.

Tapp, right next door, sort of, hears the shots, grabs his gun, & rushes to help. While wrestling, Allison stabs Zep with a pair of scissors, & Zep goes down bleeding.


Gordon is weeping, moaning copiously in the killing room. Tapp arrives & he & Zep exchange gunfire, firing 5 times each at 20 feet from one another, neither one hitting the other. Tapp rushes over & jumps on Zep, but the Zep-dog beats him down. We then see that the CCTV equipment & countdown clock were indeed set up in the apartment. (Did he go back down to his vehicle & haul the stuff up there after subduing the wife & daughter?)

Zep, yelling at Allison, not caring she is free of fetters: I said the time is up. I’m going to go & kill your husband now, Mrs. Gordon!

Cut back to the toilet killing room. Gordon is twitching like a bee-stung bear, getting electric shocks through his chain. The shocks seemed to have zapped the Doc unconscious.

Cut to a hazy foggy car chase, sort of, Zep in a white truck, with the amazingly resilient Tapp right on his ass in a brown sedan. They arrive at some building, & Zep gets out first, & rushes into it.

Divers Jump Cuts:

Zep limping along.

Tapp running after him.

Gordon can not reach a ringing cell phone.

Gordon: Oh God, my family needs me.

Cell phone ringing incessantly.

Gordon totally freaking out, stripping off his shirt, & tying it around his leg above the ankle that is chained; taking the extant hacksaw & severing his right foot.

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Gordon is screaming.

Adam is screaming.

Zep is limping, grunting in pain.

Tapp is spewing some crazy nonsense babble.

Tapp finally catches Zep, & they wrestle, but the Zep Dog shoots Tapp & continues on.

Gordon, minus his right foot, free now, crawls over to the bloody corpse in the middle of the room, putting his one bullet in the pistol the dead man was holding, then Gordon shoots Adam.


At Gordon’s house some neighbors are helping Allison & Diana. Neighbor: Did you get a hold of your husband? Don’t worry, we called the police.

The sliding door opens at the killing room. Zep enters, sees that Adam has been killed.


Zep: It’s too late.

Gordon: Why, why?

Zep, pointing his .45 at the doctor, It’s the rules.


Suddenly Adam appears, grabbing at Zep’s leg, pulling him to the floor. They tussle, the guns goes off twice.  Adam is enraged, grabbing the toilet tank lid & proceeding to bash Zep’s head into a bloody muskmelon.


Gordon, footless, deathly pale, bloody, crawls over to Adam;  they put their heads together; weeping, exhausted;


Gordon: I knew you’d be alright. I winged you in the shoulder. I have to go & get some help. I promise to come back.

Adam: Please, God, please don’t leave me.

Gordon crawls out the door, leaving Adam alone. Adam checks Zep’s body for a key to the chain lock, finding another cassette recorder:

Jigsaw: Hello, Zep; there is a slow acting poison in your system. Only I have the antidote. Will you murder a mother & her daughter to save yourself? Let’s play a game.

Incredibly, behind Adam, we see the corpse from the middle of the floor coming to life, and rising up to its knees. He is wearing a latex mask covered in fake blood; it is Jigsaw. He stands up, popping the kinks out of his back:

Jigsaw: The key to that chain is in the bathtub.


Jump cut flashbacks:

Dr. Gordon talking to his interns about John, the patient with the inoperable brain tumor; then we see clearly that John is Jigsaw.

Adam picks up Zep’s .45 & tries to shoot Jigsaw, who pushes a control button, sending electric shocks into Adam’s chain.

Jigsaw flips off the lights, and just before he closes & locks the door, he says: Game over.

Adam screams & screams over the end credits.



Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 48% Critic’s Approval, & a 84% Audience Approval.


J.R. Jones of the CHICAGO READER wrote: “This movie’s sadism is only topped by its absurdity.”


Richard Roeper wrote: “SAW has Art House ambitions, but it is nothing but a glorified snuff film; I despised this movie.”

Picture 64

Wesley Lovell of CINEMA SUGAR wrote: “With SAW the horror genre takes a new direction, using extreme violence to support a surprisingly evocative story of redemption & torture.”


Felix Vasquez of CINEMA CRAZED wrote: “Gore, violence, an excellent script, & top notch tension all put together to make up a whopper of an ending.”


Stacie Hougland of HOLLYWOOD.COM wrote: “It is a brutal, violent, insidious psychological thriller that will stay with you for days.”


Kevin A. Randson of MOVIE CRYPT.COM wrote: “This truly is the cross-bred horror-thriller that you’ve been waiting for since SEVEN.”


Peter Canavese wrote: “Sick, demented, wrong in just so many ways– just the kind of movie we reserved for Halloween time.”


Come on critics who Dis this movie, get your heads out of your crevasses!  I admit, there was Zero Tits & Ass shots, even though several scenes could have been improved with some–but actually, for a fairly low budget Indie horror film, I think the art design, production values, musical score, cinematography, editing, writing, most of the acting were above average, and I can see why the film took off internationally, & has achieved cult status. I enjoyed it, & will rate it 7.5/10 stars–for audacity, creativity, & twisted originality.








4 replies »

  1. Great Review! Saw will forever be my favourite horror film series ever. Each movie got better and better until the biggest mindfuck moment at the end of Saw 7 with “Game Over” 😛 Is the saga really continuing with a Saw 8?? I’m a makeup artist and my biggest dream ever was to work on a Saw film and I guess now it’s possible 😀 The cine, directing and acting were fantastic in each movie but lets be honest, Saw wouldn’t be Saw without the mind blowing prosthetic makeup. So shout out to Rocky Faulkner, the prosthetic makeup artist for “Saw” 😀


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