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Saw DVD Review

Saw

April 21, 2005

Director: James Wan,
Starring: Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Dina Meyer, Mike Butters, Paul Gutrecht, Michael Emerson, Benito Martinez, Shawnee Smith, Makenzie Vega, Monica Potter, Ned Bellamy, Alexandra Bokyun Chun, Avner Garbi, ,

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DVD Review

There are many psychos out there in movie land and each one has their ‘thing’ that separates them from the others. A calling card if you will. Some like chainsaws, some don a ghost mask, some invade your dreams and some are killer clowns from outer space. ‘Jigsaw’ – the newest member to the ever-growing tribe of nasties, has brought a new, sick and down right mean method to ending his victim’s lives. He thinks of ways of how to get his captives to kill themselves, so technically he never actually kills anyone
Adam wakes up in an abandoned grotty public toilet, chained by the ankle to some piping, with no idea how he got there. Across the room in the same situation is Dr Lawrence Gordon. In between them there is a man lying face down in a pool of his own blood, a hole in his head, a gun in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. The insane terror begins, as slowly the two men try to free themselves, and their mystery kidnapper starts to play his game by promising that if Lawrence can kill Adam, then he can walk free. Teasingly they find instruments of destruction hidden around their location in the form of two saws, but who can get through the chains first?

This is a first time outing for the writing team of James Wan and Leigh Wannell and they have done an extremely good job of using the audience’s pre-conceived knowledge of the horror genre to their own advantage. James Wan then progressed to director and Leigh Wannell took the role of Adam, and put on the best performance of the film. Given the almost claustrophobic ambience of a small number of locations and majority of the story being told in the abandoned public toilet, James Wan’s directing shows much promise for any future endeavours, as he approaches ‘Saw’ with artistic flare without alienating a passive mainstream audience. This leads to an extremely visceral looking piece that can only be described as a modern day Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

As the film heads into the final act and we learn more about these two men trapped against their will, the less we care about them. The script then manages to fall into it own trap by becoming a bit predictable. Anyone who is paying attention will have worked this one out at the halfway point as the focus switches from, ‘how did these men get there and why’? to, ‘who put them there’? And manages to turn itself into a ‘Scream’-esque thriller complete with inept cop, in the form of Danny Glover’s Detective Tapp.

The supporting cast or perhaps more accurately ‘cannon fodder’ are good back up. Monica Potter has had plenty of practice as the distressed wife of an imprisoned man, and excels upon her performance from ‘Con Air’ as mother of one and doctors wife, Ali Gordon. Joining her is Shawnee Smith who, within a flashback scene, emotionally retells the story of how she escaped from having her jaw ripped open by one of ‘Jigsaws’ home made contraptions. This makes for one of the tensest scenes in the movie.

‘Saw’ is easily the best horror of the year, and even if there isn’t many ‘jump-out-of-your-skin’ shocks, it will make your heart beat that little bit faster and it more than makes up for it in inventive and gross looking deaths. If you dare to see ‘Saw’, then make sure you do it with the lights out.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 80%

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