IMDb > Saw (2003) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Saw More at IMDbPro »

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]
Index 14 reviews in total 

32 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Good For A Short

Author: rgeagnstmchne from United States
11 January 2006

This is a feature on the second disc on the Uncut edition of "SAW". James Wan and Leigh Whannell wanted to have something to show the American Studios so they quickly made this. This is basically just the "Reverse Bear Trap" except Leigh Whannell is playing the roll of Amanda. I believe this is pretty good for a nine minute short which later lead to the release of the actual movie "SAW". The interrogation scene in this short I believe is much better than the interrogation scene that make it to the final cut. In this you actually get to see how jigsaw captured David (Leigh Whannell). As you can see I am running out of things to say about this so I will just finish with this: This is a great extra on the second DVD of the Uncut version of SAW.

Was the above review useful to you?

13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The creative origin of the "Saw" series

Author: José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984) from Mexico
10 November 2007

In January 2004, a horror film titled simply as "Saw" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival generating a lot of interest among the audience, and most importantly, winning a distribution deal with Lions Gate Films, which released the movie to general audiences on October of that year. The rest, as is said, it's history, as the modest horror film became a huge commercial hit that has spawned several sequels by now and also influenced a lot of the style that mainstream horror has had in the first decade of the century. Not bad for a project that started as a short film. Only a year before "Saw"'s rose to stardom, its creators, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell, were using a little 9 minutes short film produced by themselves to pitch their concept to various studios and actors. That short film would later become the concept now know as "Saw".

"Saw" is the story of David (Leigh Whannell), an orderly at a hospital who is explaining to a Cop (Paul Moder) the story of how he ended up involved in a heinous crime against his will. One day after work, David gets kidnapped by a mysterious man who drugs him and takes him to an unknown location. When he wakes up, David is sitting on a chair in a darkened room, and has a bizarre artifact placed over his head. In a TV screen he sees an odd looking ventriloquist's dummy, who informs him (obviously the voice is the one of his captor) that the device is a "Jaw Splitter", a machine that will crush his skull if he can't stop it on time. The key to David's survival is to find the key that stops the Jaw Splitter, a key that the killer informs him is hidden inside the body of the dead man lying in the same room as David. But when David goes to get the key, he discovers horrified that the man he has to open is not dead.

Written by actor Leigh Whannell, "Saw" has all the core elements of the "Saw" series premise: a serial killer who do not kills with his own hands, but who instead puts his victims in a deadly trap where they have a chance (albeit small) of survival by doing an often difficult and painful (either physically, mentally or emotionally). It's an interesting take on horror that returns elements of suspense to the genre, as the shock is not only in the killing itself, but in the tension caused by the events that lead to it, and in the idea that the characters can escape from their dreadful fate. It's certainly a simple story, but despite this the concept feels truly fresh and original thanks to this focus. As many will notice (specially fans of the series), "Saw" the short film eventually became part of the first "Saw" film, as it evolved into the experience Amanda has with Jigsaw.

Just as the screenplay has most of the elements that became core part of the "Saw" series, James Wan's work as a director already shows where he was going with this concept and what exactly he wanted to do with it. Like the "Saw" films, the visual look of the short film is sleek, but with a welcomed touch of grittiness that fits perfectly the concept of brutal torture devices of the modern era. The highly dynamic camera-work that Wan uses later in "Saw" is also here (courtesy of cinematographer Martin Smith), as well as his preference for industrial metal music as soundtrack. However, while this was only a low-budget short film, this style feels more at home here than in the feature movie (where it gets tiring), as the atmosphere of fear, shock and desperation it's supposed to create works better in the short than in the films (no wonder why this scene in the feature film is the most iconic).

The acting is also better in this short than in the scene from the feature film, with Leigh Whannell giving a solid and very realistic performance as David. One can truly feel that his character has gone through hell and back, specially in his scenes with the Cop. Please not that I'm not saying that Shawnee Smith (who plays Amanda in the feature) is a bad actress, I'm just saying that Leigh Whannell seems to put a lot more of effort in the role than her (without a doubt because this was his pet project). However, that also must have something to do with the fact that in the feature, Amanda is just another victim, while here, the tortured character is also our narrator, so that gives Whannell more room to explore the role. By the way, Whannell's character is different to the one he plays in the feature, although one is certainly the evolution of the other.

Personally, I found "Saw" the short to be a lot better than "Saw" the film, mainly on the basis that it has everything that makes the first film in the series great (the fresh, original approach to horror and its creative story) without the elements that in my opinion work against it (it obviously lacks the underdeveloped subplots that lead to nowhere in the film). As it was done with a low budget, Wan and Whannell had to use creativity to make it work, and the result is wonderful, as while it may lacks the more graphic violence of the feature (due to the already mentioned budget constrains), it plays more with suspense and tension, which make it a bit more atmospheric and haunting than the movie gets to be. "Saw", the short film, is a very interesting movie to watch (and not only for fans of the series), as it shows what one can do when one plays with an idea and lets it grow.


Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Living's overrated." The real original Saw.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
13 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saw starts with hospital janitor Billy (writer Leigh Whannell) in a police interview room being questioned, he recounts the events that lead up to & surrounding him being kidnapped & forced to partake in a sadistic game of survival...

Directed by James Wan who would subsequently go on to make the full length horror film hit Saw (2004) shortly after this is a 9 minute short which I presume he shot to help him raise funds for what eventually turned out to be Saw. This is basically exactly the same scene as what Amanada goes through in the full length version, the jaw trap, the body with the key inside it's stomach, the video message from Jigsaw, the location, the colour scheme etc. it's all here. I can't criticise it as it was never meant to be released as a film & at this time is only available on a special edition DVD of Saw & several well known internet download sites, you know the one's I mean! For what it was I liked it, it moved along like a rocket, told a pretty effective story & kept me quiet for 9 minutes and 26 seconds. Enough said.

I don't know what sort of budget this had but it actually looks rather good, like a proper film in fact although shot-for-shot it's virtually the same as the corresponding sequence in the final full length Saw right down to the lighting. Having said that it's not necessarily a bad thing, I mean if it ain't broke don't fix it, right? Forget about any gore apart from some bloodstained hands as there isn't any, the budget obviously didn't stretch to special effects. The acting isn't too bad at all even though there's only four people in the entire thing.

Saw is a nice glimpse into the thought process of Wan & how he sold the idea of Saw to the money men, had I been one of them I reckon I'd have given him some money to make the full feature but then again I'm easily pleased...

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Saw Uncut & This Short

Author: cjfort from United States
20 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a review for Saw uncut and the short film 'Saw'

--Saw: Uncut--

Saw uncut is the original NC-17 version of the R-rated film that appeared in the Sundance Film Festival and a few others. This movie is practically the same movie. A few things you may notice are different, but others you won't notice though they are.

The coloring to the movie is different for most of the movie, but like the scenes in bathroom mostly look the same. The music is different when the man goes through the razors and such, you can see his stomach torn open and his cuts better. Also, the Reverse Bear Trap scene is extended. Originally, you saw her looking through intestines or something and then she has the key. In this movie, she pulls out a liver or something, digs into it, and then finds the key.

Also, the ending has different sound effects. In the R-rated film, you heard blood splattering when the Dr. sawed his foot off. In this one you hear it sawing through bone, flesh, vein, and you hear the blood splattering. This film is more disturbing, making you feel more like the character. Better than the first, but not by much.


--Saw: The Original Short--

This is the short film that the writer and director both used to convince Lion Gate Films to make it. It is the Reverse Bear Trap scene, only with Leigh Whannell (writer) as the girl, only of course a guy. It is a good short, and it is very well directed and cut like a real film not a low budget hope-you'll-let-us-shoot-our-movie film. Good, and must see for fans of the movie. But other than that, it was okay but I don't care to watch over and over again.

Was the above review useful to you?

4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

The birth of the new generation's horror!

Author: Roadwarrior85846 from United States
31 October 2010

The short film, SAW, shows very clever filmmaking in the horror genre. There hasn't been anything clever like this short film for years.

David, an orderly of a hospital, has been kidnapped and faces his ultimate test. He must survive by killing another man that holds the key to his freedom. He wakes up, having a rusty contraption strapped to his face. Then, a mysterious puppet on the TV says if he doesn't remove the trap off his face in sixty seconds, his jaw will be ripped open.

Once this short gets green-lit into a major motion picture, this exact scene has been tweaked up and was used in the first SAW film. It's heart-pounding and fun to watch! I recommend this short film to not just to SAW fans, but to curious folks that want to take step into the world of horror. Great short film!

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A great short film

Author: jed-estes from United States Kentucky Hancock
26 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This short is cool. I love watching it. It was used primarily as tool to sell Saw to anyone who would bite and it worked as it should have. It is basically the scene with Amanda from the feature except Leigh Whannel takes the position of the victim in the jaw trap. I love how for a short it was edited like a real film and looks like a real film except it is only eight little minutes long. I was disappointed though when this was not released as a feature on the first SAW DVD release. I had wanted for a whole year to be treated to this like the investors had but I along with everyone else had to wait for the special edition which was worth it. I just hope someone gets on the ball and will release James Wan's first feature Stygian. See this it is worth it.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An interesting and captivating short, "Saw" (2003) is a hint of what was to come from the beloved franchise...

Author: MaximumMadness from United States
1 October 2016

"I want to play a game..."

Those words have taken on such a wonderful and nostalgic meaning for horror fans the world over thanks to the massive success of one of the most profitable and widely-beloved horror franchises of all time. That of course being "Saw", created by future cinematic masterminds James Wan and Leigh Whannell.

The series is now legendary in its status, and held among the other great franchises as horror-royalty. Even having been honored by Guiness World Records for its wide success and adoration. Yet, like many other icons of horror that came before, the roots of "Saw" were somewhat more humble- a dream project of a few film students trying to get their first film made. And this is best represented by this short- film... produced by the creators as a tool to help sell their concept and script to potential producers and investors.

Based upon a modified excerpt from the original completed script, "Saw" (2003) revolves around a man named David, who is kidnapped from his ho-hum job as a hospital orderly and taken to a secluded location. Now with a device around his head that will rip his jaw apart in mere moments of time unless he can complete a dark and devious task set forth by his captor... David will be forced to make a terrible and potentially life-shattering choice should he wish to stay alive...

Should that sound familiar, it is for good reason. The short is essentially a miniaturized and slightly restructured version of the sequence involving the character of Amanda as seen in the final feature-length film released just one year later. Yet, for something you have essentially seen before- arguably more refined in the theatrical film- it's still as enthralling and terrifying as ever thanks to the expert direction and sharp storytelling of Wan and Whannell.

It's shocking with how small a budget and how fast a shoot this short had that it's also so darned stylish and well put-together. It's very close to the quality of the future films that it spawned. James Wan's visual stylings are obvious and evident even from this small beginning, and Whannell's knack for structure and creating truly unsettling scenery is on full display here. He also turns in a pretty good performance as David- the main character here.

True it may not be quite as good as the feature films at their best, but still, for what is essentially a proof-of-concept slapped together by two friends who just wanted to find the support to make a movie- it's fantastic!

I give it a very good 9 out of 10. Fans of the series, fans of horror and even first-time filmmakers could learn a thing or two from this short!

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Shape of Things to Come

Author: Thomas ( from Berlin, Germany
26 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And it's a pretty scary shape. We see a hospital janitor being questioned by the police about recent occurrences. He tells the story of his kidnapping and the horrible thing he had to do in order to save his life from a demented psychopath. The fact that we know he made it out alive doesn't take away any of its horror. The location where he was kidnapped is perfect and adds a great deal of helplessness to this short film.

These ten minutes were the unofficial go-ahead for the extremely successful Saw-franchise that runs to this day. Its attention to detail (the instrument on David's head, the almost playful way the kidnapper enters etc.) make this short film worth a watch and should, if possible, be seen totally in the dark and on a big screen to increase the horror element.

Was the above review useful to you?

7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Saw (the original short film)

Author: Jackson Booth-Millard from United Kingdom
20 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is only available on the special Uncut version of the brilliant horror thriller starring Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover and Monica Potter. Anyway, this is basically how the idea for the film Saw came along. Director James Wan and actor/writer Whannell created this short film as some sort of test. Whannell as David does what the character of Amanda would do in the full film, having a head trap that would snap her jaws open. So basically it's exactly the same as Amanda does in the full film where he cuts open a body to get a key to unlock the trap. Also starring Paul Moder as Cop, Katrina Mathers as Nurse and Dean Francis as Body. No where as good as the proper full film, but a good way to start the idea for one of the most gripping films I know. Worth watching!

Was the above review useful to you?

creepy and quick

Author: framptonhollis from United States
24 October 2017

31 Days of Spookoween: DAY NINETEEN

Film #19: Saw (2003)

Review: James Wan's early short is a wonderful, if extremely brief and simplistic, horror story. While mildly amateurish in spots (clearly, Wan was still learning quite a bit as a filmmaker when he made this, and the same can be said about any earlier work from any director), "Saw"'s overall effect is highly successful. It is a genuinely scary treat for fans of more disturbing, harsh horror (although, despite the "Saw" movies now being known for their abundance of "torture porn", the gore/blood in this film is extremely minimal; most of the disturbance is more psychological, which is always great to see), and it's short enough to be viewed by almost anyone, no matter how busy their schedule may seem.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 1 of 2:[1] [2] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Ratings External reviews Parents Guide
Official site Plot keywords Main details
Your user reviews Your vote history