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Saw (2004)

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Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they're pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

Director:

James Wan

Writers:

Leigh Whannell, James Wan (story) | 1 more credit »
Popularity
1,044
8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leigh Whannell ... Adam Faulkner-Stanheight
Cary Elwes ... Dr. Lawrence Gordon
Danny Glover ... Detective David Tapp
Ken Leung ... Detective Steven Sing
Dina Meyer ... Kerry
Mike Butters Mike Butters ... Paul
Paul Gutrecht ... Mark
Michael Emerson ... Zep Hindle
Benito Martinez ... Brett
Shawnee Smith ... Amanda
Makenzie Vega ... Diana Gordon
Monica Potter ... Alison Gordon
Ned Bellamy ... Jeff
Alexandra Bokyun Chun ... Carla (as Alexandra Chun)
Avner Garbi Avner Garbi ... Father
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Storyline

Waking up in a bathroom, two men, Adam and Dr. Lawrence Gordon, discover they have been captured by the infamous Jigsaw Killer. The men must escape before time runs out, otherwise, they will face the deadly consequences. Written by Rebekah Swain

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

I want to play a game See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong grisly violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jigsaw See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,276,468, 31 October 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$56,000,369

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$103,911,669
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS (5.1 surround)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Detective Kerry states that John Kramer (aka "Jigsaw") technically isn't a murderer, that he finds ways for his victims to kill themselves. She is right, he technically never killed anyone himself, however John could have still been charged with second-degree murder for each of his victims that died. New York state, and most other states as well, has a statute that allows someone to be charged with murder even if they didn't actually intend to kill someone. Normally if someone's reckless actions unintentionally cause a person's death they are charged with involuntary manslaughter. However when someone's actions go beyond reckless and they do something that puts another person in a situation where their death is a likely outcome they are doing what is known as "showing a depraved indifference to human life". It's called depraved indifference murder, by putting his victims in a situation where the likely outcome will be their death John would have been charged with multiple counts of second-degree murder under that statute if he had been apprehended. See more »

Goofs

(at around 38 mins) When Adam asks Gordon if he's going to have any more kids, there is a small, white spot on the right side of the screen visible for less than a second. This is likely a single-frame anti-piracy watermark or a defect on the film. They appear several times in the movie, especially in the final reels. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Adam: Help! Someone help me! Is someone there? Hey! Oh shit, I'm probably dead.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening title ripples like it was underwater. See more »

Alternate Versions

The song "Bite The Hand That Bleeds" by Fear Factory that originally played over the end credits has been replaced on the uncut version of the film on DVD by an original piece of music by Charlie Clouser entitled "Zepp Overature" See more »


Soundtracks

Bite the Hand That Bleeds
Performed by Fear Factory
Written by Fear Factory (Olde Wolbers, Raymond Herrera, Burton C. Bell)
Published by BMG Music Publishing, Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Liquid 8 Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Slick thriller in the mould of Se7en that covers writing weaknesses with consistent tension & urgency
10 October 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

(This review contains no spoilers but it is better when you know very little about it and I would suggest not reading any reviews on the film but to just go and see it!)

Adam wakes up in a bath of water to find himself in a dark room, chained to a large pipe. On the other side of the room is one Dr Lawrence Gordon, who finds himself in the same position, in the middle of the room is a dead man with a gun and a Dictaphone in his hand. Two recorded messages reveal that Gordon's wife and daughter have been kidnapped and will be killed at 6pm that same day. The only way this will not happen is if Gordon kills Adam before this time, a feat that will involve getting out of his chains and to the gun.

The marketing campaign for this film had a very impacting poster with very little text and just the word 'SAW' on it. In a way, with no real bankable names in the cast to sell itself on, the film sold itself on the one thing that will always get audiences in – a concise and interesting central premise. Here it is very simple and very interesting and sets up a real tension from the outset that never really lets up until the very end. Let me just say now that tense is not the same as terrifying and viewers coming to this film looking for loads of gore and screaming horror will be let down; in fact I would class this film as a thriller more than I would a horror for this reason. The film opens with us right in this scenario of the chains etc and quickly we learn the ground rules and then learn more about the Jigsaw killer who is doing it. The flashbacks just take the edge off the main story a little bit but they do work well enough in themselves, and produce a more complex story.

In a way this is where the weaknesses come in because the hook of the simple premise is expanded out into a wider story – and not all of it hangs together with a great deal of logic. The motives of the killer are unsure and the way that everything does fit into place is unconvincing (to name two problems) but, while it is on, the film's tension covers these gaps and does a good job of holding you in its spell. This spell lasts no longer than the final credits as you begin to pick holes in the actual story, but by then you'll have been entertained and into the film too much to really let the plot holes bother you and it is only those hoping for a story to match the darkness of Se7en will be letdown, this is not of the same caliber as that film but it is still fun. The director has learnt from several other films and genres. He knows that the simple premise can be used as a great hook for a simple story (many short films do the same), he knows from Se7en that sometimes the horror we imagine is much worse than the one we can see, and he knows from recent Japanese horror movies that unsettling images are scarier than outright gore (hence the use of clown and pig heads). In terms of style the film is winning if a little overdone. Time skips forward with frantic camera movements, 'dank' is painted thick on every scene and generally the film delivers a mood of tension, urgency and unsettling action.

Not using the cast for the marketing was a good choice because there are no real a-list names here and, sadly, there are several botched jobs on the acting side. Whannell is good and does a solid job – even handling the script's 'comic relief' requirements without letting it take away from the dire nature of his situation. Elwes is OK but not as consistent. At times his delivery is flat and sounds like he is delivering some more serious lines in his 'Princess Bride' character, sounding insincere and wooden. It also didn't help that his make up for the majority of the film made him look like a tired old queen – I know it was supposed to be like white plastery stuff, but on Whannell it looked good but on Elwes it looked like it had been spread evenly! Glover is OK but given too little to do and his character changes too much too quickly before we have even known who he was.

Support from people like Leung and Martinez add familiar faces and generally the support cast do OK – but in keeping with the simple premise idea, the film is best when it keeps those involved to the minimum.

Overall this is an effective thriller. It will be compared to Se7en but it doesn't have the writing to really stand in the same crowd as that movie; the plot has too many holes and the twists often come from a desire to surprise and confound rather than coming as a natural part of the story (ie they don't have the common sense impact of Se7en's conclusion). However what it does do well is deliver a sense of tension and urgency focused on this 'simple' premise. This tension works so well that it pretty much covers the plot problems while you are watching the film, and you are swept along with it as you watch. After the film you'll pick away at it and it won't stand up to repeat viewings but it is still a great fun film while you're with it.


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