To say I'm a fan of this film is somewhat of an understatement. Saw it three times in theaters when it came out, and have owned it since day one of its release with many watches down the hatch at the house. I find this film to be immensely entertaining and clever. For such a low budget film, it never feels to be lacking (perhaps at times in the acting...) from its lack of funding and it works with what it has very well.
"Saw" tells the tale of two men whom awake in a locked room shackled to opposite corners. These men then have to play the game of the sinister "Jigsaw" whom has set up a trap to have them learn life lessons and appreciate the lives that they are throwing away. Intensity, flashbacks, and twists occur until the two men are pushed to breaking points about their priorities in life.
It's like a horror film with a lesson. And not just the 'don't fuck with a stranger who has a knife' kind of lesson. It's a lesson in taking things for granted. And although the means of which Jigsaw makes these men understand this might be controversial ("He doesn't want us to cut through our chains. He wants us to cut through our feet!") the lesson viewers pull away might be just a valuable. It's an interesting aspect that many horror films don't touch enough and its respectable that "Saw" did. It's like a modern Grimm fairy tale with its monstrous moral at the end.
The story is top notch and is the obvious star of this film. At a time when movies needed to have that 'twist' to be legit shockers, this film has a true twist at the end and one that unless you know before hand is a bit hard to guess. The acting at times could have been a bit more solid (Danny Glover is just awkward in the film I think) but the more the solid visual work from James Wan and the intense story is enough to suffice and make this film work on multitudes of levels. It's very modern though and some Horror fans whom can't seem to leave the 80s might have a bit more issues than I did with it, but overall I thought it has a pretty unique style.
I love films of isolation and this is a prime example of it. Still not sure how they decided this should have been a franchise (the story only hints at one, but money speaks louder than scripts) but this is still by far the best and more original "Saw" there is. It's independent horror at some of its best.
Written By Matt Reifschneider