Horror Marathon: Saw (2004)

We always kick off the Horror Marathon with our headliner! This year is Saw in case you missed the announcement yesterday. If you did, you can get a sneak peek of a few upcoming entries as well. I’m still in the process of watching as I’m drafting this review up so even if you asked me for other titles, I might not be completely sure. So let’s all be surprised, right?

I’ve always had the impression that Saw was a gore fest and its one of the reasons why I’ve avoided it all these years however, I’ve also learned that gore and torture porn while may not always be my constant watch, they tend to not scare me so much either. They make me uneasy if done really well but no lingering effects for the most part. However, the first Saw had its surprises for sure.

Let’s check it out!

 Saw (2004)

Saw

Director (and co-writer): James Wan

Cast: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whanell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Tobin Bell

Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why, and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer. – IMDB

Cary Elwes and Leigh Whanell! Wow, it sure shows how little I know about Saw. Right off the bat, Saw starts off in tense moments showing us exactly the intricacy of Jigsaw’s plans. By the time, we get to Cary Elwes as the doctor and Leigh Whanell as the photographer trapped in the room with him, it starts being more psychological. If anything, Jigsaw and the Saw franchise is who started the escape room craze in an extreme way of working together and just with incredibly higher stakes. Saw is a psychological journey and a pretty tense and smart one at that. Jigsaw puts down these elaborate plans to reveal these characters’ secrets while using it as an extra layer of his obsession to push his captives to fight for survival to cherish their life.

Saw

Based on this entry piece for Saw, its not hard to see how this had a sequel. Jigsaw is still a huge mystery and that is mostly because his game gives his characters many layers to learn about and build up. Just like our two captives here. Both Leigh Whanell and Cary Elwes delivers some great performances. Sure, there are some over the top moments but somehow they all seem deliberate to either create some humor that could break the tension however, humor is definitely far and few here. On the other hand, the captives are also followed with a back story of sorts as we follow the detectives who try to track down Jigsaw played by Danny Glover and his partner played by Ken Leung. It is also through the investigation that we learn a little more about Jigsaw.

Saw

Perhaps here is the perfect place to talk about the story because James Wan and Leigh Whanell truly write a fantastic story. Its twisted and intriguing. Its characters are unraveled in a great pace and have enough depth to make them both mysterious and suspicous. As great as the actors here are, it does help that the script is very strong.

Overall, Saw is a great way to start a franchise and it will be interesting to see where the story goes next. Sequels rarely are as strong as their first part so I’m going to keep my expectations tame for Saw 2. However, for this marathon, its also an awesome to start with something both psychologically thrilling and disturbing all at the same time. I’m starting to feel a little silly that I’ve put off watching Saw for so long.

Have you seen Saw? Which is your favorite entry of this franchise?