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Rating: R

Leigh Whannell as Adam
Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon
Danny Glover as Detective David Tapp
Ken Leung as Detective Steven Sing
Dina Meyer as Kerry
Mike Butters as Paul
Paul Gutrecht as Mark
Michael Emerson as Zep Hindle
Benito Martinez as Brett
Shawnee Smith as Amanda
Makenzie Vega as Diana Gordon
Monica Potter as Alison Gordon
Ned Bellamy as Jeff
Alexandra Bokyun Chun as Carla

Special Features:
Audio Commentary with Director James Wan and Writer/Actor Leigh Whannell

2 Music Videos Including an Exclusive Unrated Version

Making Of the Music Video

“Sawed Off” Minifeaturette

Trailers and TV Spots

Saw Promotional Art Gallery

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 EX Surround Sound
6.1 DTS ES Digital Audio
Spanish Subtitles

The following is from the DVD cover:

“Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer abducts the morally wayward. Once captured, they must face impossible choices in a horrific game of survival. The victims must fight to win their lives back, or die trying…”

Saw is rated R for strong grisly violence and language.

The Movie:
Having seen clips from this film and all the gory promotions, I was really dreading watching Saw. I’m not into horror films and I don’t like a lot of gore in movies, so I was not expecting to like it. In the end, I didn’t think it was a great film, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I was thought it would be either.

The concept is certainly intriguing. Two guys wake up chained to opposite walls in a room with a dead man. They don’t know why they are there or who put them there. The movie then unfolds as they try to escape yet are manipulated by a twisted serial killer. Despite the simple concept it does take a few shocking twists and turns. The rest of the movie is a series of flashbacks revealing who the killer is and how they got there. It eventually degenerates into typical horror / drama fare, but there’s enough here to keep things interesting. There is a twist at the end, but it goes by so quickly that you have little time to let it sink in. Another downfall of Saw is that it relies on a number of horror clichés. You have a cop that has a killer in his gun sights repeatedly, yet fails to kill him. You have people put in extremely gory situations. These tend to take away from any original aspects of the story.

Cary Elwes leads the cast as Dr. Lawrence Gordon. This is one of his more memorable roles since The Princess Bride. Elwes takes his character through a whole range of emotions. There’s rational calm, anger, frustration, and eventually absolute panic. Playing opposite of him is Saw writer Leigh Whannell as Adam. His performance isn’t particularly remarkable, but the Aussie does a decent American accent. The rest of the cast isn’t particularly noteworthy. Danny Glover is barely in the film as Detective David Tapp. The same goes for Ken Leung as Detective Steven Sing and Dina Meyer as Kerry. Monica Potter does a little more as Alison Gordon, Elwes’ wife. Unfortunately her role isn’t a substantial one.

Saw is certainly an impressive technical accomplishment. They filmed the entire movie in just 18 days and it looks great. The sets are appropriately dark, gritty, and scary. The cinematography is definitely moody. For only a second shot at directing, James Wan does an impressive job.

If you like horror movies or serial killer dramas, then you’ll probably enjoy Saw. While the disgusting advertising makes it look a lot more hard core than it really is, it is a decent entry into the genre. If you’re looking to be intrigued and unsettled, Saw will deliver.

The Extras:
There are a few bonus features included on this DVD:

Audio Commentary with Director James Wan and Writer/Actor Leigh Whannell – Since these guys were directors, writers, and actors in the film, they certainly have a lot to say on all aspects of the making of Saw. They discuss the plot, how they got the movie made, stories from the set, the casting, and more. They keep the discussion rather lively. I think they’re definitely worth listening to if you’re into guerilla filmmaking.

2 Music Videos Including an Exclusive Unrated Version – This is the music video for the song “Bite The Hand That Bleeds” by some heavy metal band that I’ve never heard of. The video consists of clips from the film intercut with scenes of a model torturing them. I suppose the “unrated” part is a scene where she rips the lead singer’s heart out and eats it. It really just looks silly, but there you go.

Making Of the Music Video – This is a standard “making of” video showing the band filming the video, interviews with the crew, etc. It’s almost longer than the video itself.

“Sawed Off” Minifeaturette – This is an extremely brief “making of” video. It’s around 3 minutes long. There are interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, etc.

The Bottom Line:
While Saw certainly isn’t a great horror film, it’s one with a intriguing concept that will definitely unsettle you.