EVERY PIECE HAS A PUZZLE.
Laurence (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) wake up chained to the wall in a dirty warehouse bathroom; they find two tape recordings and the voice on them gives the men an ultimatum. Director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell turned a 2003 short subject into this very successful horror movie that grabs your attention right from the start, continues down a scary and unpredictable path and delivers an impressive final sequence, clever and unbearably exciting. Some viewers will be turned off by the sadism, and the performances are effective but hardly outstanding. Still, the reality show elements of the concept are part of its appeal.
2004-U.S. 103 min. Color. Produced by Mark Burg, Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules. Directed by James Wan. Screenplay: Leigh Whannell. Cast: Cary Elwes (Laurence Gordon), Danny Glover (David Tapp), Monica Potter (Alison Gordon), Leigh Whannell (Adam), Michael Emerson, Tobin Bell.
Trivia: Followed by eight sequels, starting with Saw II (2005).
Last word: “James and I didn’t even think of ‘Saw’ until a few years after film school, because when we finished film school, we had that existential problem faced by all film-school graduates. Namely, poverty. [Laughs.] So we were like, ‘How are we going to make a film when we had all these big ideas? Big ideas cost money.’ So we basically were like, ‘If we’re going to make a film, it’s gonna have to cost about $5,000.’ And the solution to that was to have a movie with two people in a room.” (Whannell, A.V. Club)