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Movie Review

Saw also known as “Saw: Juego macabro,” “Juego macabro,” “El juego del miedo,” “Fűrész,” “Jogos Mortais,” “Pila,” “Saw - Enigma Mortal,” “Saw - L'enigmista,” “Saw - Wessen Blut wird fließen?,” “Se vlepo,” “Skladacka,” “Slagalica strave,” “Testere,” “Пила: Игра на выживание”

MPAA Rating: R for strong grisly violence and language. (previously rated NC-17 in 2004)

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
STAFF WRITER

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Crime Suspense Horror Torture-Porn
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
October 29, 2004 (wide)
October 31, 2014 (wide re-release—1,850 theaters)
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lions Gate Films

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

murder in the Bible

death

sin

fall of man to sin

repentance

extramarital affair

CANCER—Where did cancer come from? Answer

serial killer

sadist

psychopath

forced suicide

torture

kidnapping

hostage

Featuring: Leigh Whannell … Adam Faulkner-Stanheight
Cary ElwesDr. Lawrence Gordon
Danny GloverDetective David Tapp
Monica PotterAlison Gordon
Ken Leung … Detective Steven Sing
more »
Director: James Wan
Producer: Evolution Entertainment
Saw Productions Inc.
Twisted Pictures
more »
Distributor: Lions Gate Films

“Every piece has a puzzle.”

This is easily the most disgusting film I’ve seen in a year or two. It’s just as mindless as Jeepers Creepers (although there’s no supernatural element), and it has a similarly unsatisfying bad-guy-wins ending. That’s not a major plot giveaway, since the identity of the “good guys” and “bad guys,” along with most everything else, is kept in doubt until the end. But it’s a warning for those who are willing to endure graphic violence in order to see justice done. In this film, justice DOESN’T get done.

Two men, Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell), awaken in a decrepit underground bathroom, chained by their ankles to pipes on opposite sides of the room. A serial killer known as Jigsaw has placed them there as a test. Through tape recordings, Jigsaw tells Dr. Gordon that he must kill Adam by six P.M. or else BOTH men will die, as will Dr, Gordon’s wife and daughter. Jigsaw also communicates through clues left in the room and a one-way cell phone. Both men have hacksaws available, but they’re not strong or sharp enough to cut through metal. Only strong enough to cut through limbs.

As the time ticks away, both men try to remember how they were captured, and to guess what their relationship is to Jigsaw. We see, in flashback, several of Jigsaw’s other crime setups. In one, a near-naked man is forced to crawl through a tangle of ribbon wire as the only alternative to certain death. In another, a woman with an explosive device locked on her head is told that the key for the device is in the stomach of the dead man on the floor next to her. She raises the knife… and the man awakens.

Rather than try to attack each other, Dr. Gordon and Adam generally work together. But nothing in this film is quite as it seems. Neither man is telling the absolute truth.

Sexual content is minimal. There’s no female nudity, and the male nudity is nothing you wouldn’t see at the beach (except for the gore). Dr. Gordon is seen in a flashback, meeting a woman at a seedy hotel for the purpose of sex; but before anything happens, he changes his mind. Situations where women and girls are tied up by male captors always carry the imagery of and potential for sexual abuse; but in this case, no such abuse occurs or is even hinted at. The bad guys seemingly do what they do without regard to gender.

There are many curses, and several occurrences of f* and other graphic language.

But the mainstay of the film is extreme violence. And horror, and suspense. After one “bad guy” was revealed, I suspected that there was another bad guy behind that one. I made several guesses, and all of them were wrong.

The main storyline trudges on graphically and relentlessly, with no comic relief. While guessing at the upcoming plot twists is probably the only effective diversion, this isn’t “Murder She Wrote” or a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. It’s a carnival ride into a world where the killer always gets the breaks, even in Act Three.

My take: This story is utterly unbelievable, even by Hollywood standards. And utterly pointless as well. I don’t recommend this film to anyone.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Minor

copyrighted
Reviews of “Saw” series

Saw II (2005)

Saw III (2006)

Saw IV (2007)

Saw V (2008)

Saw VI (2009)

Saw 3D: The Traps Come Alive (2010)

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This is not a movie for families or Christians who are easily offended. It was one of the most graphic and intense movies I have seen in my life. I have seen many thrillers in the past years, but not one has had a climax so intense and graphic that the entire audience was freaking out and yelling at the screen. The film contains many grotesque deaths that will disturb almost everyone. It’s a great thrill ride, but you have been warned about its graphicness.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/5]
—Mark, age 20
Positive—I think that this movie should not be viewed by families and children, due to the violence involved. I went to watch with two of my friends and they commented that it’s a good show. Even though it’s a sadistic show with all the different ways of deaths shown, which the main motive is to gore people out, the story births from a highly intelligent plot which impresses me a lot. This is one of the impressive movies that I had watched before, but hope that it won’t give people out there more ideas of committing crimes.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/5]
—Alex, age 19
Positive—All right, I get a little tired of squeamish people watching movie like this and then disparaging it simply because of its violence. The movie did have message, which in its own twisted way, conforms to a Christian worldview. The message is simply, that people who don’t appreciate life do not deserve it. While that theme may be a bit flimsy for a serial killer horror movie, it still conforms to a Christian worldview.

If you have a weak stomach, then what are you doing going to a theater to watch a movie called “Saw”? It doesn’t take much imagination to guess that a movie called “Saw” is not going to be a Bug’s Bunny flick. Do your own research next time, or better yet, use your imagination more. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Joseph Hughey, age 18 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Though it was very gory, I thought it had a good plot, a real good ending, and in it’s own sick way a good message. That is to live life to the fullest, and thank god for every thing you have. You could be in a much worse situation than you are. I DO NOT think kids should see it. It is for mature viewers.
My Ratings: [Average/5]
— Adam Jinson, age 18
Negative
Negative—I recently “saw” this movie and I admit I had very high expectations. I’ve seen the trailers for this film since last year and believed it was an excellent concept for a film and had potential to live up to or exceed the genius that was the movie Seven. It was a surprise to me how awfully made this movie was. Everything it aims to be, it falls short to fulfill. The acting is forced and unbelievable and it lacks proper story and character development to give the viewer any sort of emotional attachment with the characters.

The first one hundred and twenty minutes of the film was torture to watch, it wasn’t only until the characters Adam and Lawrence began to feel how desperate and hopeless their situation was that the film started to pick up. But even the ending(arguably the most redeeming portion of the film) which sought to shock viewers in proper M. Night Shyamalan fashion only further confuses the entirety of the story.

In sum, “Saw” was conceived from a great idea, but in birth was a lackluster and bland film. Christians will not be amused with such a deplorable movie with little impact behind its redeeming moral lessons.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1½]
—Blake, age 20
Negative—This movie was AWFUL!! The only thing scary about it was the psychological mindset that was present in the antagonist. The acting was so bad that for the last third of the movie, almost everyone in the theater was literally laughing. And this was supposed to be a part that really got to you.

There was potential to be a decent movie with the story line, but the acting among a few other things made it total cr*p. Don’t even waste money to rent this movie. It’s definitely not worth it. For some it might be highly offensive, but I am not offended easily, so it is hard for me to make that call.
My Ratings: [Average/1]
—Megan, age 19
Negative—I am 21 years old. I went to see this movie with two of my friends from college who are slightly younger than I am, who warned me that not only would the movie be scary, but that they were bringing stuffed animals to it. (I followed their advice and retrieved my polar bear)

The movie was the scariest thing I had ever seen in my entire life. It made “A Perfect Murder” seem like an episode from “Rugrats.” Although I did not have nightmares from the movie, some of the images will not simply vanish from my mind.

At first, the movie appears to teach that it’s important to value life. The only person who survives Jigsaw’s “game” and learns this lesson ends up murdering another human being in exchange for her own life. I do not believe that Jesus would have us do this.

The movie also has no resolution and no hint of redemption for the villains or the victims.

I would strongly discourage everyone from seeing this movie.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3]
—Emily, age 21
Negative—Shouldn’t Christians be offended by such disgusting displays of pointless violence? We are to be in the world and not of it, but it seems that we’re getting just as comfortable with this type of material as the rest of the world.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive]
—Heather, age 19
Comments from young people
Negative—Plain and simple, this movie was sickening! From a Christian standpoint, this movie was awful. I honestly don’t find any redeeming value from the movie. What was the point? If it was to make people appreciate life, then why did only one person live? The movie itself was fairly decent. The gore was done very well, but the acting, in my opinion, was sub-par. This is definitely not for those who are sickened by massive amounts of gore. There was no sexual content, language was abundant, including approx. 30 F-words, and crude dialog, etc… I think the real downfall is the language. My advice, don’t waste the time to watch it. By the way, the movie isn’t really “scary,” a better term to describe it would be “freaky.” I’ll leave you with that.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/3½]
—Nathan, age 15
Negative—This film was a waste of time and money. I can’t believe I paid $7.25 for it. It takes itself way too seriously, focusing on grisly violence to disturb its viewers instead of atmosphere and filmography to slowly frighten them. Whenever the film builds up suspense, it shatters it in a loud and fast scene which simply confused me. There were some strangely funny parts, like the pig mask and the clown on the bike, but those parts are not worth sitting through an incoherent and illogical plot of sin and boredom.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/2]
—Adam, age 17
Positive—This movie was great! Yes, it was rather violent, gory, and twisted, but it had a real message to it that I think people are overlooking. We can be rather ungrateful for our lives and the things that should mean a lot more to us (family, friends, helping others) but we are a society increasingly worried about ourselves than those less fortunate. The killer in this movie picks his victims who don’t appreciate their life and aren’t grateful for what they have, so he puts them in life or death situations to make them realise how fortunate they are. They have a certain amount of time to perform a task that is their only way of survival but could very well kill them or they will surely die if they don’t attempt it at all. (Would you find the key to a device in the stomach of a man to save yourself from having your jaw ripped open?) Like I said, this movie is twisted but provided lots of thought and self-evaluation about what we take for granted in life and how fortunate we really are. ::NO KIDS SHOULD SEE THIS MOVIE::
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4½]
—Dru, age 17
Positive—This was one of the best scary movie I’ve ever seen, not because it’s super scary, but because it’s so psychological and doesn’t have any of the loopholes that most movies in this genre have. It did have some curse words in it, but it would be unrealistic for a movie like this to not have any and surprisingly there were less than I expected.

I’m only sixteen so my friend an I saw it with her mom and we thought it was excellent, but I don’t think that anyone who is really sensitive to disturbing images or blood should see it. Overall, I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good psychological thriller sort of like the movie “Seven,” but without Brad Pitt cussing every five seconds.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/5]
—Jessica, age 16
Positive—This movie was terrific. Very creepy; I saw it with my girlfriend and both enjoyed it. The quality was excellent and had a very unique concept.
My Ratings: [Good/4]
—Liz, age 17
Positive—Although this movie is offensive to the Christian community, I enjoyed it.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/5]
—Alicia, age 14
Negative—I started watching the movie with the knowledge that it would be gory, grotesque and disgusting. But the feeling I came away with afterward… was nothing short of complete disgust. However, I was thoroughly impressed with the way the movie ended. That probably scared me worse than anything else. There was far too much gore and cursing. I feel that it was just thrown in to make hardcore horror fans sit and stay through the incredibly lame storyline. I mean seriously. The entire movie was full of foul language and gore.

I should have turned it off, but the loops, twists and plot (especially at the end) made me watch all 8 movies. I wouldn’t recommend this series to anyone, and sometimes I look back and really, really wish I hadn’t watched these. There’s nothing morally redeeming at all; all it did was fill my head with cr*p. If you have an entire day to watch movies, play it safe and watch the “Resident Evil” movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Fyzix, age 17 (USA)
Movie Critics
…not quite worth the ordeal it puts us through…
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…It’s just depressing… Gruesome set-up but no payoff… radiates idiocy…
—Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald
…grisly, goofy B-movie lunacy—one part Poe, two parts Larry and Curly… creates suspense, shows gore and causes psychological damage…
—Duane Dudek, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
…oddly satisfying, though the gag reflex never entirely goes away…
—Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune