I guess you learn something new every day, like James Wan second features was the torture porn creating (not the first installment) torturous, terrifying, and downright disturbing SAW. James Wan directs and co-writes SAW with Leigh Whannell (who wrote/directed Upgrade which will be discussed night 27 of Halloween). There is something about SAW that truly is captivating as its practically a bottlenecked movie taking place in a singular room that brings all of the terrors.
Lawrence played by Cary Elwes and Adam played by Leigh Whannell, wake up chained in this abandoned room, unknown how they got there, and a saw placed strategically in the room. In the middle of the room is a bloody corpse and a tape recorder. While the other story that is running through this tightly packed film is focused on Detective David Tapp played by Danny Glover and Detective Steven Sing played by Ken Leung as they try to track down the body count racking up serial killer, Jigsaw played by Tobin Bell. While Jigsaw plays a menacing game with Lawrence and Adam, David and Steven are running against the clock before the Jigsaw Killer can possibly strike again.
What makes SAW work is the fact that it relies on nothing but suspense, terror, and creativity. Sure there may be a dead body in the middle of the room, and sure they may be fighting for their lives, but there is nothing over the top and obscene really. They’re victims of a lunatic, and they sell it just as such. Fully believing they’ve done nothing wrong, and they should be set free. The performances between both Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes are fantastic, only supported by Tobin Bell, Danny Glover and Ken Leung bringing everything together to create a film that has lasted over a decade with multiple sequels that brought to life a new subgenre. While some would argue the main stream popularity of torture porn has truly increased to a disturbing degree, the original SAW is far from that subgenre, despite popularizing it. The first SAW is genuinely terrifying, satisfying, and downright brilliant. If you have somehow never seen SAW and psychological with a little gore is up your alley, do yourself a favour and check out this movie. The subsequent sequels and spin-offs are not necessary, though they are a nice indulgence of madness.