Runtime: 103 minutes
Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: James Wan
You already know the plot of Saw, but if you're like me and haven't seen it in a few years, let's go way back to the very beginning of one of the top grossing horror movie franchises in history.
Dr. Lawrence Gordon and a photographer named Adam wake up locked in a dirty and disgusting bathroom. Adam is chained by the ankle to a bathtub, while Lawrence is chained all the way across the room. When they first wake up, they find the body of a man with his head blown open laying in the center of the room. Though Adam does have two large saws, neither one is sharp enough or big enough to cut through his chains.
Through flashbacks, we learn all about a killer known as the Jigsaw Killer. Instead of shooting or stabbing people, he kidnaps them and places them in traps he designs himself. They need to do something serious in order to escape. He believes he is testing them and making them better. Both men have tape recorders that reveal messages for each one, letting them know that they are in a Jigsaw trap and that they have a limited time to escape. As the movie progresses, the two men learn the connections they had to the killer and find that they cannot trust the other...
Let me tell you the story about the first time I saw this movie. Everyone in real life and online kept talking about The Grudge, which I hadn't yet seen. I went to the movies, saw it, and had some time leftover with the next showing of Saw about to start. Went in, watched the movie, and didn't talk for a good 10 minutes after. Everything about Saw was so amazing that I couldn't believe more people weren't talking about it!
A lot of people talking about the Saw franchise in terms of the newer films without remembering how great the original was. The very first trap we see, which is the reverse bear trap Amanda wears on her head, sets the tone for everything that came later. We know that there's no way she could ever get out of that, which is what makes it so shocking when she actually does. We also get to meet Detective Kerry, who has one of the most gruesome death scenes later.
Part of what made Saw so great wasn't just the twist ending. By the way, I don't care what people say, NO ONE would have ever guessed that the dead man on the floor would get up and walk out later. It was the atmosphere of the film that made it so amazing. It showed that you didn't need a lot of fancy sets or effects to make a great movie. Leigh Whannell Cary Elwes literally carried that movie on their backs. They made us want to root for them and for them to escape, which is what made the ending so heartbreaking.
If you haven't seen Saw in awhile or still have memories of the later films in your head, it's time to head over to Netflix or pop in a copy of the first film.