Rewatched Apr 26, 2012
Adam Moody’s review:
Here is the film that started the most profitable horror franchise of all time. It is both surprising and sad to see how such a well-made and effective piece of grisly terror progressed into a repulsive collection of preachy torture-porns (you could even say that the series as a whole defines the term). Based on James Wan and Leigh Whannell's short film of the same name, Saw is brutally disturbing, yet able to bring something to the table that would not be seen again - a desire to actually explore the natures of its characters instead of making them faceless pawns in a deranged game. James Wan draws the blueprints for the series' trademark style - horrifically clever deathtraps, over-supply of flashbacks, endless extra plot lines and extremely dramatic twists. Fortunately, James Wan knew how to balance the lot out, not overdoing anything until necessary. The gore is comes in nicely allotted intervals, the flashbacks are usually purposeful, the deathtraps as viscerally satisfying, and the twist is dramatized, but simple enough to make sense and leave a lasting, unsettling impact. Writer-star Leigh Whannell shows off a rigorous supply of inventiveness and flair that, even after 6 more films that exhausted even the smallest quirks, still has a freshness. On its own merits, Saw is highly disturbing, but is also creative, always thrilling, and packing a subtle, highly dramatic emotional punch that doesn't return. Such a shame to see a good horror film's image ruined by overeager filmmakers resorting to shallow, completely gore-driven thrills.