Published Nov 01, 2004Since everybody has to start their careers somewhere, James Wan's listed TV credit on More Great Vegetarian Dishes shouldn't dissuade you from viewing Saw. The movie itself is enough of a deterrent. This highly anticipated suspense/horror film follows the story of two men, Lawrence (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell), who have been locked-up in an abandoned bathroom by an unknown madman dubbed Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). Jigsaw's MO: force victims to make horrific moral decisions using perverse "punish yourself or die" methods. Sadly, Saw relies too much on shock value and not enough on realistic character development for the premise to work, and not being able to believe in the characters means not being able to feel empathy towards them. As a whole the characters are just plain flat, as seen in case of crime-obsessed Detective David Tapp (Danny Glover), who comes across as a ridiculous stereotype. As far as actual shock goes, even the most intriguing moments of the film end up playing second stage to the forced Scooby Doo-ish whodunit storyline. Where the film truly achieves annoying status, however, is with its overdramatic dialogue and surprisingly sloppy acting.
With a running time of 100 minutes, Saw is also too long and what starts out as potentially fascinating becomes agonising instead. The visuals in the film are admittedly decent but are still not enough to keep the film interesting. Fans of splatter should beware too, as Saw doesn't offer much in the gore department. With such a great premise, it really is a shame Saw is not able to live up to its own hype. (Lions Gate)