Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: James Wan
Starring: Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Michael Emerson, Ken Leung, Tobin Bell, Leigh Whannell.
Tag Lines: “Let the games begin!”
“Live or die. Make your choice.”
“I want to play a game.”
“Oh yes, there will be blood.”
“Every piece has a puzzle.”
“How much blood would you shed to stay alive?”
“Their saw isn’t there to cut their chains, they are there to cut their feet.”
“Every puzzle has its pieces.”
Relevance: Ever since I was a small boy, I have always loved Horror movies, from Scooby Doo to the black and white classic films ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’ to everything serial killers, ghosts and aliens. I guess I like being scared. Horror movies appear on this list twenty-three times, the fourth highest genre overall. ‘Saw’ is the first.
Released in theaters in 2004, ‘Saw’ was not met with kind reviews, but that’s a rare feat for a horror film to be embraced by critics. However, it was a box office success and became one of the most profitable horror films at the time. I was not one of those that made it out to the theater to see the film. I didn’t get to see ‘Saw’ (yes, “see ‘Saw'” just made me giggle) until it was released for rental in early 2005. I found the movie to be a fresh, original take on the serial killer, vigilante theme with just the right amount of jump scares and over the top gore. If you are a fan of horror, it was just great fun.
The well thought-out story and screenplay is what made ‘Saw’ so interesting albeit somewhat convoluted and made it stand out from most others. Horror films are at times extremely simple. ‘Saw’ made me think. That along with the quick editing and direction by James Wan made this a movie I watched numerous times throughout the years.
Today’s Thoughts: I am one of those people that have watched all eight of the ‘Saw’ films over the past sixteen years. I am even a little excited for ‘Spiral’ that will be hitting theaters May 2020. But were all of the ‘Saw’ franchise films good? Absolutely not. As more and more films were produced, the story just got more convoluted and at times ridiculous that they became well, boring. However watching the original film today reminded me of what an original, fun movie started it all.
I just have some random observations after watching it again today. “I want to play a game” is not as iconic as Joshua’s “Shall we play a game?” (see 322, WarGames) but still a memorable movie quote. Also, Jigsaw is still a pretty bad ass serial killer, Billy the puppet remains creepy as hell, some of the acting is a bit melodramatic (I’m looking at you Cary Elwes) and the gore didn’t seem as intense as I remember. That last observation could be because the sequels have tried to out-do and out-gore the previous ones. However, ‘Saw’ is still not a movie for the faint-hearted, so if you haven’t seen it, proceed with caution.
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.