Film / Saw

Saw (2004) is the first film in the Saw horror film series, directed by James Wan and starring Cary Elwes.

The film sees two men, Adam and Lawence, awaken in a dilapidated bathroom chained by their legs to pipes, on the opposite sides of the room, with the body of a man in the middle of them laying in a pool of his own blood with a gun in his hand and unsure of how they got there. They soon find a tape which tells them their in the middle of a game concocted by the infamous Jigsaw Killer, a man who kidnaps victim he deems not appreciating life and sets in life or death games. As the two try to find a way to escape if they wish to survive, police are trying to investigate Jigsaw and bring him to justice. However, he turns out be a very tricky and deadly foe.

This film provides examples of:

  • Almighty Janitor: A last-minute subversion in Zep in the original Saw. He is still pretty resourceful all the same.
  • And I Must Scream: Despite Jigaw's claims, the man in Amanda's trap is not dead, but rather very much alive, forced to watch her cut him open to retrieve the key from inside his chest.
    • Adam's fate at the end is him being trapped and chained in the dark abandon bathroom, with no means of escape.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Adam's attempt to fool Jigsaw into thinking he was poisoned.
  • Booby Trap: A ceiling-mounted shotgun left behind for the police. One of the few things Jigsaw has ever constructed that fits a rational definition of the word 'trap.'
  • Bloodless Carnage: This installment to a degree, oddly enough, considering the massive gore-fest that the sequels become.
  • Cameo: Subverted. Tobin Bell shows up for a few seconds as one of Lawrence's patients. Turns out he's behind the whole thing.
  • Dead-Hand Shot/Dead Foot Shot: The first film had posters with one of each.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Zep, who we are lead to believe was Jigsaw, was merely a another victim force to play Jigsaw's games.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The "dead man" in the middle of the room was the mastermind. Oh yeah, he also happened to be an unconscious one-scene patient of Dr. Gordon's.
  • Downer Ending: Adam's only chance to escape was unintentionally lost from the very start, when he drained the key to his chain as he awoke, and he is left to die in the bathroom by Jigsaw.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first film, while having its moments, is really more of a suspense film than gorn.
  • Electric Torture: Used for various purposes; the chains around Adam's and Lawrence's legs are wired up to conduct current.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge After being captured, told he must saw off his foot to escape, and subjected to intense psychological torture, Adam screams his head off while bashing in his apparent captor's head with a toilet lid.
  • Foreshadowing: As Lawrence is loading the cartridge into the corpse's revolver to shoot Adam, the camera briefly shows all six chambers of the cylinder to be empty. Revolvers don't eject spent cartridges and yet the guy on the floor was supposed to have shot himself. What looked to be a simple prop error is actually a subtle foreshadowing to the twist ending.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Ironically, the most violent acts in the first film - Lawrence sawing off his own foot and Adam bashing in Zepp's skull - aren't even shown, even in the extended cut. Gordon's detached foot and Zepp's body aren't actually seen until the end of Saw II.
  • Headbutt of Love: Adam and Lawrence get one at the end of the film, Lawrence using it to help calm down the justifiably hysterical Adam.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Detective Tapp and Zepp fire multiple magazines at each other without managing to hit anything. For Zepp, this is somewhat understandable, since he's just a hospital orderly. However, Tapp is a detective, who should have multiple hours of marksmanship training in the police force. Though it is somewhat justified that he's been discharged from the force for quite a while and also driven mad. It's further justified by the fact that police officers aren't known for extreme accuracy in the hits-to-misses ratio.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Jigsaw provides Adam and Lawrence with two hacksaws to escape with, which they soon realize are not meant to be used on their chains, but on their feet. Gordon manages to cut off his foot and drag himself out of the room, while Adam does not and is locked in by Jigsaw.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: Mark Wilson is stuck in a room covered in flammable oil and slowly being being poisoned. The antidote in a safe with a combination lock, and the combination is on the wall. The problem is, the combination is hidden among thousands of numbers with no way to distinguish the real one. He dies.
  • The Reveal: Zepp isn't Jigsaw; the man lying on the ground in the room isn't dead, and HE is Jigsaw.
  • Rewind, Replay, Repeat:
    • Lawrence replays the part in his Hannibal Lecture-via tape that he has received from Jigsaw where Jigsaw says that "Allison and Diana will die, and I'll leave you in this room to rot." Turning the volume all the way up allows him to hear the nearly inaudible "follow your heart" clue in the static at the end of the tape.
    • Tapp is shown doing this with a video Jigsaw made, which is about the only piece of evidence he has on the guy.
  • Perverse Puppet: Billy, the doll Jigsaw uses to communicate with his victims.
  • Sole Survivor: Amanda Young is the only victim who survived a Jigsaw trap.
  • Swallow the Key: Apparently forced on one of Jigsaw's captives, so that another prisoner would be required to cut it out of his body to stop her own rapidly-approaching demise. Contrary to what she'd been told, the key-swallower was not dead when she started cutting.