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Saw

8/10
Crime . Mystery . Horror . Thriller
 

Obsessed with teaching his victims the value of life, a deranged, sadistic serial killer abducts the morally wayward. Once captured, they must face impossible choices in a horrific game of survival. The victims must fight to win their lives back, or die trying...

 
Actors: Monica Potter , Danny Glover , Cary Elwes , Paul Gutrecht , Mike Butters , Dina Meyer , Leigh Whannell , Tobin Bell , Ken Leung , Michael Emerson
Directors: James Wan
Country: USA
Release: 2004-10-29
More Info:
  • Heidi Martinuzzi

    May be the best independent horror film to have come out since "The Blair Witch Project." It's certainly better than "Blair Witch", and more fun, more gruesome, and more macabre. In a very delightful way.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Sean Axmaker

    The filmmakers piece it together with almost clockwork perfection and deliver it with masterful misdirection, creating the most ingenious, eccentric and brazenly jaundiced psycho-thriller to come along in years.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Kim Newman

    As good an all-out, non-camp horror movie as we’ve had lately.

    Empire Full Review
  • Robert K. Elder

    Wan's tense, grisly cinematic morsel won't go down easy. But once it hits bottom, Saw is oddly satisfying, though the gag reflex never entirely goes away.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • David Sterritt

    Horror fans will find plenty to shriek about. Everyone else should keep their distance.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Carla Meyer

    The slasher scenes, though relatively few, are amazingly evocative for such a low-budget movie.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Saw is for hard-gore horror aficionados only.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Frank Scheck

    Boasts an undeniably original premise and clever plot machinations that lift it several notches above the usual slasher film level.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Less a classical narrative than an ingenious machine for inducing terror, rage, and paralyzing unease.

    Slate Full Review
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Saw is a gristle-cut B psycho thriller that would like to tap the sickest corners of your imagination. It has a few moments of nightmare creepiness, but it's also derivative and messy and too nonsensical for its own good.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Luke Y. Thompson

    It's brutal horror, where anyone can die at any time, and gorehounds will love it. Average folks may find it too intense.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Carina Chocano

    Saw is so full of twists it ends up getting snarled. For all of his flashy engineering and inventive torture scenarios, the Jigsaw Killer comes across as an amateur. Hannibal Lecter would have him for lunch.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Stephen Holden

    Does a better-than-average job of conveying the panic and helplessness of men terrorized by a sadist in a degrading environment, but it is still not especially scary.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    It's gross as hell.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Roger Ebert

    An efficiently made thriller, cheerfully gruesome, and finally not quite worth the ordeal it puts us through.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    The film is a squeamish exercise, like watching a cruel child pull the wings off flies - especially the climactic scene, which is so gory it would turn a coyote's stomach.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    As long as Saw stays in that big, nasty bathroom, all we need to believe is the knot in our stomachs.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Aaron Hillis

    Spoiled by its own insatiable desire for envelope-pushing flair; it’s wider-scoped when it should be intimate, splashy instead of subtle, icky but not scary.

    Premiere Full Review
  • Leah McLaren

    Let's just say this: It's a lucky thing I wasn't shackled to my seat in the theatre during this movie. I'd be limping home.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Maitland McDonagh

    Wan's debut feature is a twisted, squirm-inducingly nasty bit of work, which isn't a criticism because that's exactly what he and cowriter Leigh Whannell had in mind.

    TV Guide Full Review
  • Mark Holcomb

    With its toilet-bobbing and blood spurting and Elwes's fey, Vincent Price–like mugging, Saw succeeds in capturing something like Takashi Miike by way of William Castle. Happy Halloween, indeed.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Kim Morgan

    A story that's so ridiculous you'll at least be entertained by the outrageous plot contortions to come.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    Becomes exceedingly disgusting when it wallows in the psychological torture of a child, a no-no under any circumstances.

    USA Today Full Review
  • M. E. Russell

    What makes Saw so awful is that it starts with a clever premise and then completely blows it.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    Saw has its moments, and most of them are brutal in the extreme, but ultimately it's one tremendous misfire that will either leave you laughing or, possibly, gagging. Not what I'd call a winning combination.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Though dumber than a box of rocks, Saw forges ahead with the kind of conviction and energy that will keep bad-cinema junkies sitting bolt upright.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Dennis Harvey

    A crude concoction sewn together from the severed parts of prior horror/serial killer pics.

    Variety Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    But humans who live above ground, including horror fans, will find themselves only fitfully entertained and more consistently appalled.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Where "Seven" seemed to radiate diabolical evil, Saw just radiates idiocy.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Jami Bernard

    A gore movie with no teeth.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • V.A. Musetto

    Promoted as "the year's scariest movie," it's anything but.

    New York Post Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Sicko horror film from Australia, whose sadism is topped only by its absurdity.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    Jigsaw is a wickedly fun villain, if you can put aside the implausibility of a guy who likes to saunter away from his deathbed to kidnap younger, stronger people and devise medieval torture chambers.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Kevin Crust

    For the most part the film succeeds in producing a frightening Halloween weekend experience.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Frank Scheck

    The killer himself takes a far more prominent role in this edition, and as played by the superb Tobin Bell he's quite a memorable creation.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Luke Y. Thompson

    Saw II, despite the swift turnaround time, improves on all of the first film's problem areas, while leaving intact everything that was good about the concept.

    Dallas Observer Full Review
  • Chris Kaltenbach

    There's an honesty to the film that elevates it a cut above standard slasher fare.

    Baltimore Sun Full Review
  • Gregory Kirschling

    The contest is close, but Saw II is just barely a better B flick than "Saw."

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Desson Thomson

    It's clear this sequel (directed by Darren Lynn Bousman) doesn't have the same smartness (I speak relatively) of the original. Nonetheless, "Saw" fans can still look forward to involuntary incineration, wrist and throat slashing, bullets through brains and the bashing of someone's head with a nail-festooned club.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Alan Morrison

    Morally dubious it may be, but this gory melange of torture, terror and darkly humorous depravity appeals to the sick puppy within us all.

    Empire Full Review
  • Mike Russell

    It all adds up to a sequel that is, against all odds, not a total waste of your serial-killer dollar.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Laura Kern

    It's fully apparent that this sequel is more trick than treat and doesn't really compare to its fine predecessor - though it still manages to be eye-opening (and sometimes positively nauseating) in itself.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Ken Fox

    Unfortunately, that imagination flags early in the first sequel to the grisly 2004 sleeper hit, though the bang-up ending nearly makes it all worthwhile and it opens with a set piece worthy of its predecessor.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    Though the overall effect feels a little anemic compared with its predecessor, the ads promise blood, and - oh yes - there is blood.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Peter Hartlaub

    Basically, this is a really good movie until the last part, where director and co-writer Darren Lynn Bousman ruins so much so fast that you'll wonder if his actions are deliberate -- or if the studio interfered.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Robert Koehler

    New pic lets the air out by divulging the startling mystery that concluded the original. Add this to problematic juggling of police procedural and group-in-distress storylines, and Lions Gate has what looks like a sequel rushed for Halloween.

    Variety Full Review
  • Sean Axmaker

    There are some surprises to be had amid the cruelty (inflicted by both Jigsaw and his test subjects), but this time around the ordeal is less grueling than simply distasteful.

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer Full Review
  • Marc Savlov

    To its credit, the film rockets toward its conclusion with scant downtime. It's come and gone before you even know it, and, like death, that's a good thing.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Pete Vonder Haar

    One of the drawbacks to rushing your sequel to theaters is that there's not a lot of time to hone dialogue and performances.

    Film Threat Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Stripped down to the barest genre essentials, Saw is a spring-loaded killing machine, packed with sadistic little deathtraps and ludicrous macabre twists, and its quickie sequel offers more of the same, which should again appease viewers who enjoy being jerked around.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Mike Clark

    Whether we're talking this go-round, the original or the second sequel the finale seems to promise, I'd rather try standing drunk on a see-saw (though maybe not over dirty syringes) than see Saw.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Peter Debruge

    The explanation for all this mayhem eludes me, and even a lame last-minute twist isn't enough to cover the fact that Jigsaw ain't as clever as the movie thinks he is.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Benjamin Strong

    What's worth noting is how much greater deliberation was given to the marketing than the screenplay of this cursory dud, rushed to theaters exactly a year after its amusing predecessor.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Christopher Orr

    Saw II repels, morally and aesthetically, and while some -- including the filmmakers, perhaps -- may take this as a compliment, it isn't intended as one. Let the game stop. Please.

    L.A. Weekly Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It's not a film, it's an excuse to show victims bleeding at the mouth, or getting shot in the eye, or plucking out their own eyeballs. Most gruesome of all, the sequel oozes dialogue that is best described as "functional."

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Rick Groen

    Don't look for logic here. But if gore is your game, a motherlode awaits.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Ryan Devlin

    Finally, a horror movie for the reality TV generation. Saw II feels like an episode of "Fear Factor" or "Big Brother" with Rob Zombie at the helm, and if that doesn’t scare you away from this ridiculous movie, well, feel free to indulge your questionable tastes.

    Premiere Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    Vilely violent, Saw 2 is the Phnom Penh of splatter movies.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Wesley Morris

    The product of immaturity. It approaches suffering with a meaninglessness that must be a luxury for anyone who has never lost anyone, or is incapable of empathizing with someone who has.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • J.R. Jones

    Comes to life only when it reprises elements from the original movie.

    Chicago Reader Full Review
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