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Saw (2004)

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

Saw is another favorite of mine, a piece of personal nostalgia. I vividly recall the days of movies posted to YouTube in parts, shitty quality and usually missing more than a few minutes of the film in totality. I will admit that I streamed many movies illegally in those days, mostly because at 13 I wasn’t allowed into R rated movies without an adult and both my parents disliked horror. Going in everything I knew about Saw pertained to the gruesome death traps. The first Saw in particular had been nothing like I expected. At that young age I had planned to find brutality and blood but instead I found an intriguing story that had me on the edge of my seat.

From the opening of the movie with the light on a chain swirling down the tub drain I became hooked. I often didn’t hear talk about the story, that all of the little pieces of information and clues connected so fluidly in such a shocking way at the end. Every detail seemed to be crafted without the viewer even knowing that something was afoot. I loved the revenge aspect of it and overall I felt that it addressed something that quickly became a huge political talking point: the American healthcare system. During my first watching of course I didn’t connect those dots but throughout my many rewatches I saw something much bigger.

Here we have the antagonist, Jigsaw, abducting people he feels have either wronged him during his battle with terminal cancer or who do not respect their gift of life and placing them in traps which they will either sacrifice to free themselves from or succumb to. Granted, I am not blind to the pretentious notion that Jigsaw has any right to determine who does and does not deserve to live. As an adult I find it absurd and mentally unsound that he bestowed God-like powers upon himself. I will however take into account that he had a brain tumor that could have greatly affected his cognitive ability. Nonetheless, I could see where he was coming from despite the rather ghastly murders he ultimately carried out.

My personal favorite part of not only Saw (2004) but every Saw installment afterwards is the end with the infamous music where all of the pieces come together. In Saw (2004) it’s absolutely mind boggling how Jigsaw managed to lie in the middle of that nasty room that long only to reveal himself at the very end. All in all I will always recommend anyone who hasn’t seen the Saw movies to at the very least sit down and watch Saw (2004), Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), and Saw IV (2007). If you’re really digging those I’d say take a gamble on Saw V (2008) because around that time things kind of fall apart but an opinion piece on the series as a whole is for another time.

Recommended score: 8/10


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