Saw is a 2004 horror thriller. It stars Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon, Danny Glover as Det. Tapp, Monica Potter as Alison Gordon, Michael Emerson as Zep Hindle, Ken Leung as Det. Sing, Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, and Leigh Whannell as Adam. The producers are Gregg Hoffman (George of the Jungle 2), Oren Koules (Dead Silence), and Mark Burg (Catacombs). The director is James Wan (Death Sentence).
The story begins in a rundown old industrial bathroom with two men, Adam and Dr. Lawrence Gordon, just waking up from sedation. They are both chained to pipes at opposite ends of the room, with an unconscious man lying between them. He is holding a gun and a microcassette player. As Lawrence and Adam get a feel for their surroundings, they both check their pants pockets and find envelopes with their names on them. In the envelopes, they find microcassettes. The two men get ahold of the unconscious man's player and each play their own tapes. The voice on Adam's tape tells him that he can either sit and die or do something about it. Lawrence's tape tells him that in order to win the "game", he must kill Adam. If he doesn't, Alison and Diana, his wife and daughter respectively, will die and he will be left in the industrial bathroom forever. Another clue on his tape leads them to find a bag containing hacksaws in the nearby toilet. They both try, unsuccessfully, to cut through the chains. Seeing the saws, Lawrence is reminded of who may have done this to them. Five months ago, two detectives, Tapp and Sing, came to see him when they found a penlight at one of Jigsaw's crime scenes and discovered his fingerprints on it. He claims his innocence and is asked to view the testimony of the one survivor of Jigsaw's traps. She had escaped a reverse bear trap attached to her jaw and claimed that Jigsaw helped her. At the time Lawrence is telling his story to Adam, a man secretly watches them on camera while holding Alison and Diana hostage. Tapp is, at the same time, watching him on camera.
Det. Tapp had been discharged by the police after his partner Sing was killed by Jigsaw after they illegally entered his lair. Back at the bathroom, Adam and Lawrence receive another clue leading them to a hidden cell phone that will only receive calls. Soon after, they each recall how they were abducted. They had both been attacked by a person wearing a pig mask. Alison calls Lawrence on the cell phone and tells him not to "believe Adam's lies" and that Adam knew Dr. Gordon before the abduction. Adam says that some big black guy calling himself Bob, who Lawrence correctly deduces to be Tapp, paid him to secretly take pictures of the doctor. Some of the pictures, which Adam had earlier found in the bag with the hacksaws, revealed that an orderly at the hospital named Zep had been behind Alison and Diana's capture. Meanwhile back at the Gordon house, Lawrence's wife had secretly freed herself and gone after the captor's gun as he was about to kill her and her daughter.
Seeing the gunshots, Tapp grabs his gun and races over to the Gordon's in time to save Diana and Alison from the orderly. The two escape as the former detective chases Zep to the complex where the bathroom is while Lawrence, hearing the gunshots over the phone, panics. Zep shots Tapp before reaching the bathroom to kill Gordon. Dr. Gordon, having sawed off his own foot to get free, shoots Adam in order to save his family. Zep soon enters and finds Adam lying unconscious on the floor. He tells Lawrence that he's too late because "it's the rules". But before he can shoot Lawrence, Adam comes alive and trips Zep. After he is down, Adam grabs the top of the toilet and starts beating the hospital orderly over the head with it. It is seemingly over but an interesting twist is still ahead.
There is a feature in this movie that brings up a fascinating question: How far would you go to survive? In Saw, all the victims in Jigsaw's traps are forced to make a choice whether they want to live or die. To live, the victims must either endure excruciating physical pain or kill someone else nearby. If they don't, they die for sure. One trap forces the victim to retrieve from a safe an antidote to a poison inside him by walking across broken glass barefoot to read the combination written on the wall. He has only candlelight to see and Jigsaw had covered him with a flammable substance. The victim, eventually, dies before reaching the antidote.
Another one of Jigsaw's traps involves a young woman named Amanda who has a reverse bear trap hooked to her jaw. If she doesn't find the key to the lock on the trap in time, her mouth will be "permanently ripped open". In order to get to the key, she must open up a sedated man's stomach and search for it in there. Amanda is successful in her search and survives the ordeal. Being a miserable drug addict, she is somehow grateful to Jigsaw for giving her a reason to live.
In a movie like this, you may think that it's all gore and little or no plot. But this is not the case in Saw. Although there is much gore in it, the film does have a pretty good story to it. A lot of the story is told through flashbacks which, I believe, is one of its strengths. The film starts with two men being held captive in a dilapidated bathroom. Simple, right? Wrong! As the storyline progresses, we find out that it is much more than that. We go into detailed flashbacks revealing what the lives of these two men are like and how they, from Jigsaw's view, have been wasting their lives. We see that Lawrence Gordon is a cheating and lying husband, while Adam is a private photographer who is paid to follow and take pictures of people without their knowledge or permission.
To wrap, Saw is not your typical plotless, gore-filled horror film. It poses interesting questions and teaches us, once again, not to "judge a book by its cover."