Saw kicks into high gear right away as two strangers (Cary Elwes and writer Leigh Whannell) wake-up in a grungy bathroom with a dead body lying face down in a pool of blood in the middle but it unfortunately can't keep up the pace of the attention getting opening.
Elwes and Whannell end-up being pawns in the latest game of a serial killer dubbed the "Jigsaw Killer" who's been setting up elaborate games with people in order to shed some light on the dark side of their lives. They're both chained on opposite sides of the room and our killer is pitting his two victims against each other by placing items, clues, and hints around the room to try and build resentment between the two.
Also throw into the story is obsessed detective Danny Glover who's out to stop the killer, an inventive plot device that mixes in flashbacks quite well (though admittedly a few times they were confusing), and an ominous, darker-than-dark tone.
Saw is one of the more original serial killer movies to come down the pipe in a while and it plays out in such an unrelenting and bleak pace that you can't help but appreciate the effort put into it by director James Wan and Whannell - unfortunately though there's flaws poking their way in as the script throws in a few twists I didn't agree with (mostly above Glover's character), the finale gets a bit too over-the-top with Elwes performance disintegrating quite badly, and there's just too many plot holes on hand (things such as the killer's motive and why there'd be other victims, etc.).
If you're looking for a watchable horror flick and you're willing to overlook some of the obvious inconsistencies then, Saw, makes for a decent time. The main plus about the movie is that it's introduced us to a filmmaking pair who could go on to bigger and better things, and hopefully will.
Followed by a sequel. (Chris Hartley, 5/31/05)
Directed By: James Wan.
Written By: Leigh Whannell.
Starring: Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Leigh Whannell.