ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Saw (2004)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: James Wan

Starring:
Cary Elwes/Dr. Gordon
Leigh Whannell/Adam
Danny Glover/Tapp
Monica Potter/Diana
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Two dudes, one a doctor (Elwes), the other a photographer (Whannel) wake up in a scummy and enclosed space, chained to some pipes with a lifeless body lying on the ground between them. Before they assume that they must have had one hell of a keg party the night before, they figure out that they’ve been abducted by a serial killer named "Jigsaw". Why? Well, the walnut wants to play a lethal game of “earn the right to live, mofos” and they have no other choice, but to partake. It, fortunately, gets dreadfully messy.
THE LOWDOWN
"Doctor Gordon, this is your wake up call..."-- Jigsaw

This film clobbered my skull into ashes, rolled me into a joint, smoked me up, banged my girlfriend and then squashed me into an ashtray. Let's all cheer for Lions Gate who seem to know a thing or three about acquiring SOLID and BALLSY horror films. Coupled with "Haute Tension", Lions Gate has launched a fatal right/left genre combo my way and I thank them for it. Now, ask yourself this: what would happen if "Seven" and "Cube" would do the dirty deed? Well, if nobody put a “jimmy” on their pecker, a bastard child named "Saw" would pop out of the rabbit hole nine months later to wreck some havoc. And wreck havoc it did. YEEHAW!

From frame one onward, this genre bully threw me into a corner and didn’t let me out 'till the end credits rolled. Although the tight characterization at play was one of the key reasons that I was so into this psychotic ride, where “Saw" stroked me the most was in the way that it conveyed its toxic narrative. Much like the nickname of its loony, this tale ingeniously worked like a jigsaw puzzle, going back and forth in time, illustrating the players’ everyday lives, the killer’s gruesome work while revealing information i.e. clues for us to latch on. The “audience participation” nature of the flick tagged with its army of “knock you over the head” twists, its engaging investigation subplot (go Glover go!) and its sweet mean streak (look out for those shotguns) had me on the edge of the edge. I felt trapped within Saw’s deadly grasp and was zealously piecing the shards of info together, yearning to see the big picture. But to be honest, I never wanted to escape this bleak web! I was having too much a hoot-nanny with all the unpleasantness!

Moreover, this horror party’s grim and stylized allure warmed me up like a “Pizza Pocket” getting the zap treatment. The arresting directorial style at hand was comparable to a blend of Italian Giallos, Asian films, some gritty David Fincher-like vibe with a pinch of rock video aesthetics sprinkled about for good measure. This sicko (yes, director James Wan...I mean you!) even went as far as visually echoing "Black Christmas" (eye-ball shot) and slapping some "Deep Red" (cackling dummy) in there! Good stuff! Add to all that yumminess, a heartwarming tendency to delve into cruel scenarios fearlessly, creatively and quite graphically (gore baby….gore) and you get a horror heavyweight that pulverized me repeatedly throughout to then knock my block out with its visceral finale! Man, I love rude little movies like this!

On the slight downside, some of the directing and editing choices where a little too MTV for my taste in certain spots (camera going round and round and assault of quick cuts). EASSSY MAN! Just say NO to drugs and say yes to illegal substances! I also got confused once due to the non-linear storyline. Either it was badly communicated or I’m an imbecile! My biggest peeve had to do with one harsh choice made by one of the leads though. I found it somewhat trivial since there seemed to be at least two other options available before making that play. It had me yelling at the big screen and I perceived it as solely there to force the storyline to its pre-destined conclusion. Then again, taking into account the intense circumstances, the dude’s psychological state, maybe…ummm….arrrggg....I don’t know anymore! You’ll take that “move” or leave it. I’m not sure about it yet…sue me!

All things considered, “Saw" was a mostly well-acted, definitely captivating and hands-down vicious little horror thug that took me for quite the gruesome outing. This bad boy fought me with gloves off…and won! I respect that! PLAY THIS GAME!
GORE
The meat shop is open! What will be it be, son? We get a blown off head, a man having a blast in barb wires, bloody entrails, a slit throat, messy shotgun shots and other goodies that I won’t reveal in order to not give away some nasty plot turns.
ACTING
I’ve always appreciated Cary Elwes (Dr. Gordon), but his knack at losing his American accent in films always cracked me up. I’m pleased to report that in “Saw”, Mr. Elwes kept his Yank twang the whole way (good job bro...you did it!), but did put out a couple of moments of “off” acting. Overall though, he gave a layered and bang-on show. Leigh Whannell (Adam) held his own as the other dude trapped in the room. Very natural. Danny Glover (Tapp) stole the show as the obsessive anti-Murtaugh. I appreciate Glover on an all-new level now! Dina Meyer (Criminologist) was utterly wasted here: she showed up, looked pretty and disappeared from the movie. Should’ve given her the wife role. Monica Potter (Diana) aka Julia Roberts Clone never did it for me. Here, she did what she had to do well, but I would’ve preferred another actress in the role (i.e. Dina Meyer)
T & A
Umm…the rusty saws the lead dudes had were naked…get off on that!
DIRECTING
Wan is going to take the scene by storm when this film comes out! His heavy-handed style rubbed me the right way most of the time. You groove on green/blue filters, insane shots, stylish scene transitions, use of still frames, fast motion, slow motion and an able smoke machine? You’ll be well fed here. The man is on speed!
SOUNDTRACK
The hostile industrial score ruled my world! No wonder...it was composed by aces Danny Lohner, and Charlie Clouser, ex-members of kick ass band “Nine Inch Nails”.
BOTTOM LINE
Harsh, surprising, daring, inventive, nihilistic and brutally graphic…my kind of lady! Movies with balls this size come once in a blue moon...relish them! Although it sported minor flaws, I’m still giving "Saw" a perfect rating. What the film made me feel more than made up for its tiny boo-boos. "Saw" had me under its blade from frame one, kept me there the whole time and slit my throat with its finale. As I bled profusely, I looked back at the outstanding experience that was this clever, twisted and plasma-heavy flick. Heed my words, let this "Saw" bleed you dry when it knocks at your door! Dying was never this much fun!
BULL'S EYE
Last I heard, Lions Gate Films was set to release "Saw" on October 29th, 2004.

I caught this flick at this year's AFM.

Leigh Whannell (Adam) also wrote the film’s screenplay.

James Wan and Leigh Whannell are working on their next project “Shhh” for Universal. All we know is that it touches upon the theme of ventriloquism.
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9:09PM on 10/24/2010

Clever, suspenseful, sometimes gory thriller.

The original "Saw" was in the vein of "Se7en" but the premise of James Wan and Leigh Whannell (Who plays Adam in the movie) was original enough.

The movie was suspenseful, it has some good thrills and it even manage to be campy at times, especially some of Cary Elwes` dialogue. Although it was originally made as a Direct to Video project. Since it was an surprise Box Office hit, it spawned seven sequels (Which surprisingly most of them were very good or good).

"Saw" is certainly the
The original "Saw" was in the vein of "Se7en" but the premise of James Wan and Leigh Whannell (Who plays Adam in the movie) was original enough.

The movie was suspenseful, it has some good thrills and it even manage to be campy at times, especially some of Cary Elwes` dialogue. Although it was originally made as a Direct to Video project. Since it was an surprise Box Office hit, it spawned seven sequels (Which surprisingly most of them were very good or good).

"Saw" is certainly the breakthrough movie of James Wan, he is certainly an young talented director. Since his third movie "Death Sentence" was so underrated and his second movie "Death Silence" was so-so. If you haven`t seen the original movie, don`t miss it,
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5:37PM on 03/31/2009
One of the best genre films ever, hands down. The film had its' minor flaws, true, but there's still a lot of love here for it. I especially found myself rooting for Elwes and Whannell the whole time.

One of the best genre films ever, hands down. The film had its' minor flaws, true, but there's still a lot of love here for it. I especially found myself rooting for Elwes and Whannell the whole time.

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4:18PM on 01/21/2009
Good film, they showed a few too many flashbacks, but this movie delivered terrifically, along with the greatest ending I have ever seen.
Good film, they showed a few too many flashbacks, but this movie delivered terrifically, along with the greatest ending I have ever seen.
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+0
5:33AM on 11/06/2008

So-so

I thought the first hour of the film was quite gripping, but it all just seemed to fall apart in the last half-hour, with a lot of twists and turns that annoyed me. It's also around the hour mark that Cary Elwes' performance fell from solidly competent to mostly unconvincing.
I thought the first hour of the film was quite gripping, but it all just seemed to fall apart in the last half-hour, with a lot of twists and turns that annoyed me. It's also around the hour mark that Cary Elwes' performance fell from solidly competent to mostly unconvincing.
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7:52AM on 06/23/2007

Didn't have the digs for this one

I really do have a [link] with this movie. Why? I'll tell you. The script is superbly written. Lawrence and Adam act exactly like human beings would act in such a situation, and Elwes and Whannell live up to their characters as far as their acting goes, and Charlie Clouser's spectacular score does really elevate their performances, even though it isn't necessarily used as well as it could've been used. Even though Elwes kinda overacts, it is interesting to see how well he manages to keep his
I really do have a [link] with this movie. Why? I'll tell you. The script is superbly written. Lawrence and Adam act exactly like human beings would act in such a situation, and Elwes and Whannell live up to their characters as far as their acting goes, and Charlie Clouser's spectacular score does really elevate their performances, even though it isn't necessarily used as well as it could've been used. Even though Elwes kinda overacts, it is interesting to see how well he manages to keep his british accent out of the way, transforming his voice to this Eastwood-kinda thingy. Actually he even sounded like Dr. Loomis from Halloween 6 around the end, which is great. Glover also surprised me, taking on a pretty serious dramatic role when you usually see the guy as Mel Gibson's funny sidekick. The rest of the cast did a good job as well, and the voice of the killer is pretty good, nothing compared to some others though. Anyhow, back to the script. It has some really, really clever use of flashbacks. We find out a few intriguing things of the characters through flashbacks rather than the regular way of being told. And also, even though the rest of the film is, these flashbacks aren't all too "in your face" so it doesn't get annoying or feel exploitive.

Part of that credit must go to the director and co-writer, James Wan. Wan makes this movie with heart, even though it sure is one cold heart. He gives us everything we would want from a thriller of this kind, and he does so with expertise and craftsmanship... Until the last two minutes of this movie. The ending of this film prevents it, atleast in my case, from becoming a great movie. Since I won't spoil the ending twist for you, I will only say that it is utterly, inexcusably ridicilous, retarded and overall so very meaningless. There is no need whatsoever to end a twist filled movie like this in the way this movie ends. It seriously feels like they would've just thrown it in there so that all the teenagers could go "Z0mGG I t0t4lly n3v3r s4w th4t c0m1ng!!1!" It is dumb, naive and vulgar, and yet again, there is no need whatsoever for it to even be there. Without the ridicilous ending, this movie would be a great movie, but with the ending it has now, I will take atleast 1 points away from this movie.
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3:34PM on 04/26/2007

Best Horror Movie In Years

Easily, one of my favorite horror movies of all time. Great storyline and an even better ending = "fun for the whole family."
Easily, one of my favorite horror movies of all time. Great storyline and an even better ending = "fun for the whole family."
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11:00AM on 04/10/2006
Sick, twisted, awesome storyline and premise, Saw is definitely THE horror movie of this "modern era" so far.
Sick, twisted, awesome storyline and premise, Saw is definitely THE horror movie of this "modern era" so far.
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1:21PM on 12/23/2005

hellz ya!

Loved it! This is truly one of the only films to really ever through me throw the ringer completely! Thats a very good thing! Stop bitching about the acting damnit! I dont get what was soooooo horrible about it. Come on you know it could have been alot worse. And the score is also amazing. When I heard it playing at the end it gave me chills. Great fucking movie!
Loved it! This is truly one of the only films to really ever through me throw the ringer completely! Thats a very good thing! Stop bitching about the acting damnit! I dont get what was soooooo horrible about it. Come on you know it could have been alot worse. And the score is also amazing. When I heard it playing at the end it gave me chills. Great fucking movie!
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3:37AM on 11/03/2005

IT'S GAME TIME!

We've witnessed the birth of a new franchise in the horror/thriller genre and its name is SAW. A serious fresh breath of originality mixed with an intricate theme and sick senarios made SAW one of my favorite movies ever. Oh yeah, the ending kicked HUGE ass too. Chills and thrills galore!
We've witnessed the birth of a new franchise in the horror/thriller genre and its name is SAW. A serious fresh breath of originality mixed with an intricate theme and sick senarios made SAW one of my favorite movies ever. Oh yeah, the ending kicked HUGE ass too. Chills and thrills galore!
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10:23PM on 08/21/2005

Amazing

At the end of this movie, the only thing I could say was "Wow". This movie kicked my ass all over the place. And the ending was one of the best I've seen in a long time.
At the end of this movie, the only thing I could say was "Wow". This movie kicked my ass all over the place. And the ending was one of the best I've seen in a long time.
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10:23PM on 08/13/2005

Great movie

One of the best movies i've ever seen! Great story and ending. Acting could of been better but I can look past that
One of the best movies i've ever seen! Great story and ending. Acting could of been better but I can look past that
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