Saw (2004, USA) C-103m. ***½ D: James Wan. Starring Leigh Whannell, Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Dina Meyer, Mike Butters, Paul Gutrecht, Michael Emerson, Shawnee Scott, Monica Potter. Riveting horror thriller that maintains a fever pitch from start to finish. Whannell and Elwes, two strangers, wake up in a shabby warehouse bathroom, obviously as prisoners of some deranged psychopath. Cops Glover and Leung are hot on his trail… can they or indeed anyone figure out which sick game the killer is playing? Intense, twist-laden story operates on several time levels and is stylishly directed. Leaves you hardly any time to breathe and keeps adding more and more (also gore) to its cocktail of suspense and violence. Plot is not completely airtight, but at this pace, who cares? A surefire cult hit, written by star Whannell (whose acting is decidely inferior to his writing), from a story by himself and the director. References ranging from Argento (PROFONDO ROSSO, OPERA - love the stethoscope scene) to Fincher (SE7EN) make it all the more fun for buffs. Followed by SAW II (2005).


© Ron Altman