common sense

0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
5 out of 5
3 out of 5
5 out of 5

More grisly than scary; not for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is the stuff of nightmares, even if the inured horror aficionado might not find it scary. The images of torture and death are brutal and explicit, lingering in mind long after the movie ends. There are multiple on-screen deaths, a child's life is threatened, characters die, a father is forced to make terrible decisions to protect his family, and there are no scenes free of peril. There are references to suicide, adultery, drug addiction, madness, and self-mutilation. There is strong language, and characters smoke. Underlying the killer's motive is the notion that everyone deserves to be tortured and that there are no innocents.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the killer's motivation, whether the deaths are consistent with that motive, and what the characters might have done differently. They also might wish to talk about the resonance (or lack thereof) of movies where characters face death and re-evaluate their lives and priorities. Do Lawrence or Adam become more appealing characters as you know them better and as their fate looks bleaker? Do their choices become clearer as they reassess their priorities? What do you think the "right" life would be like so as not to attract the killer's attention?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Saw reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Its hellish extremes more oppressive than entertaining.

- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Friday, October 29, 2004

Fresh: Terrifying at some moments and insinuatingly creepy at many others.

- Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, October 29, 2004

Fresh: An ingenious machine for inducing terror, rage, and paralyzing unease.

- David Edelstein, Slate, Friday, October 29, 2004

Audience Reviews

4 stars

A gritty, dirty, and intense horror movie with superb acting from Leigh Whannel and Cary Elwes as two men chained inside an abandoned bathroom, wondering how they got there and why they are here. This movie gets a lot of bad rep for ceaseless violence and excessive gore, and gets unfairly coupled with "Hostel" because of this. It is definitely violent and not for all, but in terms of how the simple story is given layers and handled meticulously with backstories and flashbacks, you can not deny it is a good idea handled exceptionally well. In my opinion this is one of the better horror films of the 00's, with a twist ending that will knock you out cold. The score is also phenomenal, as it continually amps up the intensity (especially in the final act) to almost unbearable levels. Highly recommended if you like horror films.

- fb619846742, Saturday, June 15, 2013

3 stars

Interesting story with some cool twists but the acting is absolutely terrible. Of course, this is only the beginning of a money-making sequel shitfest, and it really goes downhill after the third film. People will pay to see grisly violence, simple. Probably the most pointless franchise of all time. Although, I must say that this first installment is entertaining and even unpredictable.

- edfilmreviews, Thursday, August 16, 2012

3 stars

img]] Saw is a difficult film to review. Though the plot is intriguing as well as, a gleefully perfect set up for fans of gore and splatter, it interlocks the flashbacks with the narrative sometimes unclearly and quite forcefully. The characters also are underdeveloped and whilst watching Saw your sometimes unsure whether or not your supposed care about them. The direction is also perfectly fine, but definitely not perfect. However the art direction is brilliant, and possibly the most precise and visually creative for a horror film in years, there's a genuine mix of shocks from the kills and plenty of scenes with suspense. But there is a lack of atmosphere through out, sometimes it gets repetitive and feels too long but it's saved by the inventiveness of the violence that really makes you think the film makers are twisted. That said, I think it's fairly weak on a narrative and character level, I dont think it's as original as some people suggest it is, and it definetely lacks emotional involvement. But as a fan of gut-churningly gory horror movies I enjoyed it for the most part. But all the sequels after this one, as expected with horror franchises, the whole thing goes downhill.

- aquateen2, Tuesday, July 3, 2012