Adam (Leigh Whannell) wakes up in a dank room across from Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and the body of a guy who has blown his own brains out. Not a happy place, obviously, and it gets worse when both men realize that they've been chained and pitted against one another by an unseen but apparently omniscient maniac who's screwing with their psyches as payment for past sins. Director James Wan, who concocted this grimy distraction with screenwriter Whannell, has seen Seven
and any number of other arty existential-psycho-cat-and-mouse thrillers, so he's provided Saw
with a little flash, a little blood, and a lot of ways to distract you from the fact that it doesn't make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Wan and Whannell (who's not the most accomplished actor, either) pile on the plot twists, which after some initially novel ideas become increasingly juvenile. Elwes works hard but looks embarrassed, and the estimable Danny Glover suffers as the obsessed detective on the case. The denouement will probably surprise you, but it won't get you back the previous 98 minutes.--Steve Wiecking
This tense horror is the directorial debut for James Wan, and the first screenplay written by actor Leigh Whannell, who also stars. Two men, Adam (Whannell) and Dr Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes), wake up to find themselves chained to pipes in a room they have never seen before. Between them lies the dead body of a man with apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds. As they begin to piece together the circumstances that led to their predicament, the pair realise they are the latest victims of a serial killer known as the Jigsaw, who orchestrates situations in which his captors will be driven to kill each other. They also learn that the killer has taken Gordon's family hostage. How can the men possibly outwit this sadistic psychopath in time to save themselves and the hostages?