Beauty in Horror: Saw (2004)

 For many, this was just a movie about tests and a sadistic killer. You watch it once, because the trailer looks good. You watch twice to catch what you missed. You watch it three times, you’re hooked. This is among one of my top favorite.  I look for story, effects, backgrounds, the acting, the directing, and the writing. Yes, I watch the first time for the same reasons many of you do, because it just looked like a damn good movie. It was, and still is.
            Written by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, this was Wan’s feature debut. This movie was shot in only 18 days, with no outside sets. The cast is as follows:
Leigh Whannell:  Adam Faulkner-Stanhope; Cary Elwes:  Dr. Lawrence Gordon; Danny Glover: Detective David Trapp; Ken Leung: Detective Steven Sing; Dina Meyer: Kerry; Michael Emerson: Zepp Hindle; Shawnee Smith: Amanda; Tobin Bell: John Kramer/Jigsaw.
            Why is this film beautiful? Besides being one of the most profitable horror films of all time, it quickly became a cult classic. If you rewatch it, you’ll see the beauty on a budget. The scenes shot in the bathroom, I think were the most beautiful scenes of the movie. It’s almost a bottle movie. The bathroom can tell you so much…Adam losing his key down the drain, hiding the pictures he took. Tobin Bell lying in the middle of the room. The writing is great, and yes, Cary Elwes does over act just a tad bit, but even that fits with the movie.
            You can feel Amanda’s terror, her horror as she tries to find her key. The tense test scenes are so well choreographed that you feel everything the characters do. Tapp’s revenge for his partners death haunts and drives him. Zepp, is driven by something, but we don’t find out tilt the end what. Seems he had his own test to go through.
saw bear trap - Beauty in Horror: Saw (2004)
            While the bathroom scenes seem to dominate the film, Jigsaw’s workshop is another piece of beauty. All his “toys” and detailed plans laid out, complete with another test subject. We get just a tease of how brilliant this man is and how dedicated to his mission. Billy the puppet was made from scratch by the creators, and Billy the doll was made by James Wan himself. Another piece of beauty. The more you watch, the more you notice.
saw1 - Beauty in Horror: Saw (2004)
            The writing is another beautiful thing. Written by Leigh Whannel, (who also played Adam) and James Wan, it told a great story. Wonderful actors bring the words to life. A unique, interesting story, Saw was ground breaking. It tells a story through the eyes of those being tested. Did you notice how Amanda broke? She could put a needle in her arm, but can’t dig through someone’s body. But she learned…and lived.
 You have to look through the traps, through the tests, to the lesson. Technically, Jigsaw never killed anyone…he gives them a choice. What they decide is on them. Do they see the beauty in their lives? Do they value their lives?
            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To me, this film is beautiful. What is your beauty in horror? Let me know and maybe I’ll explore your film next.