Saw (2004)

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Released 24-May-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Leigh Whannell (Writer/Actor) And James Wan (Director)
Featurette-Making Of-Sawed Off: Inside Sneak Peek At The Making Of SAW
Trailer-Hitch, Span.glish, Eulogy
Music Video-'Bite The Hand That Bleeds You' By Fear Factory
Featurette-Making Of-Making Of The Unrated Video
Gallery-Poster
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 98:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Wan
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Leigh Whannell
Cary Elwes
Danny Glover
Ken Leung
Dina Meyer
Mike Butters
Paul Gutrecht
Michael Emerson
Benito Martinez
Shawnee Smith
Makenzie Vega
Monica Potter
Ned Bellamy
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Charlie Clouser


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The story behind the making of Saw is every bit as fascinating as the film itself. James Wan and Leigh Whannell were two film graduates from Melbourne, Australia, with grand ideas and ample enthusiasm but little else.

    They both fleshed out a story based on the situation that begins the film. This outline was then developed into a screenplay, written by Leigh. To pitch the project to financiers, James and Leigh actually filmed one of the macarbe scenes from the screenplay. Funding was the key for the production to progress any further, so they went to Hollywood to find a willing backer, and the rest is history.

    These two unknown filmmakers also managed to retain control of the project, which was a huge gamble on the part of the studio. James Wan directed the film and Leigh Whannell wrote it and played a lead acting role. The whole film was shot in eighteen days (a point James makes many times in the audio commentary) on the tiny budget of just over US $1,000,000. While it receieved mixed reviews and reactions from around the world, it was a huge box office success, launching the international film careers of these two persistant Melburnians.

    Saw gets straight to the point and opens with two men, Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Dr Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) chained by their legs to pipes in a dirty and disgusting industrial bathroom. Neither of them can recall just how they came to be in this situation. But there is an even more macarbe aspect to their surroundings. In between the two men is an unknown dead man, laying in a large pool of blood. He is not within reach of either captive. Furthermore, he has a pistol in one hand and a microcassette player in the other. Both men discover they also have microcassettes in their pockets with the words "play me" written on labels. After managing to get the player from the dead man's hand, they each play their tapes. Adam's tape reveals clues to the where abouts of two hacksaws. These are incapable of cutting through the high tensile steel chains, but will cut through flesh and bone. Dr Gordon's tape reveals a task that he must complete if his wife Alison (Monica Potter) and daughter Diana (Makenzie Vega ) are to survive.

    Dr Gordon recalls that he was questioned by two detectives, Lieutenant David Tapp (Danny Glover) and Detective Steven Sing (Ken Leung ) in regards to a bizzare murder recently. It becomes apparant that he and Adam have become the latest victims of a serial killer known only as Jigsaw.

    Saw twists and turns, with many red herrings placed in the path of it's audience. The less told of the plot, the more enjoyable the film is to a first time viewer. As the morbid psychopathic games of Jigsaw are revealed, the police hunt for him intensifies and the film's elaborate puzzles become even darker and more baroque...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Saw is excellent.

    It is presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The level of sharpness exhibited is outstanding and delivers consistant clarity. Blacks were clean and bold, even though the film has a deliberately gritty and grainy look. Shadow detail was an important issue in this film, with many of the scenes cloaked in varying degrees of darkness. They were not problematic at all and looked excellent.

    The colours used in the film are very subtle and muted, with occasional splashes of vibrant colour. Saw was never intended to look particularly pretty, and Julie Berghoff's wonderful production design ensures this. The colours were all rendered superbly on disc, appearing very natural with no oversaturation issues.

    I found no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were also very well controlled. Varying amounts of film grain was present, which enhanced the overall look of the film superbly. Film artefacts were occasionally noticed, but were never problematic.

    There are no subtitles available on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layer disc, with the layer change occurring at, 59:58. While it was easily noticed, it wasn't disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer for Saw, is also quite outstanding.

    There are three audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) and an English audio commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s). All three tracks are of excellent quality.

    Dialogue quality was superb in clarity and was easily understood throughout. There were no negative issues with audio sync; this appeared to very accurate.

    The original music score by Charlie Clouser is generaly rock-based, reinforcing the mood and errie nature of the film perfectly. Charlie has worked extensively with the band Nine Inch Nails, as well as writing music for television programs such as Las Vegas. Other rock artist's songs are also featured on the soundtrack, including Fear Factory, Pitbull Daycare and Front Line Assembly.

    Use of the surround channels was a real treat and added so much to the overall experience. The sound design places the audience in the middle of the chaos. This was particularly effective in the clostrophobic scenes in the filthy bathroom. Directional effects were precise and really helped sustain that on-edge feeling throughout the film.

    The subwoofer was also given a big workout. The frequent bass effects were delivered with extra rumble, as were elements of the music score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras are very basic, which indicates a special edition may be released in the future.

    The menu design is very atmospheric and errie, with suitable animation. It features some great sound effects and creepy music in the background. The main menu has Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio and is 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentray - James Wan (Director) and Leigh Whannell (Writer/Actor)

    An outstanding commentary which contains a lot of humour, as well as being generally informative. James and Leigh discuss all aspects of the film, from the development of the story through to viewing the final film with an audience. They give plenty of insights into the production and also freely give up some production secrets. There are very few pauses in this commentary, which no doubt will delight fans of the film.

Featurette: Sawed Off: Inside sneak peak at the making of Saw (2:29)

    Simply way too short to provide any decent information on the making of the film. This is obviously a short clip from a much bigger behind-the-scenes documentary that may well feature in a future special edition of Saw. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

Music Video - "Bite The Hand That Bleeds You" by Fear Factory". (4:04)

    Fear Factory are a heavy metal band that features on the film's soundtrack. This is the uncut version of their cong's music video. It closely mimics scenes from the film, with members of the band playing various roles. The video also incorporates actual scenes from the film, creating a confronting music clip that would rarely be seen in form on television. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

Featurette: The Making Of The Unrated Video (4:46)

    A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Fear Factory music video, which is fairly basic in content. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

Poster Gallery (3:16)

    Examines seven posters of the film in closer detail.

Trailers x3

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There is a R1 version of Saw, released in Feburary 2005, that features the same extras as the R4 version, but differs in a couple of other areas.

    The R4 version misses out on

    By all reports the DTS audio track is brilliant. We may see this track on a possible R4 special edition in the future. But, until then, I'd stick with the R4 version. The Dolby Digital audio track is quite outstanding and the PAL transfer is superior. However, if the DTS track and subtitles are of great importance, then you might want to consider the R1 version.

    The UK R2 market has two releases, the cut version and the uncut version. The latter is the choice selection if you want the untampered-with edition.

Summary

    Saw is a film best enjoyed by simply going along for the ride and leaving serious analysis at the door. It provides some geniunely creepy moments and has a suitably menacing atmosphere. Many scenes are confronting and will certainly repel some people. But those with a desire for a bit of morbid fun and fascination, Saw should provide excellent entertainment.

    Both the video and audio transfers are of excellent quality.

    The selection of extras are very basic, apart from the welcome addition of the informative and humourous audio commentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
R2 Release - REPLY POSTED
Bought both - John N REPLY POSTED
Bought both - Mark X (read my bio)
R2 and R4 - John N
R2 and R4 - Mark X (read my bio) REPLY POSTED