RP003 Saw

(2004, Horror, color)


Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

The entire film is coated in human excrement.

Rating: *

In a nutshell:

A sadistic murderer forces his victims to kill themselves in a variety of improbable ways.


Be grateful that I didn't chose the poster that shows the hand's bloodly stump.Scruffy hipster Adam wakes up in a filthy bathtub in a grime-covered restroom. He stumbles out to discover that he’s chained to the pipes. Calling for help reveals the presence of another man: Lawrence (Cary Elwes), a doctor who’s been kidnapped and chained to the other side of the room. One of them finds a light switch, and they discover a man on the floor between them, his head ruptured by a gunshot wound, the gun still in one hand and a mini-cassette player in the other. The two search their pockets and find mini-cassettes with instructions on the first steps of a grisly little game concocted by a serial killer called Jigsaw. Apparently the object is for one of them to kill the other, providing the killer with a means to escape. As extra incentive, Lawrence’s family has been kidnapped and will be murdered if the game is not completed by a predetermined time.

What follows is a lot of gruesome, convoluted and violently edited nonsense. Some nested flashbacks take us through a number of Jigsaw’s previous victims, including the man who died trying to crawl through barbed wire, the woman who had to cut a key out of a living cellmate’s stomach so that a metal contraption wired to her jaw wouldn’t rip her head open, the man with drills on either side of his head, and so on. Through these flashbacks we meet Detective Tapp (Danny Glover) and his partner Sing. The drill-head adventure kills Sing, causing Tapp to go insane and starts harassing his prime suspect Lawrence, whose penlight was found at one of the crime scenes. Lawrence was with his mistress during the prior killings, and is thus in the clear, but this doesn’t stop the irrational Tapp from leaving the force to continue spying. When Lawrence complains, Tapp hires Adam to spy instead.

An Australian who can't do an American accent to save his life.All clear now? No? Let’s complicate things further with a variety of sadistic clues that try to convince Lawrence and Adam to kill each other via poison, gunshot, etc. Jigsaw occasionally electrocutes both via their chains when they try to find ways around the game. Eventually Lawrence realizes that Jigsaw is probably one of the orderlies from the hospital where he works, a man named Zep—something that was painfully obvious from his appearance in the first flashback. Meanwhile, Zep captures Lawrence’s family, but the crazed Tapp has been watching Lawrence’s house; he bursts in to rescue them. Tapp chases Zep out to the bathroom where Adam and Lawrence are being held.

Meanwhile, audio of the shooting, yelling and screaming makes it appear to Lawrence as if his family has been killed. He shoots Adam and saws through his own ankle to escape. Zep and Tapp arrive. Zep kills Tapp. The wounded Adam kills Zep. Lawrence tells Adam that he’s going to seek medical help for both of them before they bleed to death. He crawls away. Adam finds a mini-cassette in Zep’s pocket. It’s from Jigsaw, telling Zep that he’s been poisoned, and can only have the antidote if he sets up the situation with Adam and Lawrence. The body on the floor stands up and takes off his fake busted-head mask, revealing himself as a very minor character from an earlier flashback. He electrocutes Adam and leaves him screaming in the darkness.


An Englishman who can't do an American accent to save his life.Kevin and Bill can riff a film like nobody’s business. Let’s just get that out of the way now. A few favorite riffs: “I’m glad this movie wasn’t filmed in Odorama,” (Bill); “Ross Perot and John Malkovich’s love child,” (Kevin, referring to Jigsaw’s horrific little dummy); and “A giant alligator has the cameraman in his mouth!” (Bill, referring to the, um, “quality” of the editing). They pull their chairs right up to this movie and punish it mercilessly for its worthlessness and stupidity.

Can you tell I didn’t like the film? The one-star rating has nothing to do with the quality of the riffing (funny) or the quality of the film (stupid, nonsensical, and edited by a man in the midst of an epileptic seizure, but otherwise competent). It has to do with my loathing of the genre. Yes, I hate torture porn, and have given it a low rating for no other reason.

If you like filth-coated movies filled with unlikeable characters that spend their every waking moment in a perpetual state of agony and despair, and you like Rifftrax, then you’ll like Bill and Kevin’s take on Saw. Me, I’m stuffing this atrocity back into the slot at Blockbuster just as soon as I get the chance. Then I’ll go home and watch The Muppet Show with my children until the dark stain lifts off my soul. We’ll stay up all night if we have to.