At the time of the film’s release back in 2004, absolutely no one, including the makers of the film James Wan and Leigh Whannell (who served as writer, co-producer and even co-starred in the film), would have the faintest idea that an independent film of this scale would go on to earn more than 80 times its budget, and spawn one of the most profitable horror genres of all time, including six sequels to the original and a spin-off, ‘Jigsaw’, released in 2017.
Well, you have got to credit James Wan for rising from an independent horror filmmaker, to making some of the scariest modern horror movies with his own recognized trademarks, developing entire franchises to being one of the most sought after Hollywood directors, being the only one apart from James Cameron and the Russo brothers to have two films in the billion dollar club, namely ‘Fast and Furious 7’ and last year’s ‘Aquaman’. His talent has taken him places, no doubt about that.
Coming to the film, ‘Saw’ has over the years garnered the rather rare title of being a cult classic, especially because the critics could not get behind it, dismissing it as torture porn, despite the film’s positive feedback at the Sundance. The audience though, completely loved the film, and even do so, till date: especially its twist ending that is nothing short of iconic today, that no one saw coming. Here, we try to decode the enigma behind the popularity of the film, especially among younger audiences, and how or why it stood the test of time the way it did, apart from delving into its plot. Read on.
Summary of the Plot
The film begins with a man, Adam, awakening inside a bathtub inside a dilapidated and disused bathroom with a floating, glowing object being sucked in as the bathtub drains. Adam realizes that he is chained at the ankle and there is another man, Lawrence Gordon, at the other corner of the room who faces a similar predicament. Between the two is another man’s corpse laying on the floor of the room: the man is holding a revolver and a tape recorder-player, and appears to have killed himself. Adam and Lawrence realize that there is a message for each of them in their pockets with a tape that they are able to play once Adam retrieves the player from the corpse.
Adam’s message urges Lawrence to play along and find a way to escape the room through clues hidden all over the room, while Lawrence’s message additionally contains a bullet, instructing him to kill Adam before 6 PM, failing which his wife and daughter would be killed and he would be left to die in the room. The two think it through and move to analyzing the clues leading them to a heart shape drawn onto the cistern of the WC tank, inside which they find a pair of hacksaws, and some photos that Adam conceals from Lawrence. The two immediately begin to attempt to cut into their chains fruitlessly, with Lawrence realising that the hacksaws were meant for their legs and not the chains, quickly allowing him to reach the conclusion that the sadistic nature of the trap pointed to it is being set up by the notorious Jigsaw killer, who did not kill his victims directly but trapped them in situations that did.