The Scariest Things: ‘Saw’


Courtesy Twisted Pictures

Opinion Editor Jula Utzschneider writes that “Saw” (2004) has an entertaining plot but lacks traditional jump scares.

Jula Utzschneider, Opinion Editor

Hello everyone! This week, I watched “Saw” (2004), a suspenseful thriller directed by James Wan, inspired by “The Blair Witch Project” and a real criminal case of a serial tickler (surprising, I know).

This movie follows photographer Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) and oncologist Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes), as they regain consciousness and find themselves chained to pipes at either end of a filthy, windowless bathroom. The two men realize they’ve been trapped by a sadistic serial killer nicknamed “Jigsaw” and must complete his insane puzzle to live, as the audience observes flashbacks that depict the fates of his previous victims. Meanwhile, Dr. Gordon’s wife (Monica Potter) and young daughter (Makenzie Vega) are held captive and forced to watch this torture via closed-circuit video.

Without further ado, let’s start the review.

Saw by Jula Utzschneider


Fright Factor: How scary is the movie?

Rating: 6/10

This movie is scary, but not in the usual jump-scare way that many horror movies tend to be.  There is an intense level of suspense created, especially when Detective Tapp and his partner find Jigsaw’s hideout, but for the most part, it leads to nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, there were some jump scares (like most horror movies), but I think this movie could have benefited from more. There is also an extreme amount of gore shown, and though this is somewhat typical for a horror movie, it may be difficult for people with a fear of blood to watch.

Plot: Is the storyline/script interesting?

Rating: 9/10

The concept of the storyline is simple, but very well executed and interesting. The plot mainly revolves around the need to escape Jigsaw’s deranged game, created to instill a sense of purpose in his chosen victims’ lives. However, if it weren’t for the last 10 minutes, which quite frankly saved the entire film, I would be giving it a lower score. Its slow-paced beginning definitely made the first few minutes boring to watch, which is certainly not what is expected (nor wanted) in a horror movie. That being said, the ending is certainly a plot twist that I didn’t see coming.

Quality: How well is it produced? How good is the acting?

Rating: 8/10

“Saw” is produced very well, especially in the way some of the scenes are set up. My personal favorite, which seems like the most well-crafted and representative of the character, is Jigsaw’s hideout. It’s filled with dirt, graffiti, and mannequins, and even shows some of his planning for various of his “games.” It’s a dark and eerie setting that perfectly matches one of the most important and creepy characters of the movie. However, at some points the acting was “typical cheesy horror movie,” in that the actors were so overly intense that I actually laughed.

Entertaining: How fun is it to watch?

Rating: 8/10

As mentioned before, the film’s beginning was so slow that it made it painful to watch. That being said, it was one of the best plot twists I have ever seen. I genuinely thought I had the ending all figured out, but was completely shocked when it came and I was totally wrong.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Despite its slow-paced beginning, the plot twist at the end made it completely worthwhile. Although “Saw” isn’t scary to watch, I would still highly recommend this gruesome movie.


Have a frightful Saturday everyone, and be sure to come back on Dec. 20 for my review of “Midsommar.”