While most killers are driven by a range of things from simply madness to a supernatural impulse this 2004 film centers on the work of a killer that seeks the “redemption” of his targets. The Jigsaw killer kidnaps their victims and ensnares them in various “games” testing each victim to prove the gift of life they have will not be forsaken. This non-linear plot jumps right into the test of Adam Stanheight and Dr. Lawrence Gordon. Adam awakens inside a darkened room with his ankle chained to a bathtub, while across the room lies Gordon chained to the wall. While both men are trapped in this deteriorated room a deceased body lies between the two men, dead by apparent suicide holding a revolver and cassette player. As the killer announces to the pair the “game” they find their selves in can only be ended when one kills the other. Seeking freedom without killing each other, Adam finds a pair of saws in the toilet and the men quickly attempt to free themselves from their bindings, but Adam’s saw breaks prompting Gordon to propose the idea that the saws aren’t for cutting through the chains, but their legs. This harrowing realization is just the start of the plot as this film explores the heinous crimes of the Jigsaw killer and what could twist two strangers’ fates together into such a dire situation.
With an ending that left most viewers stunned, this film was James Wan’s directorial debut and while met with a mixed reception by critics the film did well with a worldwide box office gross of over $100 million. While the series generally became known for being “torture porn” the first two films in the series have a heavy focus on a mystery thriller narrative the later films would fail to capture. While Wan’ started with the Saw series he would continue to direct both the Insidious and The Conjuring film series, as well as several non-horror films like Furious 7 and Aquaman. If you find yourself craving more pieces to the puzzle after watching this film check out the large catalog the series has to offer, Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, Saw 3D, Jigsaw, Spiral, and an upcoming film set to release in 2023.
As always, if you’ve seen the listed film, dislike the film, or just don’t believe you would like it we have provided a list of alternative choices for you to pick from: alternative-films-for-this-spooky-season