Last night I caught a screening of Saw at the Fox Tower. I always have mixed feelings when I go to these screenings. As a big movie Geek, I am thrilled to be catching a movie early (and let’s be honest, free), but the majority of the people that attend such things are…are…about as intelligent as a rusted Ford F-150 full of drunken monkeys, and just as loud. It’s something you just have to learn to live with though.

The film opens very strong. The audience is thrust right into the terror. Two men trapped in a room with no visible avenue of escape. No knowledge of each other. A dead man lying in the middle of the room. Finally, a message: The key to escape lies in the death of the man across the room from you. That’s the simple premise of Saw, a serial killer who does not actually kill. Instead, he kidnaps people that are not grateful for their lives, and forces them to perform terrible deeds in order to survive. As gruesome as this may sound, I found myself strangely understanding of the premise. This wasn’t something I could ever support, but I “got it”.

The film has some truly horrorific moments, and I often found myself wringing my fingers together harder and harder. (Some folks cover their eyes, some cringe, some pull their knees to their chest, and I hold my own hands tight). After each terrible you image you find yourself taking a deep breath thinking that it’s all over, that is simply can’t get any worse. Too bad it does. Although the film is not as gory as you would believe it to be. I’ll be the first to admit that I like some good gore at times. However, it’s not always needed. The filmmakers of Saw found the perfect balance between visceral imagery and the audiences own vivid imagination.

If the film has one flaw, it’s the final 20 minutes. There is a moment where the audience was vocally (and myself internally) yelling at the character for their obvious stupidity. As Rick mentioned after the showing, this flaw could have been fixed with a single line of dialogue, and I couldn’t agree more. The line would have been so simple I wonder why the filmmakers missed it. As a whole though, this was an impressive film and I applaud first time filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell.

I have to give Saw 4 out of 5 critical hits…That damn missing line of dialogue…