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SAW

About The Production
From the very first frame of Lion's Gate Films' terrifying new horror film, SAW, the audience is thrown into the unknown: two men wake up in a subterranean bathroom, both chained to the wall. They know only that one man must kill the other within eight hours or both will die. An intense, complex thrill ride with a puzzle-like plot and a surprise ending that has earned screams from festival audiences, SAW has a visceral, uniquely human perspective on horror.

"I think the film allows you to imagine yourself in the situation of these characters,” says co-writer/director James Wan. "It constantly asks, ‘If you were in their shoes, what would you do? Would you do the unthinkable to survive?'”

"It's the ‘unknown' factor,” adds co-writer/actor Leigh Whannell, who also stars in the film as Adam. "Not knowing where you are or what is going on, basically having no control, is terrifying. SAW is told from the victims' point of view, rather than the police's point of view, as we so often see in procedural thrillers. As the film progresses, the audience is piecing together the clues in real time along with the characters. It makes it very easy to identify with.”

Each victim in SAW is faced with a horrific choice upon which his or her life rests. A man must escape being buried alive by forcing himself through a web of flesh-cutting wires; a woman must kill another man to free herself from a steel head casing that is timed to tear off her jaw…It's these games, masterminded by a killer known only as Jigsaw, which elevate SAW beyond traditional horror fare, lending a shocking sense of the macabre to the pervading atmosphere of terror. 

"Jigsaw's ingenuity is what really distinguishes this film,” says producer Oren Koules. "The games he forces his victims to play are horrifying and dark, but more importantly, they're utterly original. Audiences haven't seen anything like them.”

Whannell admits to trying to devise the most shocking murders possible. "I couldn't have Jigsaw challenging his victims to an all-night game of Twister!” he says laughing. "The games he devised had to be pretty hardcore. So I found myself imagining all these sick little scenarios, as if I were a maniac myself.”

In another macabre spin on the genre, SAW also functions as a grim morality tale. Jigsaw is not driven solely by cruelty or insanity; he also wants to teach his morally deficient victims a lesson about the value of life. In one chilling scene, one of the survivors of Jigsaw's games actually credits Jigsaw for helping change her life. 

Danny Glover, who plays Detective Tapp, finds this to be one of the most interesting elements of SAW. "Even the antagonist, the guy who we most hate in this movie, is someone who philosophically has something to say about the way in which we respect life,” he says.

"Jigsaw makes his victims appreciate how precious life is by threatening to take it away,” says Cary Elwes, who plays Dr. Lawrence Gordon, one of Jigsaw's unwitting captives. "He's saying ‘Don't take life for granted, and don't wait until it's too late.”

Wan adds, smiling, "Jigsaw's intentions are good, but his methods are not.”

For Wan, SAW was the perfect opportunity to put a new spin on the traditional horror film. "For me, the horror genre is one genre that allows you to play outside the boundary of established conventions,” says the director. "I've always approached the project like a whodunit, a puzzle movie. I took a thriller storyline and told it in the style of a horror film.”

Producer Gregg Hoffman agrees: "If you're going to do a genre film, I always think you have to twist it, shake it up, surprise people. Elevate it in some way. SAW would be a classic Hitchcock film if Hitchcock had watched too many Nine Inch Nails videos.”

Wan cites filmmakers like David Lynch and Dario Argento as the p

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