Saw (2004) Poster



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According to the DVD commentary, Director James Wan points out that many of the scare scenes in the film were nightmares he and Leigh Whannell had as kids.
All of the bathroom scenes were shot in chronological order to make the actors feel more what the characters were going through.
Filmed in 18 days.
One of the most profitable horror films of all time.
James Wan took a gamble and took no "up front" salary for the movie and opted for a percentage instead.
Casting Director Amy Lippens chose her ex-husband in the role of Mark, the man who burns himself alive.
James Wan did not intend to make a torture porn film. It's not really until the sequels got into gear that the films got what he describes as "more explicitly nasty".
Saw II (2005) was approved for production the weekend this film opened.
James Wan wanted the camera movements to reflect the two main characters emotions and personality. He filmed Dr. Gordon with steady controlled shots and Adam as hand-held shots to capture their emotions of the situation.
After Amanda stabs her cellmate, she is searching with her hands through his guts, the guts are actually pig uteruses.
Leigh Whannell accidentally punched Michael Emerson in their fight scene in the final scene.
Jigsaw's puppet was completely made from scratch by the films creators (it was not bought at a store or a puppet that was altered).
Film's pre-production was only five days; it was shot and cut at the same time in eighteen days (all of the bathroom scenes were shot in six days). The actors had absolutely no rehearsals. The rehearsal takes were actual footage for the film.
James Wan built the Jigsaw doll in the film.
The car chase was filmed in the garage of the warehouse by turning off the lights, adding some fog, and shaking the cars while filming from the front.
Charlie Clouser had just three weeks to compose the score for the film.
Originally intended for a straight-to-video release. After positive screenings, it was given the nod to become a premier movie.
Was re-released in theaters, for a week on Halloween 2014 for its 10th Anniversary.
The MPAA originally rated the film NC-17, due to the film's tone. James Wan had to remove some content to secure an R-rating.
James Wan and Leigh Whannell wanted to make a movie after they finished film school, but could only afford one room. Yet, they challenged themselves to create a film that only occured in one room. Saw was the product, and was considered as one of the most profitable and successful horror films of all time.
Leigh Whannell mentions in the DVD commentary that the scene where his character plunges his hand down a filthy toilet is a tribute to Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996).
Danny Glover completed all of his scenes in just two days.
The screenplay was written in 2001 as a calling card for James Wan and Leigh Whannell trying to break into Hollywood. They shot a low budget short based on a scene in the film and this proved successful enough to attract the attention of Evolution Entertainment. They immediately formed a horror genre arm called Twisted Pictures and gave Wan and Whannell a small budget.
The scene in which Gordon turns off the lights and whispers to Adam was written differently in the script. The characters were to cut open opposite ends of a long pipe with their hacksaws and speak through it. This sequence was actually shot, but later cut, because James Wan decided that the characters being able to cut through a pipe made no sense, if they couldn't cut through their chains.
Shots cut in the R-rated version, according to James Wan and Leigh Whannell, included ones of Amanda sifting through the intestines, the fat guy struggling through the barb wire just to shorten the scene, and some forensic ones. The color was made more even, and the sound was altered, because the MPAA had problems with the tone of the original cut shown in Sundance.
James Wan's feature debut.
Producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg stated Shawnee Smith was battling a terrible case of the flu, complete with a fever of one hundred four degrees, while shooting her scenes.
In post-production, James Wan discovered that he didn't have enough shots or takes to fill out most of his scenes. So he and Editor Kevin Greutert created their own filler shots by doctoring some of them to make them look as if they were filmed through a surveillance camera.
Shawnee Smith shot all of her scenes in one day.
Contains many references to the films of Italian horror and giallo Director Dario Argento. The creepy painted puppet is a reference to Argento's Deep Red (1975), while the unseen killer's black gloves are one of Argento's trademarks, and can be seen in almost all of his films.
Leigh Whannell and James Wan confirm that when Adam begins to smash Zep with the toilet lid, Leigh Whannell is actually hitting a garbage bag full of fake blood.
Leigh Whannell performed his own stunt underwater during the opening scene in the bathtub. He stayed underwater by having a crew member stand on his chest.
Shawnee Smith originally turned the role of Amanda down. After it was offered to her a second time, she watched the original short film by Leigh Whannell and James Wan, and accepted the role.
The only Saw film in the franchise not to be filmed in Toronto, Ontario.
There are no exterior shots in the film, because the production team couldn't afford them.
Sundance showed the NC-17 uncut version. The actual theatrical R-rated version is cut and more finessed, and the sound and colors were evened.
James Wan and Leigh Whannell had tried to sell their script to studios in Melbourne, Australia, before a Hollywood studio bought and produced the movie.
All the black and white and forensic photos shown in the film, were taken by the production still photographer, and were used as a last minute resort while editing the film.
Principal photography was done in a converted warehouse. The bathroom set was built, while the other locations were existing rooms redressed.
The opening scene of Adam in the bath with the blue light floating over him was the very first shot of the first day of filming.
The cloak Jigsaw wears in the film is actually turned inside out.
Was the closing film for the Toronto Film Festival.
According to the DVD commentary, Casting Agent Amy Lippens asked James Wan who he wanted to play the character of Amanda. On a whim, Wan suggested Shawnee Smith, on whom he had had a crush since his teen years. He was surprised when Lippens came back a few days later and told him that they had secured her for the role.
The glow in the dark X painted on the wall in the scene when they lights turned out, was in fact a light projection of an X shape.
To help sell his concept for the film, Leigh Whannell shot a scene in which he appears to be ensnared in a bear trap. There were no visual effects involved, he actually had to place the teeth of the rusty bear trap in his mouth to make it seem real.
Monica Potter and Makenzie Vega shot their scenes in three days.
Detective Sing pursuing the Jigsaw killer was the last sequence to be filmed.
James Wan and Editor Kevin Greutert had trouble editing the film, as they did not have enough shots they wanted, and had difficulties editing some scenes, including Dr. Gordon listening to his tape, and the detectives in Dr. Gordon's office, the first time they meet.
Ken Leung and Michael Emerson would go on to appear in Lost (2004) together.
The surveillance camera footage of Adam and Dr. Gordon was shot separately, and spliced together during post-production, which is the reason for the strange angle of the two characters in the footage.
The two hacksaws used in the film by Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes were very break sensitive, so they had to saw lightly in the scenes when trying to cut their chains.
James Wan and Leigh Whannell wrote the script and submitted it to their manager. The manager then sent it to an agent in Los Angeles, who summoned the two of them for a meeting. They were encouraged to shoot a scene from the script as a short film, which they started passing around to studios.
The detectives track down a fire alarm to a warehouse on "Stygian Street". "Stygian" is the name of James Wan's first film, which also starred Leigh Whannell.
The map used by Detectives Tapp and Sing, when reviewing the locations of fire alarm reports, was a map of Washington, D.C.
Every scene was filmed in a set of buildings that were rented out to movie crews. Many of the sets in the film were originally empty rooms, with props put in by the crew.
In the original draft, Zep (Michael Emerson) was to do strange acts with Alison's underwear in her drawers, but Leigh Whannell cut it out, as he thought it was a bit "too far" and it was re-written as the gun, and the listening of the heartbeat.
According to the official SAW website, in a still image used in one of the flash scenes, Adam's last name is "Faulkner". However, it was revealed in Saw V (2008) that Adam's last name was Stanheight, as indicated by a document observed by Agent Strahm.
Cary Elwes filed a lawsuit against the producers and the production company because he only received a nominal salary with backend revenues. He claimed to have been promised 1% of the profit, which would be considerable since Saw went on to earn over $100 million globally. The case was finally settled out of court, but mostly as a result of the disagreements, Elwes chose not to be involved with any of the sequels until Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010).
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Two of the three actors given main billing (Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, and Monica Potter on the DVD case) are "Alex Cross" film alums. Cary Elwes appeared in Kiss the Girls (1997), and Monica Potter appeared in Along Came a Spider (2001).
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Oren Koules: One of the film's producers plays Shawnee Smith's dead cellmate.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The identity of the Jigsaw killer is given away quite early on, in a flashback. When Zep (Michael Emerson) says, "He's a very interesting person", on John's hospital bedside table in front of him is a diagram of the Reverse Bear Trap.
At the beginning of the film, Adam (Leigh Whannell) is informed via the cassette tape, that he must free himself from his chain, and escape the bathroom. Lawrence (Cary Elwes) is informed that if he does not complete his game, then he will be left to die in the bathroom. The opposite fates befall both characters at the end of the film.
In contrast to the majority of popular horror films, all the victims who die are men.
In the scene where Dr. Gordon begins sawing his foot off, Adam is heard screaming and crying in the background. His screaming and crying is the same one used from the very last scene during the final climax. The audio has been edited and relooped.
According to an interview with Leigh Whannell, Adam and Lawrence were originally going to be trapped in an elevator.
The only dummy used in the whole movie is the burned corpse of the man who is in the room, naked, with the safe and broken glass. All other corpses were played by actors.
Leigh Whannell came up with idea of giving John Kramer a brain tumor while spending time in a neurology ward for anxiety and headaches. He said that undergoing all kinds of tests and expecting bad news made him reflect on his own mortality. He used this experience in creating a character who still had only a few years to live.
Instead of the quadruple shotgun trap, the creators wanted a trap that consisted of two things that would spring from the walls and snap shut on Sing (Ken Leung) and fold him up into a box. They described it as an "iron cocoon." They decided against the idea, as it would have cost too much money for visual effects. The iron cocoon idea, however, was finally used in Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010).
The Reverse Bear Trap was also used in the original Saw short film, attached to a character named David. The scenario played out the same as the later version, with David escaping from the contraption a few seconds before it went off.
Although "Hello Zepp" is one of the most famous lines in the film, it is actually never uttered throughout the movie. The misconception is mostly due to the fact, that this is the title of a song in the soundtrack, and is played during the final revelation scene. This piece of music became the franchise trademark, and was used as the score for the final scenes, which included plot twists and a rapid montage of flashbacks. However, the real line as it stands, during the scene when Adam listens to the final tape, is "Hello Mr. Hindle, or as they called you around the hospital: Zep."
James Wan and Leigh Whannell returned for several re-shoots, but the original actors were unavailable by that time. Whannell played the parts himself, and Wan used close-up shots of the characters' bodies, avoiding showing their faces. Whannell plays Detective Sing (Ken Leung) entering the building with a shotgun, and the body of Sing falling down after being shot. Also, the close-up shots of Amanda's (Shawnee Smith's) hands in her torture and murder scene were Whannell's, and he wore a wig to make his shadow on the wall appear more like Shawnee's.
It can be argued that John had intended for Adam to be able to escape from the room, but by the actions of Amanda, he was prevented from it. In Saw III (2006), it can be seen that Amanda was the one who threw the key on his chest, instead of putting it in his pocket, hinting that she knew he would lose it.
Body Count: Seven.
Zep (Michael Emerson) claims that the patient, John, who later is discovered to be Jigsaw, is a "special" person. In the show Lost (2004), he also claims another person named John (John Locke) is a "special" person.
The only Saw film, where the two main characters aren't in a trap, but instead held captive. Compared to other characters, they are not in a trap, like the Reverse Bear Trap and the Barbwire Trap; these were actual traps - the two main characters were held captive in a bathroom.
Not including the video game, Detective Tapp is actually the only main protagonist in the feature film franchise who doesn't die from either Jigsaw's traps or playing one of his games. He is rather shot instead and left for dead in the sewers for interfering.
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