Saw 2004

Critics score:
48 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Scott Von Doviak, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ Elwes is simply jaw-dropping -- a hysterical tornado of overemoting who puts William Shatner at his hammiest to shame. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Where Seven seemed to radiate diabolical evil, Saw just radiates idiocy. Read more

Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune: Saw is a nasty, nasty piece of business. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Read more

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: Saw carelessly underscores its own shaky narrative at every turn with its mid-budget hokiness. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: Neither a deep, psychological thriller nor a mindless slasher flick, this is one skillfully made, if admittedly superficial, creepout. Read more

David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer: The film is a squeamish exercise, like watching a cruel child pull the wings off flies. Read more

Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times: A sick, twisted, deliriously entertaining horror thriller that rivals The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for sheer, relentless intensity. Read more

V.A. Musetto, New York Post: There are a few cheap thrills, but not enough to make sitting through the senseless plot even remotely worthwhile. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: The gore is relentless and in your face, and if you grew up glued to the old Universal fright flicks like I did, you won't want to miss a minute of the mayhem. Read more

Carla Meyer, San Francisco Chronicle: Terrifying at some moments and insinuatingly creepy at many others. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: Saw has art-house ambitions, but it's nothing but a glorified snuff film. I despised this movie. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: So over the top that even the recruited audience of non-critics at my screening began to howl. Read more

Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: What few moviegoers will like is the film's insistence on dwelling in the underbelly of taste. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Though dumber than a box of rocks, Saw forges ahead with the kind of conviction and energy that will keep bad-cinema junkies sitting bolt upright. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: Saw is a marketing campaign in search of a movie. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Saw often resembles the ghastliest editions yet of Fear Factor and Survivor and features some of the grodiest direction this side of Project Greenlight. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: [Its] sadism is topped only by its absurdity. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: Its hellish extremes more oppressive than entertaining. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: The back-shelf-of-the-video-store horror geek in me was intermittently entertained. Read more

Gary Dowell, Dallas Morning News: A grisly thriller that plays like a bargain-basement rehash of other, better movies. Read more

Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter: Saw boasts an undeniably original premise and clever plot machinations that lift it several notches above the usual slasher film level. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: A gruesome blast of psychological horror that is so giddily pumped up with nasty hormones, you can't help but dissolve into laughter at the same time as you are hiding your eyes. Read more

Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger: Saw is a lesson in the redemptive power of a clever ending, how five minutes of inspiration can compensate for an hour and a half of mediocrity. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: A gore movie with no teeth. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: James Wan's sadistic, Halloween-ready gore fest suggests a reality television competition like Fear Factor, carried to the nth degree of cruelty. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: On the strength of a grippingly original concept and 90 strong minutes of building action, Saw gets a recommendation, but only if you like this kind of thing. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: An efficiently made thriller, cheerfully gruesome, and finally not quite worth the ordeal it puts us through. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Director James Wan hits the grisly button without shame. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: An ingenious machine for inducing terror, rage, and paralyzing unease. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: If you're looking for something more meaningful than visceral shocks, Saw won't cut it. Read more

Leah McLaren, Globe and Mail: The film is so convoluted and full of garbled loose ends you can feel the different script drafts battling it out for attention on screen. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: A strenuously morbid assembly of deranged-genius- serial-killer movie conventions cribbed from just about every popular post-Hannibal Lecter movie imaginable. Read more

Nigel Floyd, Time Out: Why see Saw? Because it has teeth and it cuts to the bone. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: How such a cruelly empty and infantile movie got made is mystery enough. More puzzling is why Cary Elwes, Danny Glover and Monica Potter would sign on as co-stars. Read more

Dennis Harvey, Variety: There are cheaply effective if unoriginal scares. Filmmakers bring a certain verve to such moments; but building atmosphere and suspense is well beyond them. Ditto handling actors. Read more

Mark Holcomb, Village Voice: James Wan's Saw starts off incomprehensibly, turns nasty in a hurry, and ultimately induces numb exhaustion. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: The Internet film geeks are salivating over this one. But humans who live above ground, including horror fans, will find themselves only fitfully entertained and more consistently appalled. Read more