Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Where Seven seemed to radiate diabolical evil, Saw just radiates idiocy.
Robert K. Elder,
Saw is a nasty, nasty piece of business. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Los Angeles Times:
Saw carelessly underscores its own shaky narrative at every turn with its mid-budget hokiness.
Neither a deep, psychological thriller nor a mindless slasher flick, this is one skillfully made, if admittedly superficial, creepout.
A sick, twisted, deliriously entertaining horror thriller that rivals The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for sheer, relentless intensity.
New York Post:
There are a few cheap thrills, but not enough to make sitting through the senseless plot even remotely worthwhile.
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.
Ebert & Roeper:
Saw has art-house ambitions, but it's nothing but a glorified snuff film. I despised this movie.
So over the top that even the recruited audience of non-critics at my screening began to howl.
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.
Saw often resembles the ghastliest editions yet of Fear Factor and Survivor and features some of the grodiest direction this side of Project Greenlight.
Saw boasts an undeniably original premise and clever plot machinations that lift it several notches above the usual slasher film level.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An efficiently made thriller, cheerfully gruesome, and finally not quite worth the ordeal it puts us through.
An ingenious machine for inducing terror, rage, and paralyzing unease.
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.
A strenuously morbid assembly of deranged-genius- serial-killer movie conventions cribbed from just about every popular post-Hannibal Lecter movie imaginable.
Why see Saw? Because it has teeth and it cuts to the bone.
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.
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.
James Wan's Saw starts off incomprehensibly, turns nasty in a hurry, and ultimately induces numb exhaustion.
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.