2 men, Lawrence (Cary Elwes) & Adam (Leigh Whannell) all of a
sudden find themselves waking up in a filthy bathroom, each with one leg
chained to a wall, the walls opposite each other & far away from each
other to not be able to reach each other. In between them lies a dead man,
a gun in his hand, also out of reach from the 2 of them. Then a voice
tells Lawrence he has to kill Adam in the next eight hours, otherwise his
wife Alison (Monica Potter) & daughter Diana (Makenzie Vega) will be
This does of course not lift the spirit of the two of them, but
then Lawrence is reminded of the Jigsaw Killer, a homicidal
psychopath who delights in putting people into deathtraps, which they can
only escape when they do something really gruesome (like killing someone
else) ... & at one time, Lawrence himself was even suspected to be the
Jigsaw Killer by detectives Tapp (Danny Glover) & Sing (Ken Leung).
the detecitves had to let him go though & almost caught the real
killer, but it ended with Sing being riddled by a spring-machine-gun,
& Tapp's throat being slashed (he survived though). Since then, Tapp
has been suspended from the force & tried to capture the killer - whom
he still believes to be Lawrence - on his own ... & to that end, it
turns out he has hired Adam, a photographer, to follow Lawrence around ...
but he did come up with little more than proof (or almost proof) that
Lawrence has cheated on his wife - nothing could have been less
Anyways, while the Adam & Lawence still try to figure a
way out of their not too comfy situation, Lawrence's wife & daughter
are tied up in their own home with the killer, but wife Diana seems to be
rather handy with knots, frees herself & almost overcomes the killer.
A few shots are fired, which even startle ex detective Tapp, who has put
up shop opposite Lawrence's appartment, but seems to be pretty useless in
observing (he did see the killer show himself in the appartment's window
but thought little of it).
Then the 2 race to the place where the killer
holds Lawrence & Adam, but Lawrence has since sawed off his foot, got
the gun from the dead man & shot Adam, like he was told.
the killer, who has since killed Tapp & now turns out to be Zep
(Michael Emerson), an orderly at the hospital Lawrence works at (do we
need to know that ? No, we don't), is little impressed that Lawrence ahs
finally killed Adam since he exceeded the time limit, but when he prepares
to shoot Lawrence, Adam - who seems to be not really dead but only fatally
wounded - overcomes him & beats him to a pulp.
The End ?
there are still these 2 guys lieing around in this bathroom,
god-knows-where, one with a sawed off foot, the other half dead &
chained up ... but Lawrence promises to get help, though he is losing so
much blood he might not even make it out of the room alive ... & then,
in an unnecessary & illogical twist, it turns out the real Jigsaw
Killer was not Zep at all, but the body who has been lieing in between
Lawrence & Adam, & who hasn't been dead after all (probably he
just held his breath for 8 hours ... sheesh), & now locks half-dead
Adam in for good.
& he might have been ... patient John (Tobin Bell)
from Lawrence's hospital ... but it might as well have been farmer Bob, at
this point I really stopped caring ...
What a pity, what a
The film really starts nice, with 2 men who don't know each
other, finding themselves in an absurd stressful situation that turns out
to be a murderous game. & to make all of this even better, some really
inventive (if also absurd) killing methods are presented (like a man
caught in a maze of razor wire who has to get out in a set time, but only
manages to cut himself to shreds, or the woman whose mouth is linked to a
kind of reverse beartrap - that might spring open any time now ...).
once this nice set-up is established, atrocious (mainstream) storytelling
sets in that brings everything down like a sledgehammer. Suddenly
everything needs to be explained away, & only with the worst of
clichés, like the obsessive (ex-)cop who wants to avenge his dead partner
(pleeeeeze, no more dead ex-partners), the little girl who is afraid of
the boogey man in her cupboard, only to find out there is really a boogey
man in her cupboard, the man who in a stress situation discovers his love
for his family, ... & it's not at all helped either that the script
always presents us with pointless suspects, which only distracts from the
central story about the 2 men in the room while giving no useful
information whatsoever. & when in the end, the killer turns out to be
the (not really) dead body, it's jsut silly & almost an insult to
anyone who has sat through the movie.
What a pity ...