Saw (2004) - Uncut Edition

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
Lions Gate || Unrated - 102 minutes - $26.98 || October 18th, 2005
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-11-13


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: James Wan
Writer(s): James Wan (story) & Leigh Whannell (story/screenplay)
Cast: Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Leigh Whannell


Theatrical Release Date: October 29th, 2004


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Writer/Actor, Actor & Writer/Director Commentary
  • Producer Commentary


  • Disc 2:
  • Alternate Storyboard Sequence
  • Saw: The Original Short Film
  • Hacking Away at Saw: Behind the Scenes
  • Director's Art Gallery
  • Full Disclosure Report: Piecing Together Jigsaw
  • Jigsaw's Workshop
  • On Set Preview of Saw 2
  • Cut Media (Trailers)
  • Easter Eggs


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), English (DTS 6.1 ES), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

When I reviewed the original Saw DVD, based on the commentary, I knew an unrated version wouldn't be too far away. In that commentary from James Wan and Keigh Whanell talked about scenes which had to be cut in order to get the film an R rating from the NC-17 one the MPAA strapped on to it. Of course, the one-disc DVD didn't have any deleted scenes so it was only a matter of time before they would add 'em back in. In any case, were these additions that important? Not really.

From what I could tell, there were a couple more gory scenes lasting only a few seconds (one of them includes Shawnee Smith reaching into a stomach and pulling out some intestines). While indeed disgusting, I'm not sure if it really adds anything to the movie as a whole, although to be fair, it doesn't detract from the movie either. New to me was even though it's called the "uncut" edition, it could actually be a director's cut. Director Wan didn't just merely include some extended footage, however. I found out via the commentary that he also took out the soundtrack songs, replacing them with Charlie Clouser's eerie, almost Halloween-like, score. Since I had only seen the movie once before, all these differences weren't very noticable, but quite frankly what was there I can't understand how it could get an NC-17 rating (I've seen a hell lot worse).

As for the movie itself, it's still very good, although I still believe it's a tad overrated. I liked the new twist on the horror genre and the villain himself, Jigsaw, is certainly frightening; I'd rather die at the hands of Jason than that guy, I'll tell you that... If you're intrigued by the developing franchise and deciding whether to see this or go straight to Saw II, see this one first as 1) You'll get an idea whether you'd be able to handle it and 2) there's some things in the sequel that directly relate to this one and without that information, you could get lost at times.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The uncut edition contains a decent amount of features, and although this isn't the best DVD I've seen, it's still good.

The first commentary track features director James Wan, writer/actor Leigh Whannel and star Cary Elwes. Even though this set isn't great, the commentary from these three is damn funny and if I had a list for these tracks, it has to rank near the top as far as entertainment value goes. And the three of them seemed to be having a good time as well, as they recounted their experiences and Elwes' and Whannel trying to get each other to laugh during scenes (Elwes uses his quite good Marlon Brando impersonation). Also nice is the commentary (as well as the second one) helped show me what is new and what was not.

The second commentary track has producers Mark Burg, Gregg Hoffman and Oren Koules. By and large, this is a fine track that has more trivia and the technical aspects of getting a movie like this off the ground versus the first track. But, the commentators also have some fun (one conversation begins with how the dummy rode out on a tricycle, to fishing...). Compared to the first, this one is a bit more mundane but should interest those who want to know how the movie was made.

Alternate Storyboard Sequence - Director James Wan explains his intricate storyboards which, because this was an indie flick, had to be drastically cut down. For most of this, we get to see just how extensive certain scenes Wan wanted to film (such as an almost Indiana Jones-esque death trap for one of the detectives). Not really entertaining per se, but interesting to see the vision Wan and Whannell had for the movie.

Saw: The Original Short Film - This is what Wan and Whanell sent to the financial backers to make the complete film. The sequence uses Whanell in the reverse bear-trap device, and introduced the creepy doll which was also ultimately used in the final movie. Even as a standalone, it's was actually pretty good. The short film includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix and in total, runs around 9-minutes.

Hacking Away at Saw - Split into three parts (Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production), "Hacking Away at Saw" is nicely in-depth, 36-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, featuring interviews with many involved like Wan, Whanell, Elwes and some of the cast, the producers, amongst others. It goes through the process in which the producers fell in love with the project after viewing the short film. In the production part, the actors and crew discuss the challenges and the luck of finding a place where they could shoot the movie. The post-production actually covers the same kind of information already heard in the commentary (such as setting up the editing machine in Wan and Whanell's apartment or using production stills to fill in gaps). Beyond that, there's also talk about the film's submission into Sundance, the marketing and the hype.

Director's Art Gallery - A slideshow of sorts, starting out with close-ups before panning out for the complete look. Clouser's music is used over the show which features some really creepy imagry even though it was seen in the movie.

Full Disclosure Report: Peicing together Jigsaw - A mock-magazine show (a la "Dateline") where a "reporter" talks about the case of the Jigsaw Killer and his victims. Saw this sort of thing on the Independence Day DVD, but it's still fun to watch and gives some history to the serial killer. There's even the tapes from the movie, with the dialogue typed out onscreen like you would see on the news.

On-Set Preview of Saw 2 is actually more of a teaser featuring a few minutes of the beginning of Saw II (Jigsaw's first victim of the sequel). I'm thankful it's not just some skimpy mini-featurette with BS interviews and the like to promote the film, instead the makers have faith that what they show will get butts in the seats (which is what happened with a $28m opening weekend).

Also featured is a DVD-ROM feature, Jigsaw's Workshop and several trailers compose the Cut Media part (most of which are direct-to-DVD horror flicks, and bad looking ones at that).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Like the previous release, this one also includes both the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, which sounds just fine even though I had to crank up my system a little, and the wonderful DTS 6.1 which, if loud enough, will certainly concern your neighbors. However, both mixes are just fine and make use of all the speakers providing depth for all those bloody screams.

For the picture, I can't remember but this one seemed to have more than the usual dirt/scratches that were pretty noticeable throughout. I don't know if these were the additional scenes or the type of camera they used, but even for an independant film, it was surprising to see. The movie was filmed in 1.85:1 aspect ratio, although Wan wanted to shoot it in 2.35, which would've been too expensive.



.::OVERALL::.

This release is better than the one-disc, which if you already own and are satisfied or not interested in the film too much, then you can skip this one. But, if you enjoyed the film and actually like listening to commentaries, you'll like the one's available here. Personally, I liked most of the features and think it's actually a worthwhile double-dip.