Noah Thompson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Most people are so ungrateful to be alive. But not you. Not anymore.
The game of life. Live or die. Your choice. Beyond a handful of jolts and jumps that I found to be cheap, as well as the occasional moment of weak acting, I was pleasantly surprised about just how good I found Saw to be. This is not the "torture porn" movie you've heard it made out as. (The sequels probably are.) There's gore to be found, yes, but it's incredibly tame compared to other things I've seen. Almost the entirety of Saw works as an incredibly compelling mind game/psychological horror piece that uses its budget to the utmost potential. It's inspiring alone that this million dollar movie made literally a hundred times its budget and spawned one of the most recognized franchises in modern cinema. Luckily, it's just a good movie too. Even if I would call Upgrade and The Invisible Man better movies, this likely has Leigh Whannell's best work in terms of dialogue and plotting. (Is Leigh a good actor? Eh. Did I love Adam every time he was on-screen? You bet.) Other than being an exercise in morbid creativity and stretching "one room" movie-making to its most disturbing lengths, Saw makes for a consistently entertaining and, yes, scary, examination of life and just what we are willing to risk to save ourselves or the people we care about. Cary Elwes' performance in this especially got my emotions going, especially as the film reaches its dare I say incredible final twenty minutes. I had know the major twist of the ending beforehand, but that didn't make it lose any of its power. Se7en wishes it had what this movie has. Unsure of if or when I'll want to watch this again, but even if it is the once, it left a definite impact. Game on.