𝑤𝑎𝑑𝑒𝑙𝑦𝑠𝑖𝑢𝑚’s review published on Letterboxd:
"He doesn't want us to cut through our chains...he wants us to cut through our feet."
You can imagine a young 10 year old boy hearing this quote way past his bedtime as the commercial blared on the screen. It would be a full year before I finally got to see it and it remains as one of my favorite horror/thriller films to date. I know the film may have aged roughly over the years, but I think it adds to the charm.
I just love the fact that two dudes, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, got together in Australia and pitched an idea about a movie they really wanted to make and stood by it to the end while grasping at straws and relying on a cheap budget. I became a big Wan fan and I've enjoyed everything he's made from Death Sentence, Dead Silence to Insidious and The Conjuring. He's achieved a lot! So it's cool revisiting his work every Halloween. But let me get started on the actual film.
The idea of two men shackled in a industrial bathroom with the choice to kill each other for 80% of the movie is just a great setup. And the flashback scenes may get repetitive but it's really building the puzzle for how it will end. And boy I'll get to that in a minute.
First off, the acting on here is not balanced right, and that makes sense since James said they had only 18 days to shoot everything, so they had to end up using rehearsal scenes. Leigh does a great job playing Adam, making him a very likable guy, but his acting is so amateur that you laugh at most of his line deliveries. Now, Cary Elwes is really good on here, especially the end, delivering one of the most chilling performances ever about a man desperate to get back to his family. The supporting cast are decent as well, with Danny Glover being "too old for this shit" routine and even though Tobin Bell's appearance is limited here, his presence is still felt. His character Jigsaw (detailed later in the sequels) I find more menacing on here since he's mostly in the shadows and pulling the strings. He philosophy on human nature's will to survive is lunatic-ally chilling and interesting.
Now, a lot of people list this as "toture porn" which I can understand for the sequels, but this one is really not that graphic to be honest. What Wan and Whannell were going for is a 'cautionary tale' and that's how I see this one as, Appreciate your blessing.
Now the ending to this film...WOW! Let me just say these two actors (even Leigh!) are amazing once the shit hits the fan. If they didn't make any sequels after this at all. It would have been a haunting ending in the horror age. I can't explain how I felt after my first viewing 11 years ago. It got to me and I loved it! I enjoy it every year and will always appreciate it.