Metascore
46

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 32
  2. Negative: 10 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Heidi Martinuzzi
    90
    May be the best independent horror film to have come out since "The Blair Witch Project." It's certainly better than "Blair Witch", and more fun, more gruesome, and more macabre. In a very delightful way.
  2. The filmmakers piece it together with almost clockwork perfection and deliver it with masterful misdirection, creating the most ingenious, eccentric and brazenly jaundiced psycho-thriller to come along in years.
  3. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    80
    As good an all-out, non-camp horror movie as we’ve had lately.
  4. Wan's tense, grisly cinematic morsel won't go down easy. But once it hits bottom, Saw is oddly satisfying, though the gag reflex never entirely goes away.
  5. Horror fans will find plenty to shriek about. Everyone else should keep their distance.
  6. The slasher scenes, though relatively few, are amazingly evocative for such a low-budget movie.
  7. 75
    Saw is for hard-gore horror aficionados only.
  8. Boasts an undeniably original premise and clever plot machinations that lift it several notches above the usual slasher film level.
  9. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    70
    Less a classical narrative than an ingenious machine for inducing terror, rage, and paralyzing unease.
  10. Saw is a gristle-cut B psycho thriller that would like to tap the sickest corners of your imagination. It has a few moments of nightmare creepiness, but it's also derivative and messy and too nonsensical for its own good.
  11. It's brutal horror, where anyone can die at any time, and gorehounds will love it. Average folks may find it too intense.
  12. Reviewed by: Carina Chocano
    60
    Saw is so full of twists it ends up getting snarled. For all of his flashy engineering and inventive torture scenarios, the Jigsaw Killer comes across as an amateur. Hannibal Lecter would have him for lunch.
  13. Does a better-than-average job of conveying the panic and helplessness of men terrorized by a sadist in a degrading environment, but it is still not especially scary.
  14. 50
    An efficiently made thriller, cheerfully gruesome, and finally not quite worth the ordeal it puts us through.
  15. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    50
    The film is a squeamish exercise, like watching a cruel child pull the wings off flies - especially the climactic scene, which is so gory it would turn a coyote's stomach.
  16. 50
    As long as Saw stays in that big, nasty bathroom, all we need to believe is the knot in our stomachs.
  17. Reviewed by: Aaron Hillis
    50
    Spoiled by its own insatiable desire for envelope-pushing flair; it’s wider-scoped when it should be intimate, splashy instead of subtle, icky but not scary.
  18. Reviewed by: Leah McLaren
    50
    Let's just say this: It's a lucky thing I wasn't shackled to my seat in the theatre during this movie. I'd be limping home.
  19. 50
    Wan's debut feature is a twisted, squirm-inducingly nasty bit of work, which isn't a criticism because that's exactly what he and cowriter Leigh Whannell had in mind.
  20. 50
    With its toilet-bobbing and blood spurting and Elwes's fey, Vincent Price–like mugging, Saw succeeds in capturing something like Takashi Miike by way of William Castle. Happy Halloween, indeed.
  21. Reviewed by: Kim Morgan
    40
    A story that's so ridiculous you'll at least be entertained by the outrageous plot contortions to come.
  22. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    38
    Becomes exceedingly disgusting when it wallows in the psychological torture of a child, a no-no under any circumstances.
  23. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    33
    What makes Saw so awful is that it starts with a clever premise and then completely blows it.
  24. 30
    Saw has its moments, and most of them are brutal in the extreme, but ultimately it's one tremendous misfire that will either leave you laughing or, possibly, gagging. Not what I'd call a winning combination.
  25. 30
    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.
  26. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    30
    A crude concoction sewn together from the severed parts of prior horror/serial killer pics.
  27. But humans who live above ground, including horror fans, will find themselves only fitfully entertained and more consistently appalled.
  28. 25
    Where "Seven" seemed to radiate diabolical evil, Saw just radiates idiocy.
  29. A gore movie with no teeth.
  30. 25
    Promoted as "the year's scariest movie," it's anything but.
  31. 20
    Sicko horror film from Australia, whose sadism is topped only by its absurdity.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 328 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 32 out of 158
  1. Aug 8, 2012
    10
    This movie mentally abuses you and un till it makes you scream like a little child because of it's never suspected plot..it's making you shiver all over. I watched the last scene 5 times when I watched this movie. ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES EVER MADE!! Full Review »
  2. Sep 18, 2011
    6
    "Saw" is a gruesome film that lacks the depth and development within the movie. However, the frantic, thrilling ride with a refreshing twist in the end scores the points for "Saw". Full Review »
  3. Jan 28, 2013
    1
    I do not like these kind of movies. Sadictic... If you like torture scenes you might have serious mental problems............................................................................. Full Review »