Saw to Saw: Short to Feature Film Comparison by RJ Bayley

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By RJ Bayley

Being such a behemoth of a horror franchise it’s easy to for forget the Saw series all started with a modestly budgeted, well regarded (especially in the horror community) compact indie ten years ago this year. It’s even easier to forget that a year before that, the Saw franchise that we know today was nothing more than a 9 minute short.

The short, truth be told, isn’t all that engaging. If anything Saw 0.5, as it’s become known in some quarters, is very much a proof of concept film. In retrospect it’s most plain to see in that the short titled Saw doesn’t actually contain a saw. The main crux of the short is the now iconic in itself ‘reverse bear trap’, and the scene very much plays out as it does in the final feature, albeit with a male victim.

There’s other interesting little tidbits that would later be used in the full Saw. The end credits roll over imagery of the filthy bathroom that Saw would primarily be set in, and there’s even a little peephole that plays a part in the following film.

Saw 0.5 is clearly reverse engineered from the idea of a feature film and as such plays out as not much more than a cinematic blueprint.

And that’s OK.

Too often do filmmakers, as in the case of Mama, take a film that worked successfully as a short, then stretch it into a story longer than it should be, many a time delivering mediocrity. In this case however 2004’s Saw got made and is great movie. So while Saw 0.5 isn’t gripping, it 100% delivered on its mission.

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