Short Film Showcase – Saw (2003)

Saw, 2003.

Directed by James Wan.
Produced by Darren McFarlane.
Written by James Wan and Leigh Whannell.
Starring Leigh Whannell, Paul Moder, Katrina Mathers and Dean Francis.

Having written a feature length horror script after meeting while studying at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, up-and-coming filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell decided to produce a short form version in order to showcase their idea to potential investors. After screening the resulting short to executives at Lionsgate, the duo’s full length script was immediately given the green-light and Saw went into production with a budget of $1.2m. Originally intended as a direct-to-video release until it received a successful reaction at Sundance in 2004, Saw became one of the most profitable movies of the year and ultimately went on to spawn six sequels across consecutive years, resulting in the highest-grossing horror franchise of all-time.

Running at nine-and-a-half minutes, the short film version of Saw sees David (Whannell) recounting a tale to a police offer whereby he found himself knocked unconscious before being placed in a ‘reverse bear-trap’ and instructed that he must retrieve the key to the device from inside the stomach of a fellow hostage before the trap activates. The short includes an appearance from the tricycle-riding puppet, ‘Billy’, who would become a staple of the Saw films, while the reverse bear-trap sequence was also reworked into the feature film, with Shawnee Smith’s Amanda Young stepping in for Whannell’s character.

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