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Saw (2003 film): Wikis


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Billy the puppet delivers instructions to David
Directed by James Wan
Produced by Darren McFarlane
Written by Leigh Whannell
James Wan
Starring Leigh Whannell
Paul Moder
Katrina Mathers
Dean Francis
Music by Charlie Clouser
Cinematography Martin Smith
Editing by James Wan
Neil Monteith
Distributed by Lions Gate Home Entertainment (2005) (USA) (DVD)
Lions Gate Entertainment (2005) (worldwide) (DVD)
Release date(s) 2003
Running time 9 min and 30 secs.
Country Australia
Language English
Budget Unfunded
Followed by Saw (2004 film)

"Saw" is a nine-and-a-half-minute Australian short subject horror film released in 2003. It was directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, who also starred in it. It was originally used to pitch their script for a full-length feature film Saw to various studios and actors. The full-length film was eventually made in 2004. On the internet the film short has been referred to as "Saw 0.5".[1] The film short later became a scene in Saw, with Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young wearing the Reverse Bear Trap device instead of David. The original short can be viewed on the second disc of Saw: Uncut Edition.[2]



A young man, David (Whannell), is in an interrogation room talking to an unnamed, unsympathetic police officer (Paul Moder). David is in handcuffs, and he has blood on his face and shirt. He is smoking a cigarette. He tells the officer that after he finished his work as an orderly at the hospital, he was knocked unconscious and taken to a large room.

Inside the room, David was strapped to a chair with a large, rusty metal device locked onto his head. To his left was a small television, which began playing a video showing a frightening puppet, named Billy, that tells him that the device on his head is a "reverse beartrap", which is hooked into his jaws and will pry his face open with great force if he does not unlock it in time. The puppet tells David that the only key to unlock the device is in the stomach of his dead cellmate (Dean Francis).

David is able to break free of his bonds, but by doing so he sets off a timer on the back of the device. Across the room, he finds the body that the puppet mentioned, but also finds that the man is actually alive but under paralysis. David panics and slices into the man's stomach anyway. After finding the key, David unlocks the device and throws it to the ground, just as it snaps open. David escapes death from the device.

David begins screaming and weeping in horror. At the entrance to the room, the puppet from the video appears on a tricycle. He congratulates David on surviving, and tells him that he has proven he is no longer ungrateful for being alive.

The movie ends with the police officer asking "Are you grateful, David?" causing the young man to again break down. As the end credits begin to roll, a CGI replica of the bathroom used later in the full Saw film is shown, although with some differences. A small peephole is shown with an eye visible behind it, which was a concept reused in another trap in Saw.[2]


  • Leigh Whannell as David
  • Paul Moder as Policeman
  • Katrina Mathers as Nurse
  • Dean Francis as Paralyzed Victim

Production and Legacy

Prior to 2003, colleagues James Wan and Leigh Whannell had begun writing a script based for a horror film, citing inspiration from their dreams and fears. Upon completing the script, Leigh and James had wanted to select an excerpt from their script, later to be known as Saw, and film it to pitch their film to studios. With the help of Charlie Clouser, who had composed the score for the film, and a few stand-in actors, Leigh and James shot the film with relatively no budget. Leigh had decided to star in the film as well.[3]

During filming, it was said that the trap used on Whannell was revealed to be fully functional and very rusted, making it very dangerous. The version of the trap used in the full film was made safer and had artificial rust. Wan later revealed that the film was shot in just over eight days. Upon completing the film, the pair traveled to Lions Gate studios to screen the film. Lions Gate immediately accepted the deal and got approved for a $1.2 million USD budget to make their script in to a full feature film. Instead of being paid in advance, Wan and Whannell agreed to take a percentage of the profits from the film's release, which turned out to be much more than initially expected.[3]

This allowed for the creation of Saw, a film that was intended to be a Direct-to-DVD release that was later released into theaters worldwide after positive reaction at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2004. The film retained the scene from the short, which changed actors and but kept the key parts of the scene the same. Leigh Whannell would also return to star in the full length film, and a few of its sequels.[3]

After the release of the full length Saw, the film was met with overwhelming success in the box office both domestically and internationally. The film ended up grossing $55 million dollars in America, and $48 million dollars in other countries, totaling over $103 million USD worldwide. This was over a 100 million dollar profit, over 80 times the production budget.[4] This greenlighted the sequel Saw II, and later the rest of the Saw franchise based on the yearly success of the previous installment. Since it's inception, Saw has become the second highest grossing horror franchise of all time, behind only Friday The Thirteenth.[3] [5]

Relation to Saw (2004)



  • The short film's successor, the full-length Saw, borrowed many character traits from David. Key among these were Zepp's position as an orderly in a hospital and the reverse beartrap that Amanda Young was put in instead.
  • Leigh Whannell wrote and starred in both films, although as different characters.
  • James Wan directed both films.
  • Nearly the entire short film, including certain dialogue and camera angles, was duplicated in a scene in Saw.


  • Leigh Whannell played David in the short film, but he played as Adam Faulkner in Saw.
  • The bathroom briefly seen at the end of the film is much larger and features another Jigsaw trap.
  • The trap that David is wearing is a different version to the one Amanda wears in Saw.


  • "Hello Zepp", a tune that has become staple in other Saw films, is played when credits are shown. It is the first appearance of this piece.[2]
  • The same sound that is heard in the introduction of the title can also be heard in the song "Screaming Slave" by Nine Inch Nails. The composer of the soundtrack for the future Saw films, and for this film, Charlie Clouser, was a member of the band during live performances. However, he was not a part of the band during the period the song was recorded.

See also


External links


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