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Saw (2003)

Not Rated | | Short, Horror, Thriller | 2003 (USA)
David, an orderly at a hospital, tells his horrific story of being kidnapped and forced to play a vile game of survival.


James Wan


Leigh Whannell


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Cast overview:
Leigh Whannell ... David
Paul Moder Paul Moder ... Cop
Katrina Mathers ... Nurse
Dean Francis Dean Francis ... Body


David, an orderly at a hospital, tells his horrific story of being kidnapped and forced to play a vile game of survival.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Horror | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Saw 0.5 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twisted Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo | Dolby Digital (5 channel Dolby Stereo)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The "Reverse Bear Trap" used in this short film was made by an engineer friend of Leigh Whannell and James Wan. The device was actually rusty and had to be placed in Leigh's mouth. Also, it was completely workable and dangerous. However, in the feature length film, Saw (2004), the device was safe and coated with fake rust. See more »


David: I'm nothing there. I blend into the walls. I don't know why, whoever did this to me, picked me. But they did.
Cop: What do you remember next?
David: [Breathes in and out] Waking up.
See more »


Referenced in Ambush: Episode #1.8 (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

An interesting and captivating short, "Saw" (2003) is a hint of what was to come from the beloved franchise...
1 October 2016 | by MaximumMadnessSee all my reviews

"I want to play a game..."

Those words have taken on such a wonderful and nostalgic meaning for horror fans the world over thanks to the massive success of one of the most profitable and widely-beloved horror franchises of all time. That of course being "Saw", created by future cinematic masterminds James Wan and Leigh Whannell.

The series is now legendary in its status, and held among the other great franchises as horror-royalty. Even having been honored by Guiness World Records for its wide success and adoration. Yet, like many other icons of horror that came before, the roots of "Saw" were somewhat more humble- a dream project of a few film students trying to get their first film made. And this is best represented by this short- film... produced by the creators as a tool to help sell their concept and script to potential producers and investors.

Based upon a modified excerpt from the original completed script, "Saw" (2003) revolves around a man named David, who is kidnapped from his ho-hum job as a hospital orderly and taken to a secluded location. Now with a device around his head that will rip his jaw apart in mere moments of time unless he can complete a dark and devious task set forth by his captor... David will be forced to make a terrible and potentially life-shattering choice should he wish to stay alive...

Should that sound familiar, it is for good reason. The short is essentially a miniaturized and slightly restructured version of the sequence involving the character of Amanda as seen in the final feature-length film released just one year later. Yet, for something you have essentially seen before- arguably more refined in the theatrical film- it's still as enthralling and terrifying as ever thanks to the expert direction and sharp storytelling of Wan and Whannell.

It's shocking with how small a budget and how fast a shoot this short had that it's also so darned stylish and well put-together. It's very close to the quality of the future films that it spawned. James Wan's visual stylings are obvious and evident even from this small beginning, and Whannell's knack for structure and creating truly unsettling scenery is on full display here. He also turns in a pretty good performance as David- the main character here.

True it may not be quite as good as the feature films at their best, but still, for what is essentially a proof-of-concept slapped together by two friends who just wanted to find the support to make a movie- it's fantastic!

I give it a very good 9 out of 10. Fans of the series, fans of horror and even first-time filmmakers could learn a thing or two from this short!

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