Saw 1 Ending Explained: The Beginning Of Terrifying Game

Classic American horror film and the directorial debut of James Wan, Saw is a film that came out first in 2004 and has since then found for itself a devoted fan base, even promising the release of a tenth addition to the film in 2023. So, if you wish to refresh your memories of the movie Saw and its ending explained, then continue reading till the end.

With the screenplay written by Leigh Whannell, the movie revolves around a cruel game that brings together two victims in a room and gives them instructions they might not want to act on. We have two men trapped in a nasty bathroom, with one of them being told beforehand that he would have to kill the other for his family to be safe.

The movie had screenplay writer Leigh Whannel in the movie for the role of Adam, Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon, Danny Glover as Detective Tapp, Ken Leung as Detective Sing, Dina Meyer as Kerry, Shawnee Smith as Amanda, Tobin Bell as Jigsaw Killer and a few others in iconic supporting roles.

The movie Saw got to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2004 and was put out theatrically by Halloween of the same year. The movie was a hit among fans, especially the young ones who seemed thoroughly impressed with the notion of a film being shot in such a tiny room but still managing to be unrealistically creepy. 

For a film that suffered all throughout its production process because of the budget, or the lack of it, the movie managed to do so well, impressing the critics and the audience so much that the combined gross earning of all of the Saw films stands at almost a billion dollars.

While nobody thought that movie would end up becoming the next big horror franchise standing proudly just behind the Scream movies, it has not just become an iconic franchise but has taken director Wan to a level of success he probably had not even imagined. So, let us take through the premise of the first Saw film along with its ending explained to you at the end.

Cary Elwes as Gordon in the film, Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)
Cary Elwes as Gordon in the film Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)

Saw 1 Ending Explained

The movie opens with an unconscious photographer called Adam and another man, who we find out is an oncologist named Dr. Lawrence Gordon, trapped in a rundown bathroom, which also has a corpse lying in between them. With no idea as to how the two strangers ended up chained in a bathroom, they start looking around for clues.

They find that the corpse must have been a suicide victim and that it had in its hand a gun and recorder of some sort. The men find in their respective pockets tapes that they put in the recorder and listen to one by one.

Both their tapes tell them different things, with Adam being told to survive no matter what and Gordon being told that if he does not kill Adam by six, his wife and daughter will not live to see another day.

Terrified and cautious after listening to their tapes, the two start looking around the bathroom to find something that may help them get out of the hellhole alive. And it is inside the toilet that Adam finds two hacksaws, and each takes one, trying its best to cut through their chain.

Gordon’s Realization

While trying to cut through, it is Adam’s saw that breaks, and this is all Gordon needs to see for the realization of what was happening to them to strike him. He tells Adam that the saw must have been for their feet and that their being here, trapped with a dead person, could be the doing of the infamous Jigsaw Killer.

Making his victims utterly desperate, testing their will to lie, putting them in confined spaces, and preparing lethal traps for them is the way of the Jigsaw Killer, and how does Gordon know so much about the said killer? He reveals he was, at some point, five months ago, suspected of being the killer himself. 

Leigh Whannell as Adam in the film, Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)
Leigh Whannell as Adam in the film Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)

We are told that Gordon was interrogated by Detectives Tapp and Sing, who had found his penlight at one of Jigsaw Killer’s crime scenes. At the time, he was dealing with the terminal brain cancer patient John Kramer. 

He was suspected of either being the killer or having helped him in some way, but thankfully, Gordon managed to present a strong enough alibi to the detectives, which got him off the hook. He had also seen testimony of probably the only alive victim of the killer, Amanda Young, also a heroin addict. 

Tapp and Sing eventually managed to locate the killer’s warehouse and could have had him under arrest had it not been for one of the traps that not only helped Jigsaw escape but also killed Sing.

More Hostages

After this flashback, we are introduced to Alison, Gordon’s wife, and Diana, Gordon’s daughter, as they are held hostages. While it is just the two girls and their captor inside the house, we have former-detective Tapp outside the house waiting for a clue, still firmly believing that Gordon is the Jigsaw Killer.

Another flashback revealed how Gordon was kidnapped by a masked man, and Adam was picked from his home, where he also stored pictures of Gordon.

Alison calls her husband on the one-way phone that he found along with some cigarettes and a lighter, and begs him not to believe anything that Adam says, but Adam, also desperate to save himself, finally reveals the truth of how he had been hired by Tapp to spy on Gordon because the detective was still suspecting him of being the killer.

A still from the film, Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)
A still from the film Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)

Adam produces a picture of Alison and Diane’s captor, and Gordon is able to identify the man from his hospital as Zep Hindle. Soon, the clock strikes six, and seeing both Adam and Gordon still alive, Zep moves to kill the mother and daughter duo, but before that can happen, Alison gets herself freed from the ties and moves to protect her daughter by fighting the man.

The two struggle to gain power over each other, and Tapp notices this. He immediately rushes into the house and manages to protect both of the hostages. With Zep realizing that there would be no way for him to come out of this fight with Alison and Tapp alive, he decides it best to make a run for it. 

He escapes from Tapp for the second time, but Tapp is not going to let him get away that easily. The two fight, but Zep ends up shooting Tapp in the chest and runs. Not knowing what is happening, Gordon panics and severs his own foot, snatching the gun from the corpse and attempting to kill Adam.

The Ending Explained

Zep enters the bathroom right after the first shot, but Adam, who survived the shot, ends up killing Zep by thrashing his head with the toilet tank’s lid. With Zep dead, the two captives see some hope of survival, but it all goes down the same drain that Adam had drained at the start of the film when he woke up.

We know this because the duo searches Zep’s body for a key that could get them out, but the only thing they find is a tape. After listening to it, they realize that Zep is just another pawn in this well-planned game.

That he was doing what he was told to in hopes of getting his hand on the antidote that could stop the poison in his body from reaching his heart. So, who was behind all of this? Just as this question entered the minds of our two captives and the audience, we saw the dead body that had been in the bathroom since the start rising. 

Detective Sing and Tapp in the film, Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)
Detective Sing and Tapp in the film Saw (Credits: Lionsgate)

It was John Kramer, who had been alive all throughout, pretending to be a corpse who was the real Jigsaw Killer. He reveals, in a sinister manner, that the key to his chain went down the drain in the bathtub. Angered, Adam tries to shoot him with the gun that Zep had with himself, but John manages to duck, shocking Adam electrically instead. 

As Adam suffers, John turns around and readies to leave the bathroom. He seals the door and, while doing so, says the words ‘Game Over,’ locking Adam in the bathroom to die a slow death. 

Also Read: Jarhead Ending Explained: Not A Typical War Film

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