PictureThe picture is framed correctly at 1.85:1 and anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TV's with an average bitrate of 6-7 Mbps. I have got to say that I am very disappointed with it, as for such a modern film there is a wealth of print damage, from dust to white specks, made all the more noticeable from the dark lighting. The colour pallet is very green/blue, to the point where in certain places, flesh tones look unreal. Now I know it was shot like this, but there are places where it looks too blue to me. The image as a whole was a bit soft in places too, with film grain appearing more than once. Digitally I spotted some artifacting and on my second viewing with the commentary, one or two spots of edge enhancement. For such a modern film, even considering the budget, this has not been treated too well.
SoundWhatever the short falls of the picture quality, the sound has been given excellent treatment. There are three audio tracks; English and Japanese Dolby digital 5.1-EX and English DTS-ES. The Dolby tracks sound like they have the same separation, with only the dialogue, due to the dub, being different and that too has been added very well, perhaps just a tough too much reverb though. For a horror film there is excellent separation going on, from the score to ambient 'scary' noises, mostly there to provide atmosphere. Throughout the bathroom scenes there is a lovely low hum with pops and drips from all round the room, it really is creepy. Both the Dolby's and the DTS cope well with their respective work load providing good dynamics when required and do help to raise the suspense level. The DTS sounds slightly louder with more (too much?) bass compared to the Dolby tracks and has more front to rear compared to the left to right of the Dolby. There is not much to choose between them, but I think the Dolby just wins out on the surround, though most will plump for the heavier bass of the DTS. Whichever you choose, you won't be disappointed.
ExtrasActually, quite a disappointing array of extras, although this is put down to the disc's rushed nature, apparently they were all put together while the film was in the theatres. So at the top of the list is the fun and light hearted commentary by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, director and screenwriter respectively. These guys are young and full of enthusiasm and pride for their film. They have an infectious tone, quick wit and not afraid to point out flaws with their own product. Information and hilarity go hand in hand; it is a highly enjoyable commentary and one that is worth a return visit, even if it's for the 'drinking game'. Listen to it, you'll understand.
Next up is a two minute 'making of' documentary entitled Sawn Off, talking heads, few behind the scene clips and its done.
There are two versions of Fear Factories 'Bite the Hand that Feeds You', one rated, one unrated and an accompanying making of documentary. Ok if you like that sort of thing, but didn't do much for me, it might as well have been titled filler.
Artwork and posters is a slide show affair set to the score of the film. Finally there are Trailers and TV spots rounding off this section. Finally, not sure if you can call this an actual extra, but it's so cool I just had to mention it, you also get some cardboard cut outs of Adam and Gordon, plus a variety of props from the bathroom, including two hacksaws, so you can make your own scene from the film. Got to love those Japanese, they think of everything. A quick word about the menu, the final three extras I've listed do not have any English translation for them listed, doesn't bother me, but thought I best mention it.
VerdictSaw is a grim little horror film, short on budget, long on ideas. Fans of the genre will probably gain satisfaction from it, I know I did, while others may find it all too same-y. As a DVD, it appears this disc is a direct port of the R1 version substituting a 5.1 Japanese dub for the 2.0 surround on that disc, but also retaining the uncut print seen in the UK R2 release. Quality is suspect, extras are thin except for the commentary, but maybe it's worth it for the sound.
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