Saw is a 2004 American horror film directed by James Wan in his directorial debut and starring Cary Elwes, Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Michael Emerson, Ken Leung, Tobin Bell, and Leigh Whannell. It is the first installment in the Saw franchise. In it, Elwes and Whannell portray two men who awake to find themselves chained in a large dilapidated bathroom, with one being ordered to kill the other or his family will die. The screenplay was written by Whannell, who co-created the story with Wan in their screenwriting debuts respectively.
The screenplay was written in 2001, but after failed attempts to get the script produced in Wan and Whannell's home country of Australia, they were urged to travel to Los Angeles. In order to help attract producers they shot a low-budget short film of the same name from a scene out of the script. This proved successful in 2003 as producers from Evolution Entertainment were immediately attached and also formed a horror genre production label Twisted Pictures. The film was given a small budget of $1.2 million and shot for 18 days.
Saw was first screened on January 19, 2004, before released in North America on October 29, 2004 by Lionsgate Films. Compared to its low budget, Saw performed very well at the box office, grossing more than $100 million worldwide and becoming, at the time, one of the most profitable horror films since Scream (1996). The film was theatrically re-released by Lionsgate, to select theatres, on October 31, 2014 to celebrate its tenth anniversary. A sequel, entitled Saw II, was released in 2005.