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Why The Original Saw Reverse Bear Trap Had To Be Changed

The iconic bear trap from 2004 Saw helped make the movie, but it was almost as awkward in real life as it looked on screen. SawThe simple, yet fascinating premise paved the way for countless creative constructs whose sole purpose is to torture Jigsaw’s victims in nine episodes. They are different in design, but they all give the user two options: find the way out or die a painful death.


Perhaps the most recognizable of all the traps in the Saw franchise is the reverse bear trap, where Shawnee Smith’s Amanda Young has to cut open another victim to get the key that frees her from the device before it rips her jaw apart. The inverted bear trap was first used in the short film that helped Leigh Whannell and James Wan finance the feature film. But as effective at getting the message across as it was, the original bear trap was so heavy and impractical that they had to redesign it for the actual movie — and even then Smith struggled to play comfortably while shooting her scenes.

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Related: Saw: The True Story That Inspired the Horror Movie


How the original saw reverse bear trap was different

Saw creators Leigh Whannell and James Wan went to great lengths with their short film, as they had to prove that their concept could work as a feature film – a film that would result in nine Saw movies (with another on the way). The bear trap was the ideal place to reach it, but they had a very limited budget and little time to complete it. So they used a completely real steel device. It was as tough as any real bear trap, and it was just as dangerous for Whannell, who played David, the victim in the original movie. Saw short movie.

In the documentary Game Changer: The Legacy Of Sawspecial effects supervisor Thomas Bellissimo describes the original inverted bear trap and says: The problems with it were that it was so heavy and so mechanical, so we had to come up with something else. After looking at this photo of the original photo they took in Australia…it was too big.” With a bigger budget for the feature length SawBellissimo and the Saw crew created a new version made of aluminum and painted it to make it look like rusty steel.

Why the original Saw Reverse Bear Trap would have a harder time filming?

In the documentary Game Changer: The Legacy of Sawexplains Amanda Young actor Shawnee Smith that the second version of the inverted bear trap, despite being much lighter than the original, was really heavy, and I had to hold it with a tongue depressor between my teeth.” Smith also had a fever that made it even more difficult to act, but she persevered, using her physical discomfort to define her performance.

Linked to SawDue to time constraints and budget, these obstacles suggest that the original steel bear trap would have made filming Smith’s scenes nearly impossible. Satisfying, Saw director James Wan and special effects supervisor Thomas Bellissimo had the foresight to redesign the iconic trap before moving on to the feature film.

Next: Saw Prequel Short Film Revealed More Of Jigsaw’s Backstory (Is It Canon?

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