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Review of saw the Ride at Thorpe Park

“Society call you a thrill hunter,
I call you unworthy of the life you have been given”.

Thorpe Park is a theme park that is situated in Chertsey, Surrey (UK) and is well on its way to becoming one of the biggest and best theme parks in the UK. Thorpe Park is home to a number of big rollercoasters, the newest addition being Saw The Ride.

Saw The Ride was first launched on 13 March 2009. It can be found in Canada Creek inbetween Collossus and Loggers Leap. You must be at least 1.4 metres tall to ride and it is not recommended for under 12’s. Saw The Ride is based upon the horror movie ‘Saw’ (of which there are now six whole installments) and is said to be the first horror movie themed rollercoaster in the world.

It’s not compulsory to have seen the films before riding Saw The Ride but it definitely makes the whole experience more intense and thrilling. I would advise watching at least one Saw film beforehand to get the most out of the ride (there are many references to the films throughout the ride which will go totally unnoticed otherwise).

The queue time all depends on what day, season and date you visit. Queues can be very short (less than 10 minutes) but can also be very long (more than an hour). Fastpass tickets for Saw The Ride allow you to jump to the front of the queue and cost £4.00 each. In my opinion Fastpass tickets are too expensive (considering the cost of entry to Thorpe Park) but they do allow you to get on more than a few of the big rides throughout the day.

The ride is hard to miss as it’s a big rollercoaster with a huge drop at the beginning. There is a big, old, abandoned looking warehouse which is where the ride starts and where the queue leads into. Outside of the warehouse is an American police car with blood splattered on it and a Saw The Ride souvenir shop which sells all Saw The Ride essentials.

There are 2 queue entrances – one main queue and one Fastpass queue. At the front there is a sign which says ‘Saw The Ride. Face your fears. Enter at your own risk’. The Fastpass queue leads straight into the warehouse and the main queue spirals around for a while before reaching the warehouse. You are enclosed by rusty old metal fences (with ‘barbed wire’ on the top) and gates. The scenery is very grim and perfect for the nature of the ride – there is a dirty swampy area (a big lake surrounds Thorpe Park), barrels, tires, rusty old wheels, spikes and equipment which look like torture devices and traps. Throughout the queue are announcements which are supposed to be from police officers saying things like “I know you’re brave but no smoking. And don’t lean on the fences, they might be a trap”. The queue and warehouse is surrounded by CCTV cameras which give you the feeling that Jigsaw (the killer) is watching your every move. Be warned that there isn’t any shaded area in the queue.

As you get closer to the warehouse you release how (purposely) run down the whole thing is – the warehouse is made of rusty old metal and wooden planks, it’s all very eerie. There is also a pile of mannequins laying next to the warehouse. I expect the ride itself cost a fortune to build but I don’t think a big budget was needed for the surroundings and the props!

Inside the warehouse is quite dark. Next to the Fastpass queue is some sort of torture device. Ocassionally the torture devices in the queue feature live actors, however I have not yet seen any. In the main queue there are 4 shotguns attached to the ceiling, there is a click of a shotgun loading followed by a huge bang as the guns shoot out air and a strobe light flashes – this is guaranteed to make everybody jump and is taken from a scene in the first Saw film where a detective sets off a tripwire and gets shot and killed by the shotguns.

There are a few television sets dotted about which show CCTV images from around the abandoned warehouse when all of a sudden the screen goes fuzzy and Billy the puppet appears on the screen, voiced of course by Jigsaw. Billy/Jigsaw goes on to say ‘Hello, I want to play a game. So far in what could loosely be called your life, you saw extreme experiences to add excitement to what you believe to be a goal in ordinary existence. Society call you a thrill hunter, I call you unworthy of the life you’ve been given. Did you push your mind and body to the edge, because you truly wanted to know what its like to die, or did you just want a kick and some attention. Today you’ll show me. Live or Die, make your choice”.

You then make your way up some stairs where written on the wall in red paint are the words ‘Let the games begin’. Once you reach the top of the stairs there is a window with a dead man inside hanging from barbed wire – again taken from a scene in the first film. This is where you board the ride. Props include old broken computer equipment, operating tables with gresome looking surgical instruments. There is a room with attendants in it to take your bags, coats and possessions (in exchange they give you a black wristband with a unique number on, so you can pick your things up once the ride has ended). There is another attendant who directs you to a row to wait at. Waiting and boarding a car only takes a minute at the maximum.

The cars are quite unique as they only seat upto 8 people at a time, in 2 rows of 4 people. You are secured into your seat by an overhead harness.

I was unaware that the ride actually starts indoors. The ride stops in darkness and out rides Billy on his tricycle with a chilling message. You then head towards some spikes and two swinging blades but hit an unexpected drop just before reaching them. You then stop again briefly as crossbows are being shot at you which involves lots of noise and shooting of air. The ride then shoots off and takes you into a twist where you see a dead body lying on the floor (supposedly Jigsaw) and his blood spurts at you.

The ride then goes outside where you reach the bottom of a 100 foot drop. There are television screens at the bottom which count down to zero, again Billy appears on the screen and Jigsaw says ‘Game over’. Billy the puppet laughs hysterically as you begin to climb the drop. The climb seems like ages but only actually lasts around 20 seconds. At this point you are laying on your back and looking directly into the sky. When you reach the top the ride you plummet down a 100 degree drop (that’s not just a vertical drop but beyond a vertical drop, I suppose you could say inverted) without any second thoughts. There is a huge saw at the bottom which makes you feel as if you are going to hit it.

The ride then takes you straight through a number of twists and turns at high speeds reaching upto 55.6 mph. There is so much going on in such a short amount of time (the whole ride lasts 1 minute 40 seconds) that it’s hard to take everything in. There are 3 inversions in total and many unexpected dips and drops. On one of the drops the ride takes your photo which can be purchased at the exit.

The ride eventually comes to an end where you can pick up your bags and possessions and make your way down a flight of stairs where there is another television set with Billy on and another chilling message from Jigsaw – “You think it’s over but you’re wrong, the games have just begun”. The lights flicker and written on the walls in red paint are the words ‘The games have just begun’.

Outside of the ride you can view and purchase your photos but you can also purchase DVDs of your ride experience. There are cameras placed on the front of the cars and into the back of the front row of seats to film everybody on the ride. The DVDs are quite expensive, around £15.00 but are very funny to watch everybodys reactions.

In my opinion Saw The Ride is a brilliant rollercoaster which lives up to everything I hoped it would. The ride itself, the scenery, the props and the whole atmosphere is eerie and just perfect. I personally prefer sitting in a middle seat opposed to sitting on an end seat, simply because I find I get a lot more thrown around on an end seat.

I recommend this ride to all thrill seekers and Saw fans.