Saw IV

"Weak"

Saw IV Review


Who would've guessed that from the lengthy list of gimmicks employed by the Saw series, the one to try patience in Saw IV would not be its elaborate, torture-happy deathtraps, serial killer Jigsaw's dour sermonizing, or its shamelessly amped-up filmmaking, but rather the filmmakers' insistence on movie-to-movie continuity. Saw IV, like its predecessors, takes places directly after, and in some cases concurrently with, the events of its immediate predecessor. For a time, this attention to detail seemed novel; but now lacking any real forward movement, the series threatens to collapse into a black hole of its own making.

The attachment of the Saw series to even its most inconsequential, dull, poorly-realized characters rivals and maybe surpasses head murderer Jigsaw's own hang-ups; the filmmakers have become serial killers by proxy, obsessed with every minor character who crosses their path. The sinking feeling I got watching Saw IV was not horror-movie dread, or even trepidation about the inevitable Saws five through ten in particular, but that Saw V will feel obligated to feature such dynamic new franchise additions such as that FBI agent guy (Scott Patterson) and that one cop who knew those other cops (Costas Mandylor). Based on series patterns, Joanne Boland and Julian Richings will have major parts in the next sequel, reprising their roles of "crime scene photographer" and "vagrant," respectively.

Saw IV, like its predecessors, follows parallel tracks of an attempt to find (what's left of) Jigsaw (led by the FBI agent guy, his lady partner, and the one cop who knew those other cops) and Jigsaw's latest elaborate death game. The latter has another cop who knew those other cops, Rigg (Lyriq Bent), scrambling to save his near-fallen comrades. Once this entire police department is dead, Jigsaw can only hope that there is a second department to engage in self-torturing vengeance games.

Of course, Jigsaw himself is dead too -- horror-movie aficionados who demand to see the body as proof are obliged early on, in appropriately grotesque detail -- but his creepy moralizing will live forever through his various recruited acolytes and, more reliably, his traps, which are rarely in need of their own violent lesson-learning sessions, at least so far as the audience can see (we'll have to wait until the series goes into space to see whether Jigsaw's devices can be used on robots).

We also see some of the old guy's backstory via flashbacks, elaborating further on his relationship with ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell), only glimpsed in flashes during Saw III. Yes, Jigsaw has an ex-wife. One can only imagine the gigantic bear-trap filled with acid-tipped barbed wire he would use to teach her about the evils of depending on alimony over self-reliance. Actually, Jigsaw doesn't seem bitter about the split; far more clichéd monster-man explanations of his obsessions await.

Despite the lack of imagination in the Jigsaw flashbacks, especially compared with the occasionally tense mind games the earlier sequels, they're still the best thing about Saw IV. Tobin Bell's eerily quiet embodiment of twisted calculation has always been the most interesting aspect of the series; it's still novel to see a slasher movie that pays attention to the bad guy's makeup-free, unmasked face.

It's hard to miss, though, the sense of fatigue of the first three Saw films, equally exploitative, nonsensical, and indefensible but with a greater B-movie charge. Here, the perverse death-traps seem a little half-assed, with little variety or twisted imagination (the simplest but most effectively creepiness happens in a flashback, as if to emphasize Jigsaw in a simpler time). The cuts between the cops on various crime scenes and the victims on the clock feel more restless, especially since even the most faintly recognizable B-movie actors like Dina Meyer or Shawnee Smith have been killed and replaced with a bunch of guys who are hard to tell apart.

The Saw films will doubtless continue and soon enough Saw IV will probably be relegated to the same blur with which I now see the other sequels. But for now it's the odd movie out -- as cheap and cheesy as its brethren, but oddly boring for long stretches. By now, these Saw characters have been having a very bad couple of murder-packed weeks. Maybe it would be best if the filmmakers skipped ahead and put this behind them.

I can't remember my PIN code!



Saw IV

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th October 2007

Box Office USA: $63.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $139.4M

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Production compaines: Twisted Pictures, Lions Gate Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 17%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 63

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Jigsaw/John, Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm, as Jill, as Hoffman, as Rigg, Louis Ferreira as Art, Athena Karkanis as Agent Perez, as Lamanna, Mike Realba as Fisk, Marty Adams as Ivan, Sarain Boylan as Brenda, Billy Otis as Cecill, Niamh Wilson as Corbett, as Vagrant, as Crime Scene Photographer

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.