Saw V

"Weak"

Saw V Review


At this point in the Saw series, reviews really don't matter. Frankly, this is one of the few fright franchises where audiences don't care about character development, directorial flair, or narrative invention. Instead, they want more Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, more illogical puzzle kills, and a reverse referencing that makes unimportant characters major players in later installments. To that extent, Saw V is definitely no different. Unfortunately, whatever made the first four films tolerable has been whisked away by unimaginative writing and even more pedestrian direction.

Since the death of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), FBI agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) has been trying to track down his "other" accomplice. With female helper Amanda (Shawnee Smith) also dead, all leads point to Det. Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor). New agency head Dan Erickson (Mark Rolston) isn't so sure, however, and becomes suspicious. In the meantime, a new "game" has commenced. Five people -- a fire inspector, a building permit bureaucrat, a trust fund baby/drug addict, an investigative journalist, and a property developer -- find themselves locked in a life or death struggle to see who can survive, and who will be sacrificed. As well, Jigsaw's ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell) receives a mysterious box.

It seems odd to say this, but Saw V deeply misses Darren Lynn Bousman. The guiding light for three-fifths of this franchise (installments II through IV) brought a real sense of shock value and a way with plot point intricacy that new helmer David Hackl just doesn't have. While lengthy credits as a production designer should indicate some basic level of cinematic skill, the novice can't find a way to make his first feature film work. Just as we are enjoying the Saw mythos backfilling -- by now a standard in the series -- Hackl forces us back to the weak five-characters-in-search-of-a-clue motif. It's the same trapped rats story that undermined Saw II.

Screenwriters Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan are also no help. Brought on to take Saw IV into post-trilogy territory, their hit or miss designs derail anything remotely resembling suspense. And then they foreshadow the necessity of Saw VI with all their open-ended, unexplained elements (that secret package our villain's ex walks away with, the "big picture" connection to the five people in the puzzle). In fact, if you took away all the sideways subplots and dangling narrative threads, we'd be left with Strahm vs. Hoffman, with one of them destined to go down -- and that's not a tale worth telling.

The final failure comes from the actors. Mandylor appears to be sleepwalking through the part, while Patterson's only highlight comes via a self-induced tracheotomy. The rest of the returning horde -- including snippets from victims long ago dispensed -- are really nothing special, and Betsy Russell's Jill is reduced to a red herring. About the only actor getting a chance is Bell, and though he is limited to playing flashback versions of the fiend, he brings a brilliant gravitas to the role. Too bad then that Melton and Dunstan give him God-awful gobbledygook to say. Several of his speeches sound like a failed philosopher after an all-night beer bash.

For longtime fans of James Wan and Leigh Whannell's original Sundance stunner, Saw V is the weakest installment so far. It can't claim part two's brutality, part three's closure, or part four's intriguing reboot. Instead, it's the first effort that fails to capitalize on all the invention that came before. Instead of striking out in new or unusual ways, it merely recycles information and individuals we thought we were already done with. If you like the broadening of the Jigsaw scenario, you'll end up partially satisfied. Everything else here is just subpar scares.

Hey, I'm in the TV!



Saw V

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th October 2008

Box Office USA: $56.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $113.9M

Budget: $10.8M

Distributed by: Lionsgate

Production compaines: Lionsgate, Twisted Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 12%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 64

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David Hackl

Starring: as Brit, as Luba, as Amanda Young, as John Kramer

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.