johnlink ranks SAW V (2008)

Obviously, once you have committed to the first four of a series, you are going to keep going. I’m entering unknown territory with the rest of these films, and I am keeping my expectations very, very low after a miserable fourth film. Maybe it is the masochist in me, but I find myself looking forward to continuing on anyway.


I watched SAW V (2008) on 10.10.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

If SAW IV was the one where things got bad, then SAW V is the one where things get lazy. The series committed itself to getting a movie out every year for the Halloween season. Up through the fourth installment, the films didn’t feel rushed (even if there were diminishing returns). But the fifth movie feels like there were an awful lot of decisions made on the fly.

First, the main story centers around five people who must work together to survive a series of mundane traps. As the ‘torture’ of these films go, this all feels less cringe-inducing and more death-by-cookie-cutter. While the final reveal of this set of traps gets a slight nod for creativity and ingenuity, even the film itself doesn’t much care about them. In fact, the obviousness of these traps – and how easily they could have been beaten – really induce a whole bunch of eye rolls. The final trap, involving circular saws, begs the question: If all you need to do is fill a jar with blood… then why the hell are you leaving your arms exposed to the saws if YOU ARE ALREADY BLEEDING PROFUSELY?!?!?!

But I digress.

But since this movie barely cares about those central traps, we instead learn about how Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), became the apprentice to Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). After he is revealed as a big bad at the end of four, this follow-up feels the need to tell us all of the hows and whys. What we get, then, is a rehashing of the lead-up to the deaths from the previous films. This doesn’t feel like a bunch of amazing revelatory moments, but rather like a story desperately trying to connect to the ‘glory’ of its past.

Also running around this film is an agent, Strahm (Scott Patterson), the last holdover of the good guys from the previous bunch of films. As this series digs further into its own mythology, it becomes less about the ‘lessons’ of the traps (even as Jigsaw spends a few lines imploring us that the lessons are the most important thing) and more about cop killing. Seriously, don’t be a cop in the SAW series. You will die horrendously.

SAW V is watchable enough in a throw-away manner. It isn’t terrible. It certainly zips along if you have invested in the story of the previous four. But, more and more, this is all feeling like something being concocted on the fly rather than something that is as masterfully planned as we are being led to believe it is. SAW V is certainly a movie which is showing cracks deep in the foundation.

Do the last two films resurrect the mythology? Maybe. But I won’t be holding my breath.




FINAL SCORE: 4.75 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on October 11, 2015.

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