The Saw series has always intrigued me with its mind-twisting endings and its undertakings on moral irony. Few horror films in the history of cinema have given us an ‘analysis’ on human nature and our instincts of survival. These films aren’t your average gore fest movies where high school kids party, get drunk and are chased down by some psychopathic killer or super natural entity…these films study the human mind and our appreciation for life.
Now there are three types of people who watch these films: critics who are forced to in order to write a review, average movie-goers who want to see some gore and traps, or the genuine fans who want to see how the story plays out. I consider myself a genuine fan. I was never into horror movies, never into gore, but the plots and twists in these films always fascinated me. They aren’t your average horror flicks; they really try to make you think and analyze the situation at hand. But it’s hard to see that when every critic joins the bandwagon calling this mindless “torture porn” (when porn is “a creative activity [writing or pictures or films etc.] of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire). I don’t know about them, but I don’t think the film makers are trying to get anyone horny here.
So you now know you’re reading a review from a hard-core fan. I loved the first three Saw movies, and they will always be considered the best in the series. Saw IV was also very good, but it was a little confusing. But with time, I learned to love it as well. So we have four solid films, all connected, giving us the puzzle pieces in this non-linear story. Saw IV answered as many questions as it brought up. So I highly anticipated Saw V, and finally got a chance to see it. So did it live up to what the series delivers?
Kind of. I’m going to start off by saying this is probably my least favorite out of all the Saw films. Did it have the bloody traps? Yes. Did it answer some questions and bring up new ones? Yes. Did it offer a mind-blowing twist? Not really. Do you get to learn a lot more about Jigsaw? Not really. Did everything connect like it should have? Yes, but it could have been done so much better.
Personally, I see these films to see how the plot and the twists come together. This film has been advertised with the following tagline: “You Won’t Believe How It Ends.” It’s a little over the top considering this one had one of the weakest twists. There are parts of it you will guess, and some of it you won’t. You have two plots going on here. One plot focused on Hoffman, Jigsaw, and Agent Strahm. The other focuses on five strangers going through a series of tests, somehow all connected. The plot between the five people seemed to just fade in the background as something irrelevant to the movie in general.
So what are the good and bad parts about the film? Let’s get the bad out the way first. Probably the worst acting out of all five films was in this one (excluding Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, and Scott Patterson). Everybody else pretty much needs to go back and learn a few things about acting. Secondly, there was not enough Jigsaw in this film. Yes he is dead, but Saw IV managed to put him in through a good portion of the film using flashbacks. Tobin Bell (who is always amazing portraying the character Jigsaw) probably has a total screen time of seven minutes. That’s a downer when he is the main reason I go to see these films. Thirdly, the twist was weak and sort of predictable. I feel as if they are starting to throw in lines of dialogue to just put into the ending montage. While doing this, I think I may also have found out something about Saw VI, because they seem a little careless now. James Wan and Leigh Whannell, please come back to write these films! Finally, the direction was a little weak. I had faith in David Hackl due to the fact he was production designer for Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV, but directing just isn’t his thing. I feel weird saying this but Wan or Bousman please come back.
Now that we got the bad out the way I know you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What are the positives? They do answer a lot of questions from the previous Saw films, but like a good Saw film does it raises just as many questions. While the twist was weak, it is pretty neat how everything wraps up the way the antagonist wanted it too. Also, while the five people were irrelevant, it was funny what they find out near the end of their game, which makes them feel like dumb-asses. They really got owned by Jigsaw. Another good thing about the film is that it takes its time to tell the story. Unlike Saw IV, which was really fast paced and caused a confusing ending; this one takes its time, builds up to the twist, and allows you to understand what went down. You don’t have to watch it twice to understand it. The pace is solid.
Overall, Saw V is the weakest of the series, but I didn’t mind it. Most films that go on to a number five usually drop the ball earlier in the game. Saw V doesn’t drop the ball completely, but the ‘Saw’ blade is getting a little rusty. We have one more Saw film to go, and Saw VI is set to release on Halloween 2009. Hopefully, it can sharpen the series back into shape and give us the final twists that can connect everything together. Maybe I’ll appreciate Saw V more when the final puzzle piece is in place next year, but until then as a stand alone, Saw V is just okay. As a Saw fan you expect much more. Saw fans go see it if you want to see how the story plays out. It’s interesting at parts, but you will feel like they could have done more. Average movie-goers, stay away from this you just won’t understand. Let’s hope we see more of Jigsaw in the final installment, and it gives us a twist that connects everything together, causing our jaw to hit the floor.
Overall Rating: 3/5
My Spill Rating: Saw Fans - Matinee, Average Movie Goers - Rental