a critiQal film review Saw V (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Detecive Hoffman (Mandylor) is seemingly the last person alive to carry on the legacy of Jigsaw (Bell). But when his secret is threatened, he must go on the hunt to eliminate all loose ends.

711 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 33s)
  • ...aside from a trap sequence involving some recognizable newcomers to the series, this 5th film is nothing but filler before the grand finale.

Usually by the 5th film in a series, viewers have lost most of their interest. Unless it’s Star Trek or James Bond, most series don’t even make it to the 5th film – unless they have graduated to the straight-to-DVD section of the store.

This series has been different. While the original film seems to be the only one that is able to stand on it’s own, the sequels – even the crappy ones – have usually contributed another piece to the larger puzzle of the films – and that’s what I (since Heather lost interest after the first sequel) was hoping was going to be the case for the 5th film as well.

Since not all of the films have been able to stand on their own, this series has become a rental for us, rather than a theater-going experience. And, with the previews becoming more and more cryptic as the series continues, we really had no idea what to expect from this 5th film.

Now that Saw V has arrived on DVD, however, I definitely was planning on checking it out. Would the newest film provide more answers to the larger puzzle, or is this maniacal series running a bit long in the tooth?

Tobin Bell is back once again, despite being dead for a couple of sequels by this point. Sure, he’s still got the knack as Jigsaw, but at this point it seems like the filmmakers just keep him around because he’s signed on for the whole series. By this point, no matter what he does with his character, all of his scenes feel like a giant retread of previous films – and thus a total waste of screen time.

Costas Mandylor, on the other hand, never really seemed a good choice to continue the series with. From his first appearance, viewers may have wondered if they picked him because he was cheap, rather than because of any acting inclinations. He keeps the viewers wondering about that question in this 5th film, and also makes them wonder why this series hasn’t gone straight to DVD by this point. His acting highlights the poor acting from all involved, an especially long fall after the impressive performances from Whannell, Elwes and Glover in the original .

Scott Patterson also seems to fall in the “cheap-to-hire” category, as his character fails to provide the viewer with anything coming close to resembling a gripping performance. Lost in scene re-creations for most of the film, his character is bland as cardboard, and seems to be nothing more than the viewer’s guide through the highlights of the previous films.

Oddly enough, the smaller roles contain a lot of memorable faces, from Meagan Good to ‘s Julie Benz to ‘s Carlo Rota. They all do their part, and their sequences are the most entertaining and innovative of the film – too bad their screen time only takes up a small part of Saw V.

Instead, the main plot of the film revolves around a re-hash of scenes from previous films. This main part of the film is incredibly original and entirely too jumpy, cavorting through the Saw timeline without worrying if the viewer is keeping up or not. Instead of being fascinated by these new glimpses into previously seen sequences, the viewer will find it all rather dull – since most of it has already been figured out from previous films.

Nothing new presents itself in Saw V, and the film comes off as nothing but filler. Sure, it brings the events of and to a close, but does so with such unsatisfactory and unoriginal results. Basically, Saw V seems to showcase, more than anything, that the creative thinkers behind the whole puzzle, coming close to their grand finale, are running out of ideas. Sure, the traps are still intriguing, but Saw V seems to be nearly a last gasp from these filmmakers.

It’s unfortunate – but not unexpected. After all, they’ve already stretched the Jigsaw idea over 4 previous films. The only question is how long are they going to keep stretching this idea? A rumor is circulating that Saw VI may be the final film of the series – but after watching Saw V, 6 films seems to be stretching it a bit too much.

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