It’s quite rare for me not to notice movies that come out in theaters so it was a big surprise that I found out that not only has Saw IV already been released, Saw V is coming out later this year. I am not a Saw fan at all but having seen all three Saw movies, I wouldn’t want to break my run so off I went to find a copy of Saw IV.
Anyone who has seen a Saw movie will known that this is just another run-of-the-mill torture porn. The first one quite innovative for its time but succeeding movies that dealt with torture (like Hostel) has lessened its impact with the succeeding sequels.
As sequels go, it takes a really good story to make succeeding movies emerge from the shadow of the original. And here Saw seems to have stalled. I think the twist in Saw 2 was quite cool and made the movie a good enough sequel for the disturbing first movie. But the third movie failed to deliver a good yarn, but I have to give the movie props for ending with a very memorable scene with Jigsaw apparently getting killed.
The fourth movie begins with Jigsaw, dead in a mortuary table. The first incision on his body is proof that Jigsaw is not going to come back to life or some such nonsense. Death is the final end for him. This was an intriguing beginning as it immediately makes you think, “if Jigsaw’s dead then why the hell is there a new movie.” But, as Jigsaw says in the microcassette that was discovered in his stomach, the games are just about to begin.
The basic plot of the fourth installment is the recruitment of a new person who will continue Jigsaw’s work. Like all Saw movies, the basic template is a whodunit only with more blood, and graphic depictions of eviscerations. There is something to be said about writing the perfect whodunit. I have to admit that Saw 2, did it quite well, but three was a big letdown. All I can say that Saw IV is messier for the simple reason that the writer tried to string together the three previous movies with the fourth one. This gives a lot of complications because timelines are sure to get screwed up, and I think it did with this movie.
I won’t comment too much about the acting because this is, after all, a slasher flick designed to appeal to baser instincts. I just have to say that there were no standouts here. No one really stood out as great actors—except maybe for Tobin Bell, who has proved his mettle before as a talented character actor.
Fans who get off on the creative ways of torture in Saw will also be disappointed because there seems to be far fewer set pieces. And the reason is that the producers really did decide to make a character piece of the fourth movie as a way of really exploring how Jigsaw became who he is.
This is not the best Saw movie of the bunch but for Jigsaw fans, this movie will prove to be indispensable.