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Saw IV
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156 out of 228 people found the following review useful:

Riveting and mind-boggling: after three sequels, the SAW franchise sky-rockets

9/10
Author: SteakSalad_101 from New Jersey, USA
27 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Who would've thought that a slasher horror film franchise, after three sequels, could STILL be one of the best things Hollywood has to boast today? Not I, that's for sure. The intricate, original, crowd pleasing, absolutely shocking, riveting, suspenseful "Saw" wowed audiences in 2004 and a very solid sequel did the same in 2005.

I still remember seeing Saw and Saw II for the first time and realizing how amazing they were. Yet, I was unhappy with Saw III along with many others for reasons being: it focused more on violence than plot, there was no twist, and the ending was very unsatisfying.

I know for a fact I wasn't the only person who thought the "Saw" franchise was officially over, judging by the very disappointing third film...yet, I still possessed a strange love for these films and couldn't wait to see the fourth when it hit theaters. I wasn't expecting a masterpiece at all...but I got one.

"Saw IV" is not the average horror flick. If you're a Saw fan that likes the series for its blood and guts, you're going to despise it. If you're not willing to completely concentrate on the film's every little detail, you're going to despise it. If you feel like just kicking back, watching a nice gory horror film, and not spending a night analyzing the film, racking your brain until you drive yourself insane, you're going to despise this film. Quite honestly, that's why so many people hate this film: because they were expecting something completely different. Make no mistake--the Saw franchise as we know it is now going in a completely different direction.

Here's where the line's drawn between Saw IV and it's predecessors. With the deaths of two main characters in Saw III, you can't possibly think of how Saw IV could really be close to a decent film. Instead of a basic storyline of traps, unlucky individuals who don't appreciate their lives, and suspenseful jump scenes, Saw IV delivers a completely different premise: it's darker, edgier, scarier, more complex, more intricately designed, and more controversial than its predecessors. In some ways, the most horrifying thing about the film is instead of watching people being tested on screen--YOU, as a viewer, are tested--challenged to see what Jigsaw sees, feel what Jigsaw feels...judge how Jigsaw judges. The traps aren't there to entertain, or to make you recoil in disgust...they're there to make you THINK.

Even if you don't want to, or don't feel like it, Saw IV will whisk you away into a land of nightmare where you're forced to make the choices to what happens to the individuals on screen--you're the one in control. By the end of the movie, you'll be so shaken up you won't be able to move. For me, this one "Saw IV" HUGE points because it's actually scary, unlike II and III! It's not a body-count movie--it's a riveting, mind-boggling psychological thriller in the sense of the first film. The film feels like it balances a huge amount of plot and story and a huge amount of gore and ends up taking the cake. The film is exceptionally, brutally violent (even more so than Saw III) and some scenes are very, very disturbing--not because they are violent, but because stuff so horrifying is happening you just want to vomit your brains out. Saw IV is NOT for the faint of heart and there is some very disturbing sexual violence in one scene and another massively disturbing scene where five people in my theater got up and left...and this scene has haunted me since I came out of my theater.

Though horror veterans James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the original creators of Saw, did not write Saw IV--it almost seems better. Darren Lynn Bousman's exquisite directing incorporates a dire sense of urgency throughout the whole film, making it feel like you're watching a "24" episode.

I will warn you now the ending will confuse the hell out of you, which apparently is another reason for people to completely, wrongly condemn this film. Me and my friends spent a good two hours discussing the film afterwards and it made much more sense to us. Be prepared to watch this film with an open mind and be ready for some serious post-viewing discussion afterwards. The ending is very much like that of "The Prestige," and you may have a desire to watch "Saw IV" again the minute it ends.

If you're a Saw fan that was disappointed with the lack of psychological horror in Saw II and Saw III---fear not. Saw IV has what you're looking for and will take you to hell and back...but hold onto your dinner. I have no idea how this film made it past the MPAA without an NC-17 rating. Along with your dinner, try to hold onto your sanity while watching the film...good luck with that.

Enjoy which, is in my opinion, one of the best treats of the 2007 movie season.

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148 out of 224 people found the following review useful:

"Saw IV" injects new blood into the series... A fantastic and fiendish fourth chapter!

9/10
Author: MaximumMadness from United States
27 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Like many fans, I was crest-fallen by the ending of last year's "Saw III." I assumed that with basically every main character dead, there would be no way of continuing the series.

I was wrong.

"Saw IV", from director Darren Lynn Bousman ("Saw II" and "III"), and writers Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan and Thomas Fenton (taking over for series veteran Leigh Whannell) delivers a story that is thrilling, poignant and disturbing, taking the series in a slightly different direction in terms of tone and style, while at the same time retaining the mood that made the first three films unique.

It is honestly very hard to summarize the story without revealing the many twists and turns, but here I go: Jigsaw and Amanda are dead. However, during the autopsy of Jigsaw's body, an audio tape is discovered in his stomach. Detective Hoffman (who you may remember from a brief cameo in "Saw III") hears the tape, that warns Jigsaw's games will continue...

At the same time, SWAT leader Rigg (of "Saw II" and "III") has become a shell of a man. Everyone he works with and treasures as friends have been killed. He is becoming reckless... burnt out and hollow.

However, something sinister is about to happen... and Rigg will have to play a part in a fiendish new game orchestrated by Jigsaw, who despite being dead, is still the master puppeteer of morals and torture.

That is the basic plot line in a nutshell. However, don't be fooled. Though he is dead, Jigsaw is still very much an important part of the story. We get numerous flashbacks of him before his transformation into the brilliant madman we know from previous films, and see exactly what events triggered his desire to turn... If you think his only problem was the cancer inside, think again... There is much more to be discovered about John Kramer... And I think there is still more to the character to explore in future films...

There are also other new characters, including Jigsaw's ex, and a pair of FBI agents, who complicate the movie (in a good way), by creating numerous intersecting sub-plots.

But onto the real fun of the series... The traps. I, personally, loved every trap in this film. We get to witness Jigsaw's first effort (which I can only say is painful in many different ways), and we get new, disturbing and complicated set-ups... While the film might not have the "ouch" factor that past traps (paticularly "The Rack" from "III") might have had, they are certainly gory and zany enough to keep everyone entertained and revolted at the same time. In fact, I would say the audience I saw the film with (a sold-out theater at 10:25 opening night) had the best reactions I have ever seen with a film. Bravo to the filmmakers! There were really very few down-points in the film, for me. I ate-up everything that I saw, and loved just about every second of it!

Also, the numerous twists and turns throughout kept me reeling. And for once, I can honestly say I did not see the (series staple) twist ending coming... A real shocker!

And while I did miss some of the characters from previous installments (I wish Shawnee Smith's Amanda could have gotten more screen time), the new characters have so much promise and potential, I can forgive any complaints I might have.

Here's to "Saw IV"... A frenzied and freakish sequel that has only fueled my hunger for future installments! 9 out of 10!

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144 out of 220 people found the following review useful:

Decent Film - Hardcore "Saw" Fans Will Be Pleased.

6/10
Author: Mickno from Hell
25 October 2007

When I first sat down to watch "Saw IV", I was not expecting much as it seemed it would be very difficult to make a good sequel with Jigsaw dead. I am not a huge fan of the "Saw" movies, but I was very impressed with Saw IV considering it lacked the presence of Jigsaw.

The film opens up with an autopsy of Jigsaw/John, where an audio cassette is discovered in his stomach, and that sets out the whole plot for the movie. Throughout the film we learn a little more about Jigsaw's history, and why he did what he did. Of course Saw IV also includes some creative, painful and very gory traps which lead to a few slow and painful deaths, which will make even the strongest moviegoers cringe.

Saw IV is nothing like it's prequel, Saw III. It doesn't have a lot of random and somewhat pointless violence like Saw III, it makes you think and had a good twist which Saw III also lacked. If you go to watch Saw IV expecting an average, overly violent, torture porn horror film, I guarantee you will hate this movie. Much like the first "Saw" film, you will be pondering over the final twist for hours.

Overall I thought Saw IV was a decent film, it was entertaining and had a pretty solid script which keeps the audience interested, and the usual bloody "Saw" special effects. However, I thought that it did lack in suspense towards the very end and was a little too far-fetched in some scenes.

6/10 - Entertaining, hardcore "Saw" fans should be pleased.

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185 out of 303 people found the following review useful:

The SAW Franchise finally descends into absurdity.

6/10
Author: Matt_Layden from Canada
27 October 2007

Jigsaw is dead, but his game is far from over. A detective is on the hunt for clues around the city, in which he must act in the same manner as Jigsaw with the victims he finds. He must do this in order to find the location of two of his colleagues and save them.

It's easy to see how the SAW franchise, as it is now called, is turning into the same mess that struck Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare On Elm Street. The story is over, but the cash flow still has some juice in it. In this installment Jigsaw is dead, but his cruel game continues. How you might ask? Well, if I were to explain that, it would ruin the film, but it's hard to review this film without leaking something.

The original SAW redefined the horror genre, so much so that there are now countless imitators. It packed the goods in gore and a shocking twist at the end. The sequel, which really was not needed, tried to capitalize on the same system. It failed. Yet still made boatloads of money. Hence the 3rd, and this film and of course the next one. SAW IV becomes a parody of itself, unintentionally mind you. It tries to re-capture the essence of the original from plot points to the twist, which is a staple in the series now. Why SAW IV doesn't work as well as it wants to, is because it's far too confusing and doesn't satisfy it's audience, instead it leaves more holes, that will be filled in by it's sequel, much like how this one filled in some from the 3rd.

SAW IV answers the questions, such as who the blonde woman was in Jigsaw's dreams and why he covered the tape in wax. Yet leaves out other things, specifically what the letter said to Amanda. It could have easily been explained, but they wanted to leave as much story as possible to continue this franchise, which should have been over at 1 and could have been wrapped up completely with 3. This leaves the audience confused, as well as angry. When the final credits rolled up I sat back in my chair and asked myself if they really answered anything as to why it ended the way it did…it doesn't. It throws in that twist that is expected, but doesn't bother to explain it. I guess we have to wait another year to find out why things happened the way they did.

SAW IV is gory, probably the worst out of all of them, but not quite as nerve flinching as the others. It doesn't have any scenes that make you squirm in your seat like when Dr. Gordon saws off his foot, or when Amanda falls into the pit full of needles, or even when Detective Matthews smashes hiss foot with the toilet cover. Those small things are the ones that get the audience; this film simply shows the bloody entrails of people.

I will give credit to where it's due. The film stays consistent with the others and I applause the actors and writers for continuing certain characters through out the entire series. It gives fans goose bumps when they see a familiar face. Also, the twist, which fails in comparison to the first two but it better then the third, is adequate. In fact there is more then one twist. We also get some more background history on Jigsaw, who he was before he became a psychopath. A little hint as to why as well.

We can't connect to any of these characters. Characters from the previous films that show up here, have very little screen time and are killed off. Why have them survive through all this stuff just to kill them off. It cheapens the films in which we root for them to live; we know their fate in the end. There may have been characters that you cared for in previous installments that were trapped in Jigsaw's game, this time around, unless you knew them from before, we know their fate, we know we don't care.

The ending will confuse the hell out of a lot of people; I had to take a minute to figure it out myself. Maybe because it was really well written, or horrible executed, I haven't decided yet. I found myself sitting there with a confused look across my face, wanting more, not simply because I wanted more, but because the film needed more. The film has a lot of stuff going on, it's not to know who' who, who's dead, what's going on where and so on.If you've missed one film in the series, you will most likely be lost in this film. It asks you, as do the others, to pay attention to the previous films. I really enjoy that; it asks the audience to think a little bit, which is usually missing from horror films these days.

It's a tad better then the second and third, but falls apart near the end. This time around we can't seem to care for the guy whose trapped in Jigsaw's mind game. We've come to expect the unexpected, we've comes to be grossed out. Have the makers of this series run their course? Well, after the next film, to tie everything up, I hope the answer is yes. The first is still the best and I cannot imagine the next one being any better.

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114 out of 175 people found the following review useful:

It surpassed my expectations...Saw reigns again for the fourth year in a row.

8/10
Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
27 October 2007

As a die hard Saw fan, Saw IV was one of my top must sees of 2007. Fortunately, I didn't get my hopes up, and therefore I wasn't disappointed. The movie has its fair share of flaws, don't get me wrong. However, the movie made this Saw fan happy because it maintained the spirit of the series. The movie's biggest flaw is that it is by far the most unrealistic of the series and relies too much on chance within the story. Too many events are contingent on others, which makes Jigsaw look almost clairvoyant. However, I was able to look past this and enjoy the fourth Saw film.

Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is dead. Though he is gone, he vows that his work will continue. And it appears he is true to his word, for SWAT Lt. Rigg (from Saw 2 & 3) is the latest member of the police force to be thrust into one of Jigsaw's deadly games. Meanwhile, Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is joined by a pair of FBI agents to help stop the Jigsaw killer once and for all...They'll start by looking into his past, beginning with his ex wife, Jill.

The acting is pretty good. Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, and Scott Patterson are the standouts. Bell brings so much more to the character this time around through flashbacks as we learn more about John Kramer. Showing that he has created one of the most memorable characters of recent memory, Bell makes us almost sympathize with him, despite the acts he has committed. Mandylor is really good as Detective Hoffman, even though he has limited screen time and dialog. I liked Patterson a lot because of the toughness and reality he brought to the character. Agent Strahm is a good character and definitely one of my favorites in the series. One big surprise was Lyric Bent as Rigg. He definitely showed a lot of range in this movie. He has a future.

The plot is probably the most complex, as there can be as many as 3 different subplots going on at the same time, all while the audience has questions from the first 3 movies answered. The ending also leaves a little to be desired, as it is the least impacting twist of the series (and most obvious). However, I really enjoyed the traps, which were definitely a step up from Saw 3. The random gore was kept to a minimum, but the beginning is absolutely horrifyingly gory. It also felt rushed, which means I can't wait to see the unrated DVD. Hopefully it'll have more extra footage than the others. Saw 4 has the weakest script of the series, but it's still better than I expected. At this point, it appears as if Darren Bousman is going through the motions, and that's what keeps the series spirit alive. As long as Bousman, Wan, or Whannell continue to be involved, the spirit should live on. I also have to give props to the editor for the smooth and catchy transitions, not to mention the production design is top notch. That and the lighting provide at least some horror realism, as the plot does border on absurd at times. The sound is better than ever, with the classic 'Hello, Zepp' tune that has become one of the most recognizable tracks in movie history making its dramatic appearance in the climax of the film. The ending also leaves us wanting more, so I'm expecting Saw 5 next Halloween.

8/10 --spy

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146 out of 251 people found the following review useful:

The ultimate in modern horror...

8/10
Author: silentcheesedude from Florida, USA
26 October 2007

It's a rare occurrence, but get ready to see this more then once. Saw 4 plays more like a detective story lifted from a page of a who-dun-it novel. This time, we delve deeper into John's past, his ex-wife, and the real secrets about what made him Jigsaw. During his autopsy, it's reveled his stomach contains an audio tape. The tape warns that his work will continue.

It seems that die-hard fans don't wish to know about what's in the story, since I had to re-edit my comment so that none of the story would be revealed (except that which you see in the ads anyway). In my previous comment, I said nothing about the ending, yet just giving away some of the plot is enough of a no-no. I don't blame them, since this 4th outing has too many elements that make it easier to predict what's going to happen. Regardless, you'd have to be some kind of rare genius to figure out what will happen in the end.

The series has flowed like a smooth, well-oiled Rube Goldberg machine. It's the most complex of the bunch, in some ways, outdoing the previous ones. I repeat: it begs to be watched again. Just when you thought that the previous Saw Traps had done everything they can to a human body, this one has some clever ones of it's own (not as gruesome as Saw 3, though). The autopsy scene is set to the extreme; the MPAA stating that most viewers have now gotten used to seeing programs like CSI and other medical procedures, so they let this slide easier.

Deceptive, dark, very edgy and well written, the Saw series can easily end here. It's almost necessary to have watched the previous Saws, but can stand on it's own as one of the best of the chapters. Of course, it leaves it open for yet another in the series, which will be in production soon. I don't know when I will tire of the series, but honestly, I can't wait to see what other delicious traps they cook up next.

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79 out of 123 people found the following review useful:

Turns down the gore and up the drama

9/10
Author: daveh182 from United Kingdom
28 October 2007

Now you might think that from my title I'm going to slate Saw 4, well I'm not.

Like most I'm an avid fan of the series and when Halloween rolls around I'm always wondering will it be good how you keep a genre like Horror fresh.

Well they done it again while don't get me wrong there is a lot of gore in there its seems a lot more toned down and more apportite for the film instead of just torture torture torture, which I feel really helps the film develop into its own skin.

The story line focuses more on jigsaw's back story this time round and how he became to who he was at the end of Saw 3, this allowment of character development I feel is vital to the story as we have always wanted to know more about the man behind the machine.

The story also focuses on Rigg and his story into the sick world of Saw, this film picks up where Saw 3 left off so its the same thing that Jeff went through he has to try help other people decide their own fate.

The ending is a good one but obviously never as good as the first one its safe to say I doubt they will ever be able to recapture what they had to begin with.

My advice for anyone still waiting to watch this film is keep an open mind about it and never set expectations too high because this is a good film and you should really give it a try before dismissing it.

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98 out of 169 people found the following review useful:

Nothing that we haven't already seen

7/10
Author: vichy from Slovenia
26 October 2007

So I went to see Saw IV yesterday night. What do we actually gain from this movie? Basically it shows nothing new, it's like a reprise of Saw III. And the question is, do we prefer Saw III or Saw? Saw started with only two guys, chained in a bathroom, wondering where they are and what's this all actually about, and those questions are typical for existentialism. The point of this movie reminded me a lot of "No Exit", written by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Both Saw II and Saw III distinguish from the first Saw but Saw IV doesn't bring anything new. It sticks to its prequel. We get to see the same scenes (flashbacks), the same places and again we face those Jigsaw traps that never seem to end. I think that we all know by now what Jigsaw really wants and how we are supposed to play. But the detectives and agents seem to lack intelligence and don't listen to his rules. That's how we face again the catastrophe of this spectacle. We also get to see a bit of John's past and his ex-wife, Jill. I thought she was there to reveal something new about John but she never does.

Actually, Saw IV offers quite a lot, many traps, many people who got into them, many stories and also a lot of blood and violence. The truth is, I don't want to see those things anymore. I have already seen all of that in Saw III. It's like the creators of the movie are falling with every sequel deeper and deeper into meaninglessness. They have forgotten a long time ago about the meaning of this whole thing and rather decided to focus on blood and violence. Too bad the team Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the founders of Saw, does not any longer exist. Nothing can save Saw anymore.

But the director Darren Lynn Bousman keeps on trying, which is actually a big plus. He really can create the atmosphere that fits best to the movie.

I have also nothing against the new actors that appear in Saw IV, p.e. Costas Mandylor and Scott Patterson, who played really professionally for those two roles that they got.

I guess I still hope that they will save Saw, because I'm a big fan, although I already assume that the situation is hopeless. They have sunk too deep.

Good luck with the next sequel. You will definitely need it.

7/10

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66 out of 109 people found the following review useful:

Do you Saw what I Saw?

5/10
Author: Shingle from United Kingdom
1 November 2007

Without a doubt, Saw has become an absolute phenomenon. I find it quite impressive how a small $1 million horror film garnered strong word of mouth and made it big, spawning a franchise which has become Lionsgate Films' yearly bread and butter. I've really enjoyed the Saw films and have been there since the beginning, viewing the first film on opening day in the UK. It was refreshing to see something original and to my surprise, the sequel, Saw II was just as good. However, the third instalment (still good) showed signs of clutching at straws.

SWAT Commander Rigg (Lyriq Bent) has become obsessed with finding Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), particularly since his fellow officers have died via his sadistic games. However, Jigsaw finds Rigg and has him play his own game. With two of his colleagues, Officer Matthews and Hoffman (Donnie Wahlberg, Costas Mandylor) held captive in one of Jigsaw's traps, Rigg has 90 minutes to try and find them. Meanwhile FBI Agents Strahm and Perez (Scott Patterson, Athena Karkanis) question Jigsaw's ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell) in an effort to uncover Jigsaw's mysterious accomplice.

Saw IV is a sequel that is struggling to stay consistent with the numerous plot strands and filling up of plot holes. It almost feels like an extreme connect the dots puzzle as one tries to piece together all the characters and incidents from the previous instalments. Even when watching it, I could already imagine Internet forums swarming with hundreds of questions.

What made the first film so unique was that the victims are often people who essentially deserved to be punished, be they drug dealers or con artists frantically trying to save themselves from the macabre situation they were in. With Jigsaw as judge, jury and executioner, do we as an audience side with his objective, or do we sympathise with the wrongdoing victim during their last few seconds before they die a fantastic death? As the sequels have progressed, saving oneself appears to have been completely abandoned, for in the third instalment as well as this one, some victims simply have to wait to depend upon someone to help them. Also some supposedly innocent (?) people are dragged in (the guy with his eyes sewn shut is involved in the film's best trap, but who the hell was he?), while some injured victims are merely swept aside and we never know if they live or die.

In an effort to try and make a bigger sequel, games are no longer in one confined space, but set in different locations across the city, pushing 'suspension of disbelief' to the limit. For example, Rigg's apartment is turned upside-down within a matter of minutes, with blood on the walls, pictures hanging from the ceiling and how someone managed to get a scalping chair up there without anyone noticing is beyond me! Some may like the distancing from the previous movies, but for me this is a slight shift towards conventional slasher movies.

Acting wise, it's rather mediocre. Apart from Tobin Bell, quite a bankable name now because of the Saw franchise, a number of small stars litter the film and help keep the costs down. For me, the only other name that stands out is Donnie Wahlberg, and even he is somewhat wasted.

As expected, it's reliant on flashbacks, some of which made me feel like I was watching a soap opera rather than a horror. However director Darren Lynn Bousman does fulfil on account of gore, pushing Saw IV with 'in-your-face' violence and close ups that probably wouldn't have passed through the BBFC with an uncut 18 certificate five years ago.

If you've been following the franchise then you can't help but be roped along for the ride. I certainly was. For something that was written, shot, edited and practically gift-wrapped all inside one year, it still works. It's just a shame that what was once so original three years ago now feels stale with hardly anything new to offer. Hell, there aren't even any jumpy moments! Given the rush-job nature at dishing out sequels, maybe they'll have more fun at turning it into some kind of weekly/monthly TV series.

I really do hope that this is the last one, because really now, enough is enough. But as Jigsaw says, "the games have just begun."

Rating – five out of ten.

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104 out of 188 people found the following review useful:

Let's hope the games never end

7/10
Author: IamtheRegalTreatment from United States
25 October 2007

Will it ever end? I don't know, but after this one, I'm eager for more still! I know what you're thinking, it's been overdone. I admit that it's your opinion and you can judge the series after three movies, but you don't close the book on the 3rd movie when the story is "just beginning".

Should you bother seeing this movie if you haven't seen the other Saw movies? No. What if you like gore and suspense... sure. But this movie is strictly for the Saw fans who have seen the first three and followed every step and hint, otherwise it's a big waste of time. The only thing that helps those people is that every Saw movie shows flashbacks. Honestly though, it's not as useful as seeing them to begin with.

Now to the movie...

This was the first Saw movie that was not written by Leigh Whannel. Is this a problem? I don't really think so. Saw IV was just as riveting and plot-detailed as the first three. I watched the movie tonight with 2 friends in a closed theatre, and we were all talking during the entire movie asking each other questions and trying to figure out the plot. I feel bad for the massive amounts of people cramming the theatre on opening night; there's going to be so much talking, it will be unbearable to follow. "Who's that guy?" "Do you think he really died?" "I bet he's playing a game as well". Not so much fun.

Let me be completely honest about this movie, and that will be all for me. There were many twists and turns, all what we hoped for. The details are superb; everything clicked and was managed well. Most of all, the gore, violence and games were top notch. I was stunned at how amazing the tests were... seriously. It was a joy to watch.

Completely entertaining. If you liked the first Saws, then you will not want to miss this one. 7 out of 10. In my opinion, it was better than Saw III, but slightly below Saw II... and of course, not near the original. But still, Saw IV was brilliant.

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