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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In what is only the fifth film of the Saw series released over its five
year Halloween run at the box office, this latest installation suffers
from the same detrimental qualities that made number four slightly
disappointing for fans and casual audiences alike. Making his
directorial debut here, all eyes are cast upon David Hackl to see if he
can either bring something new, or at least keep the momentum going for
the popular franchise. The good news for some is that Saw V feels
natural and consistent to its recent predecessors helmed by Bousman,
yet for many others this won't be something to get excited about.
Insofar as the movie itself goes; this is mostly typical Saw material
throughout, going through the motions almost. This of course will
please those looking for a continuation of the previous instalments,
but it will undoubtedly feel too stagnant and jaded to interest anyone
else. Nevertheless, for his first feature film at the reins, Hackl
proves he can live up to Bousman's style that has been engrained in the
series thus far, creating yet another engaging and loyal sequel that
will be sure to cater to those craving more twisted games.
For many fans and casual watchers of the series, Saw figuratively died when lead character and focus for the film Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) eventually succumbed to his cancer in film number three. Yet just as instalment IV managed to incorporate the mastermind into its story, as does V in the same manner; through flashbacks. Playing a game of two sides and narratives that eventually collide, Saw V first and foremost continues on where we left from IV, detailing the continuation of Jigsaw's work through forensics expert Hoffman and how he eventually has to tie up all loose ends regarding the deaths of those in III and IV. This narrative, although a little tiresome in its approach of filling in every detail and hole in previous features, nevertheless provides as the real meat of the script. Characters are again rather shallow, and motives are less than clear, yet much of this goes out the window when Mr. Bell graces the screen with his presence. As he has proved time and time again, it is within the character of Jigsaw that Saw's real heart lays, and with plenty of reminiscing going on here in regards to numbers I-IV, there's enough material and characterisation work here to satisfy hardcore fans of the series.
On the other side of the pitch however is a much less character/dialogue driven narrative which focuses solely on another unlucky five as they work their way through the latest of Jigsaws traps, this time set up by successor Hoffman. For those who attend screenings of the latest Saw movies only to watch people get their comeuppance through a series of bloody and grisly tests, then this will be where your thirst is quenched. Taking on a tone that is strikingly similar to instalment two, the challenges presented here are graphic and extremely cerebral, shot in the same berserk ways so far explored in the series (although, the blending scene segment style incorporated in IV is gone) which add to the movie's intense ability to draw you in.
A consistently forceful element of the series, cinematographer David A. Armstrong here follows the movie's mantra of "don't fix what isn't broke", and the film's sense of coherency and embodiment of the script's themes works just as well here as it did in previous features. Sure enough, Saw wouldn't be Saw without its morally challenging undercurrent squirming underneath all the corpses and violence, and in this regard V does well to incorporate the same subtext. Of course as has been the case with all the sequels thus far, the message isn't quite as clear here as it was in the original, and the ideas always seem to be justifying the gore rather than the other -more appropriate- way around, but there's enough here to stop the whole ordeal boiling down to a silly slasher flick with no fibre to it at all.
Needless to say there are many audiences out there who outwardly oppose everything the Saw series stands for, be it involving the gore, the message, or just the tacky horror-movie-sequel feel in general. Yet as I have been witness to many the genre has to offer so far this year I can safely say that while Saw V is by no means a masterpiece nor as significant as its first production, it still beats out most of the competition by quite some distance.
In the end, the entire ordeal feels more like an add-on; a tid-bit of flavour designed to tie up the loose ends left dangling from all the other features, and in this respect V will feel a little underwhelming; even to rabid fans of the series. And yet, it's the fans that will make up most of Saw V's audience. I recommend V, but only to fans, and only because there's hope that VI (which the door is left wide open to here) might get the ball rolling again and begin to tell a new story. So by all means, if you can appreciate the series' unmatched ability to make you squirm, to have you question your moral code, and to fascinate you with its lurid, engrossing world made of cogs, puzzle pieces and of course, saws, then you can't go wrong here. Saw V is everything that fans of the series as a whole will want, but a lack of progression in narrative and its disregard for relevancy to anyone outside of its core audience inevitably cuts it short; not enough for anyone else, but fans should enjoy it for the most part.
- A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
I watched Saw V with a good opening night crowd here in Sydney. I've
enjoyed all of the Saw films, predictably liking some episodes a lot
more than others, and Saw V is, again, very watchable, with some
intense moments and no shortage of grisliness. But I'd still say it's
the weakest entry in the series to date. The trouble is that the main
narrative addition for this episode, which has to sustain half the
running time, turns out to be a dramatically weak one. I don't think a
Saw film ever previously failed to create excitement or new meaning via
one of its big twisty revelations, but Saw V's add next to nothing. The
knowledge gained doesn't force any re-evaluation of the past events it
concerns; you just see and know a bit more about them, and to no great
effect, except for the fact that Tobin Bell's performance is always
compelling, maybe even more so when he's talking to people who aren't
stuck in Jigsaw's deathtraps.
The Saw films have demonstrated an unfeasibly high success rate over time in terms of pulling off twist after twist and having them nearly all hit home. With this track record, it seems inevitable that there'd be a significant stumble at some point. They've never been bulletproof films (and thrillers are the genre that are hardest to bulletproof), but I'd say Saw V is definitely the stumble. In spite of this, it still keeps in enough with the series in general for me to be ready for Saw VI in 2009 - which I hope will be better work.
To say the least, I was NOT disappointed. I enjoyed the film as much as
I thought I would. Going in, I had some doubts, what with a new
director and this being a fifth installment in a horror series (they
usually start sucking by the 3rd).
As soon as the opening credits start, you can already tell that a different director had his hands on the project. Acceptence doesn't take long to sink in though. As expected, the film meets the typical Saw requirements. Multiple traps and more revealing back-story.
Simply put, Saw V should not disappoint the loyal Saw fan. I know I'll be back for the next installment with bells on.
Seeing that this is the fifth film, you simply MUST see 1-4 in order to truly understand all the flashbacks. I don't want to give anything away, so all I will say is this: The very last trap in this film is one of my new favorites. . .
The Saw series has always been a standard of sorts. After what I felt
was an iconic debut, the series has always remained consistently
interesting, with one of the most compelling and ever expanding plots
in film history. People may complain that the series is in decline, but
what people need to realize is that each part is astronomically better
than the corresponding parts of other horror series (for example, Saw
IV is better than Halloween IV, or the 4th Nightmare on Elm Street
film). The same holds true for Saw V, though the film definitely shows
that the series is in decline and needs to end soon before it descends
into pure absurdity.
A universal truth of the Saw series is that every entry, no matter who does it, will always be well written and contain a plot twist or two at the end. Again, Saw V continues the tradition of revealing the 'huge' (if you could call it that) twist whilst "Hello Zepp" by Charlie Clouser plays in the background. The film answers as many questions as it raises, and serves as more of an origin movie, like Saw IV did. Only this time, the origin doesn't focus on John Kramer/Jigsaw, and therein lies the problem.
Why does Saw V fail to impress me? Simple. Not enough Jigsaw. Tobin Bell, who has managed to create an iconic villain over the last 5 years, delivers another sublime performance that is not to missed in the world of horror as perhaps the greatest villain of the decade. It really amazed me how Saw IV had the best acting of the series, but just one movie later, pretty much every performer falls flat on their face. This is especially sad considering most of the cast are returning characters, except your typical "why is this happening to me! AHHH!" type characters (which got unbearably annoying, considering they killed off the two least annoying ones first). Meagan Good and Costas Mandylor are acceptable in their roles, however.
Back to the lack of Jigsaw. Tobin Bell really doesn't physically appear that much in the movie, and that is far and away its biggest flaw. The film is similar to Saw II more than the others. To get my drift a little better, imagine the second film, except reduce Jigsaw's screen time by about half. Yeah. This is the only weakness of the screenplay for me, which appears to have matured from the over the top torture porn in Saw III and the ridiculous attempt to run Saw IV concurrently with its predecessor. The film's biggest flaw is in the acting and lack of Jigsaw. Besides this, I really felt that it fit the mold as a worthy entry to the series.
After watching this, however, I no longer feel that Saw is the standard of excellence in horror as it once was. That said, the film has the advantage of being short and never dragging. It's well paced and will more than deliver the thrills. Another thing I feel obligated to mention is that this is the least scariest film in the series, which is okay, because unlike every other cheap horror film, Saw V doesn't try to be scary. It's more of a thriller with some gruesome images (like the first film) than a full blown horror movie (like parts II & III).
In the end, what it comes down to as far as your ability to enjoy the movie, you have to ask yourself this question: "why do I watch the Saw series?". If you watch it for the story and plot twists, you should be at least satisfied, if not entertained. If you watch the series for pure shock and awe and disgust, you'll be disappointed, because Saw V does not try to be a horror film outside of a few scenes. It's a decent entry to the series that is tolerable, despite a lack of the iconic Jigsaw, horrid acting, and a somewhat predictable plot twist (easily the most predictable of the series).
Given that the Saw films are notable for their unexpected plot twists,
the fact that this was the most predictable one makes it difficult to
see why it scored the "You won't believe how it ends" tagline.
Otherwise, it's decent. It blows Saw III out of the water, but I don't
feel it really compares to the other three. I can appreciate that
they're trying to bring it back to what the original was all about; a
brilliant plot with a couple of gory scenes (the previous two have been
somewhat gore-laden with little story for my liking), the problem
being, unfortunately, that the plot is fairly weak. The intensity of
the torture scenes is greatly increased, though, by the rest period
As a horror film, this works, but don't expect Saw - and don't expect to be blown away by the ending, because it is nothing special. That said, if you're addicted to the Saw saga as so many of us are, there's no harm in going out to see it.
Like everyone else, I was expecting this movie to live up to the hype
and be absolutely horrible. Since though I have seen SAW I-IV, I had to
go see this at the midnight showing. What started it off, I was already
impressed with that I saw. As the movie was going forward it was hard
to tell how it would all add up. By the end though I was expecting to
be disappointed and it really did not.
While SAW fans will appreciate this, it really depends on what you like. If you are expecting a SAW II - III where it is mainly gore and such, maybe not so much. If you are like the few who want to know more about the story, then it is a must to see this.
Now while every question is not answered, it makes up for it in its own ways. Do not be like me or most of the people who were hesitant to see this film due to people not enjoying it. I think many people would be surprised on just how great this film really is. To me, it was the best since the first one, despite the weak twist and sometimes cheesy kills. Then again, name a film that has been perfect because everyone has a fault.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of all the SAW films so far this has to be the worst! Where all the
others had twists you could never see coming or endings that nearly
everyone was shocked by this film was a massive letdown.
There was no imagination going into the traps in this film. They were nearly all as gruesome as possible with no real thought going into making them all seem different. They just seemed like nothing made any of them different or original.
The size of some of the contraptions were ridiculous and totally unrealistic to have been made by any less than a team of probably half a dozen engineers. The SAW films have gone from being shocking but realistic situations like two men handcuffed to radiators in a room to completely far fetched unrealistic situations.
As a huge fan of the series of films I was bitterly disappointed when the credits started to role and I just sat there thinking "was that it?!" Honestly this will ruin everything you love about the SAW films, if you love the rest then go and see it just to say you've seen it and so you can just get the tiny little bit of the story this film adds to. If you've never seen any SAW films before go and see ANYTHING but this film.
I know this just sounds like a rant about how much I hated this film but if you've seen the rest, go and see it and I really think you'll agree with what I'm saying. Shockingly bad is my final thought! a real letdown in every way!
After so many sequels, one should expect a series to be driven to the
ground. Although it's getting a bit tiring, Saw fans, & for that
matter, fans of gore, shouldn't be disappointed with the fifth movie.
Saw 5 still follows the same routine of the cat and mouse game... but
of course, as always, telling you too much of the plot is a ruining the
game for you. Let's keep it at the thin plot description already given:
a detective goes out of his way to make sure that his secret is kept,
before an agent uncovers his identity. The subplot involves 5
individuals who are somehow connected, and must work their way out of
The traps still prove to be especially cruel, perhaps a little too cruel, but even that is worked into the story. It involves quite a bit of the past, much like Saw 4, it will give you more of the origin of the characters, whether it's needed or not. Minimizing flashbacks, it instead will fill in a number of plot and character holes.
This is David Hackl's directional debut. Considering he's been around since Saw 2 as production designer, this is a solid step forward. There's no doubt that these somehow ingenious, if not over the top story lines that interconnect were made up well after the fact, but that doesn't change the fact that the scriptwriters were keen on at least making an effort to do exactly that. Tie things in, making the package look neater, & hoping you don't think about it too much that you start to see the implausibility of it all.
If you have not seen the previous Saw's, you will be lost here, as you will be left with confusing tie in's and past incidents that mesh too well with the present. It's just not kind to new viewers.
All in all, I can't complain about Saw 5, because I got exactly what I expected. Clever, deadly traps, uncomfortable situations, & of course, the "twist" at the end. There's no denying that one particular actor that's been in all the Saw's is especially good at what he does.
For the most part, I would suggest waiting for a rental. I think that some viewers may grow tired of the series because it comes out every year. The nature of an audience viewing sequels is that it dwindles in number over time, as "sequelitis" sets in. But if you enjoyed the previous Saws & all their abusive, bloody, cruel, & heartless drama, you don't need me to suggest anything to you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**Review Written With Possible Spoilers** So i just saw Saw 5. And how
to sum it up.. I think my brother summed it up best as "One long ass
prologue for Saw 6."
Now i remember the first saw being one of the best films I've ever seen. Saw 2 was a major let down to me.. it was just too random and didn't have the calculated brilliance of Saw 1. Saw 3, i actually didn't mind, just because i found it more interesting then Saw 2. Saw 4 was pushing it but i kept on watching just cause all the little questions that had built up over the series had to be answered otherwise i couldn't sleep at night..
So we come to Saw 5... And what HUGE revelation do we get in this movie? ...... Well... actually we don't get one. Oh sure there is the back story of how Hoffman became the new saw killer.. But its so cheesy that a 6th grader could've strung it all together. And the story isn't...well...Good... There is no twist (none... NONE..).. And the entire movie we just see an agent going from scene to scene of the old Jigsaw crimes.. and somehow imagining how they all happened... by just standing there (and self narrating the past events..). There is a sub plot involving a bunch of 5 other subjects.. but if you don't pick how that ends after jigsaws "i wanna play a game rant" Then you've obviously never watched a saw movie. (**major spoiler** -also the 5 people in that subplot game didn't seem to mind killing each other at any given chance as well.. Not to mention it was random as.. the literally just turn on each other without giving reason.. then at the end instead of killing each other they decide to work together... it didn't really fit with the characters that we had been shown through the movie... Im surprised that the guy didn't shove the girls arm into the trap after finding out she was the one who set him up for the murder of the 8 people.. He just goes "Its your fault I'm here... But hey.. lets work together... Umm... OK...).
OK.. So lets ignore the terrible story that doesn't go anywhere (not to mention the B grade acting..) So we come to the traps... Saw 3 + 4 mainly rode on the fact that the traps got more and more gore filled then the original first movies.. And that helped carry them a bit since the story was semi lacking... So I'm confused why every trap in this movie... Is... Well lame.. We see a guy get sliced in half lamely.. A girl lose her head.. Some dude blown away without seeing anything.. Girl stabbed in the neck.. and a couple of people bleed a little out of their arms (probably the most violent scene in the movie..) Maybe the other titles have desensitized me to gore and violence.. But it was all quite tame in comparison.
Plus the lame attempt to fill half the movie with Flashbacks just to have jigsaw in the movie (while its nice to see Mr Tobin again..) just seemed like a massive time filler... Which sums this movie up nicely. Its just a filler. No questions are answered in this one... Apparently there is some huge underlining plot that we still aren't privvy to because the producers want to milk it for all its worth for at least another sequel. And you know what.. I'll see the damn sequel just cos i want to see how the series ends.. Which we all know is going to end with Hoffman getting killed by Gordan who will be the final new Jigsaw. We all know thats where its heading.... ;)
Being a huge Saw fan I can say without a doubt I look forward to each and every offering but this years installment was by far the worst of the bunch. I never claim Saw movies feature terrific acting( besides 1 and 3) but 5 featured some atrocious performances. On one hand you have the wooden Strahm who is literally dictating his thought to... well no one, on the other is Julie Benz, normally a fine actress in Dexter, spouting of ridiculous lines that sound meant for trailers (ex. " It's our next nightmare"). On top of that the movie is just full of sloppy film-making. Let's start with Strahm, he's just unnecessary, he seems only to be there as a vessel to fuel the flashbacks. On to the main trap, The best of the characters is killed in just the second room. Why did they even have to kill him? He was savvy and sharp but I guess the director just wanted to remove all intelligence from this movie. Finally the ending. This might be the worst evidence of a cash-grab I have ever seen. There was no ending, as my friend put it " It's like they ran out of ideas for 6 movies so they cut five in half", and thats really how it felt, INCOMPLETE.
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