Monday, 26 November 2012

Saw IV (2007)

“You think it’s over, but the games have just begun…”

John Kramer is dead. Very dead. So dead, in fact, that the film begins with his autopsy. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve heard the last of Jigsaw. Things have been set in motion from beyond the grave, and an unsuspected individual is carrying on the nastiness.

This film covers some edgier themes than its predecessor, but in spite of some extreme gore it doesn’t feel as sadistic, perhaps because of these themes. There’s a slightly stronger focus (relatively speaking) on character, with even John himself being given some greater depth in flashback, not that his past remotely justifies his actions, of course. Nevertheless, Tobin Bell is excellent as ever.

As before, a supporting character in previous films (in this case Officer Rigg) is promoted to a starring role because of the disturbingly high death count amongst his colleagues. Intricate and sadistic situations happen. There is blood. There is suffering, much of vaguely ironic. You know the drill by now. The references to previous filmed are becoming increasingly intricate, as are the concluding revelations. The “everything you think you know is wrong” factor gets bigger and bigger with each entry in the series.

And yet… well made though this is, and less gory than its predecessor (that, of course, is a relative statement!), the very serious themes leave a bad taste in the mouth. Child abuse and miscarriage are used, without much in the way of subtext, to titillate, and this makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

Time for an extended break from the Saw films, methinks. I’ll eventually be back to do the rest.

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