Sunday, 23 February 2014

Saw V (2008)

"They're connected. So in the end all of the pieces will fit together."

Veteran readers of this blog will recall that I blogged the first four of these films four years ago, and rather enjoyed the intricate plotting and clever final reveals that these films have always had. But I always had my qualms, being of a somewhat liberal bent, as to whether John Kramer's brutal attitude to law and order was endorsed by the authorial voice. I finally stopped watching, though, after the gore went a little too far. I'm not very squeamish, but I have my limits.

Still, it's time to return to the final few films in the series, starting with this one: I hate to leave a job unfinished. And it's a good 'un; the plotting is as intricate and superb as ever, with a cruel twist at the end in which Strahm not only dies horribly but is framed for Hoffman's crimes. It was surprisingly good to get back into this series of films; the familiar Twisted Pictures logo put a huge smile on my face.

We begin with a typical torture puzzle from Jigsaw, the details of which, I think, we shall draw a veil over. The difference, of course, is that he does what's required and dies anyway, as it is Hoffman, not Kramer, who is in charge. Crucially, those who, like myself, see absolutely no moral difference between Hoffman and Kramer. They're just different types of psychopath.

Strahm, the poor bloke, is certainly warned from the start not to enquire further, but he is certainly the good guy here. Sadly, though, he's no match for the late, evil, clever Jigsaw, whose control over his intricate plans, and indeed his wife, extend well beyond death. He reminds me very much, I think, of Ian Brady. It seems absurd that the films can continue on and on after the demise of the central character, but they do, and it never feels silly.

Mark Hoffman, meanwhile, is praised and promoted, the smug bastard. At least we know, even at this point, that he will eventually get his brutal comeuppance. We see flashbacks to his first meeting with Kramer, and everything is neatly retconned for him to have been Jigsaw's accomplice all the time. There is a discussion about "ethics" between these two evil men, as Kramer is under delusions that he is somehow less evil; he rages against a "corrupt legal system that puts murderers back on the streets" but, rather revealingly, conspicuously fails to give a monkeys about the wrongfully convicted.

The film centres around an intricate, sadistic trap for a group of people involved in corruption surrounding a building that proved to be a death trap, one if whom is Julie Benz from Angel. It's a clever sequence, in which it is their failure to work together, as intended, which dooms them; the Saw franchise is back on form.

I must say that Strahm's eventual death is needlessly horrific, but this is bloody good. I hope this standard can be kept up.


  1. I gave up after Saw III. I just found that one particularly mean-spirited. Have been interested in some of the reviews since and come to the conclusion maybe Saw V would have been the right note to end it on with Hoffman getting the perfect getaway. What I heard about 6 and 7 was that 7 sucked (Cinema Snob's review was brilliant, nailing how stupid it was to have its conman victim who decided "okay I'm going to pretend to be a Jigsaw victim- a guy who kidnaps people and puts them in traps for being corrupt..... Did it EVER occur to you he MIGHT come after you!?" ), but 6 apparently had an 'interesting' social/political conscious angle in being about Jigsaw going after corrupt Health care insurance people for denying certain vulnerable people their needed care....

    Which just strikes me as utterly moronic. How in the hell is Jigsaw, a serial killer and torturer supposed to be any champion for the greater health of the country's population?

    1. I couldn't agree more. Jigsaw is no hero, just another sociopath. Interesting comments on the last two films- I've seen them and made my notes. They'll be up shortly!