Finally saw all the 'Saw' films prior to seeing 'Jigsaw' (as part of my wanting to see as many 2017 films as possible this year, during a quieter and less intensive period). Heard a lot about the films, good and bad, but wanted to see them for myself to know what to expect.
The films as an overall series are a very mixed bag. The original 'Saw' had a great premise and while it was problematic it was still pretty good and one of the best in the series. 'Saw II' had its own problems but it was still one of the few follow-ups to be just as good and have what made the first click as well as it did. Things did go downhill with the overblown and confusing 'Saw III', which was suggestive of not just the novelty wearing off but done to death. 'Saw IV' was an improvement, with some elements that made the first two work evident but still perplexed. 'Saw V' unfortunately is highly suggestive of the franchise having run out of ideas, there was little need for it other than to introduce the next film and it makes pretty much all the mistakes of the third instalment and fares even worse.
'Saw V' has a few plus points. The opening trap is actually very chilling and inventive, setting a promising standard that was wasted by the rest of the film failing to live up to it. The Edgar Allan Poe references are fun, though you'd have to be familiar with his work and the works that are being referenced to get them.
Music is suitably eerie once more and that Tobin Bell does so well with the very little he's given despite being criminally underused and woefully misused is a miracle in itself.
Only Bell gives a halfway decent performance here sadly. Scott Patterson is very wooden and Costas Mandyler is bland apart from one decent scene being him and Bell. Even worse are the victims are very thinly sketched and dully acted, Julie Benz coming over as the most indifferent in terms of her character and her acting. That it is very difficult to connect with any of the characters in any shape or form (the other films do a much job even with Jigsaw, actually a very interesting villain shamefully wasted here) and that the script is perhaps the dreariest, most tired and contrived of the series works against them.
With the exception of the opening trap, 'Saw V' fails on the creepiness and suspense. There aren't the truly ingenious traps (apart from that one), just as imaginative demises or the devilishly clever twists seen with primarily the twist ending of the first. The only twist that stands out, and in a bad way, is the rather obvious ending one. The rest of the traps/torture scenes are pornographic level and go too far with the gore to the point of being gratuitous. The investigative elements are dull and not particularly mysterious, and the story is the dullest and most convoluted to the point of incoherence. The flashbacks confuse the storytelling and bog it down rather than adding much and the re-used footage of the previous films feel more like a collection of deleted scenes.
It will absolutely be a very good idea to have seen the previous films before seeing this, otherwise you'll be completely lost. From my experience though even those who have seen the previous films will find themselves scratching their heads at times. Visually, it's neither elaborate or claustrophobic, especially in the editing it just looks rushed and shoddy straight to video level. David Hackl's visual style is heavy-handed and even for a first-time director this was amateurishly inept directing.
Concluding, a weak instalments where the pieces of the puzzle don't fit together. 3/10 Bethany Cox
Action / Horror / Mystery
Action / Horror / Mystery
Detective Mark Hoffman is deemed a hero after he saves a young girl and "escapes" one of Jigsaw's games, or so it seems. Special Agent Peter Strahm is suspicious of him after his assistant Agent Lindsay Perez says Hoffman's name. While Agent Strahm looks into Detective Hoffman's past, a group of five people who helped burn a building which was supposedly abandoned, face a series of tests set up by Jigsaw.
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September 11, 2011 at 01:31 PM