SAW-TOBER PART 05: SAW V [2008]

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Another day, another SAW movie. If you were not aware or are just joining me, there are seven of them – with an eighth coming next year – and I intend on reviewing each one. Why? Because I feel like, for the most part, they’re enjoyable films. With yesterday’s post being about one of my favorites in the franchise, lets talk about it’s specific sequel: SAW V and while its not terrible, it is certainly not “good.”

Like the other films before, SAW V begins with a slighter more “extreme” trap, killing one of Jigsaw’s victims in one of his more elaborate traps, although there is one major difference.. this time, the victim of the trap actually does what is required to free himself, which was crushing his own hands into a crippled and broken state. But for some reason, the trap doesn’t stop! The victim is still executed, and the message is made clear: this isn’t the same Jigsaw killer we’ve been exposed to in previous SAW movies.. why should it be, though? Don’t forget, the “real” Jigsaw was killed two movies ago, and while SAW IV managed to tell a pretty good story, SAW V doesn’t do it quite as well.

Beginning with SAW III, each chapter of the franchise has given us more insight, exposing more about the Jigsaw killer, giving a pretty decent backstory on Tobin Bell’s popular character within the last movie. With the initial killer pretty much fully explored [and explained] at this point, it’s time for some new blood/someone new. The story of SAW V gives us Detective Hoffman, the only surviving character from the previous movies, into the role of yet another of Jigsaw’s helpers. You read that correctly – the one remaining cop was playing for the bad guys all along. [Because of course he was..] In order to prove this to us, the movie begins to show a flash course history lessons in the previous story lines that try, but don’t really “fit” very well and feels more like it’s cheating; we are basically seeing the stories we’ve already seen before, with Hoffman squeezed in, instead of developing something new entirely..

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It’s just that the whole thing just isn’t given to the viewer very well. In the case of the other SAW movies, I had no trouble following the overall story arc. [How each one fits as a whole] And even though I’ve seen SAW IV, I had trouble figuring out just how SAW V tied into the franchise through the movie. Sure we see Hoffman, and where he has been during the last films, but then why does SAW V feel like a piece of a completely different puzzle? It’s convoluted and sloppy story-telling, and by superimposing Hoffman into previous scenes, it feels almost lazy. Surely I am not alone in feeling this way, right? [Maybe this is why I never liked Detective Hoffman as a character!]

Looking at SAW V as it’s own thing, it doesn’t really work well within itself. Granted, the movie does return to it’s proven formula of given us a group of people trapped inside a series of rooms, each with one of Jigsaw’s traps designed to play off their weaknesses. As the victims proceed [and y’know, die] inside, the police and FBI go through a dangerous hunt on the outside. Only this time, the two story-lines are completely unrelated.[wait, what?] Nobody is searching for these missing people, and they really aren’t linked to the other characters outside of the chamber. Hell, as far as I am aware, nobody even seems to know the five victims are even missing. That isn’t just bad story-telling, it’s a vital piece of information. This ongoing investigation in the outside world is all about Hoffman, not about any missing person cases. Because the stories are separate and barely even connect, it never manages to form a cohesive story for the movie as a whole.

Unfortunately, by the end of SAW V, it started to feel like the SAW franchise has run its course, and is now officially out of ideas of where to go next with the movie’s world. Between the broken history lessons, the disconnected story-lines, and traps that really don’t feel up to the same creative level of the previous chapters, SAW V is a disappointing addition to a franchise I used to love. Either that, or I am just bored with these films which – to a 17 year old me – sounds like blasphemy. I didn’t even mention Agent Strahm, who was the main cop chasing Hoffman. Quick adlib: he [unsurprisingly] dies at the end of this film, in the worst way you can imagine.

WHAT WILL FOLLOW FOR DETECTIVE HOFFMAN? JOIN ME TOMORROW WHEN I REVISIT THE CONTINUATION WITH: SAW-TOBER #06: SAW VI.

Now I turn to You – the reader. How did you take SAW V? What about Hoffman? Is he a worthy successor, or just a murderer? Let me know in a comment below, and if you enjoyed this review, and are looking for more, go and follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 150+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too!

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THANKS FOR READING.

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