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Saw IV (2007)

  Tags: Athena Karkanis, Betsy Russell, blood, Costas Mandylor, Darren Lynn Bousman, gore, jigsaw, Justin Louis, Lyriq Bent, Marcus Dunstan, Marty Adams, Mike Realba, Patrick Melton, saw, Scott Patterson, Simon Reynolds, Tobin Bell, torture, traps

Your rating: None Average: 7.2 (14 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
7

saw4.jpg
Rating #: 
7/10
Director: 
Darren Lynn Bousman
Runtime: 
95 minutes
Cast: 
Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Costas Mandylor, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis, Justin Louis, Simon Reynolds, Mike Realba, Marty Adams


The Saw franchise has come a long way since the first film in '04. Who knew that the surprise hit that year would bring forth sequel after sequel every year? The series resurrected the once dead horror sequel craze that was made famous in the 80's, making this essentially the modern day Friday the 13th or Halloween series, but unlike those films, the sequels didn't get worse each time (well some of the Halloween sequels were decent). At least that was the case until I watched Saw IV. I loved the first movie, while the sequel blew me away. The third film wasn't as good, but it still offered a fresh premise and delivered more background on Jigsaw. This movie was good, but it didn't seem have the edge or intelligent script like the previous installments. Sequels director Darren Lynn Bousman returns to go behind the camera after rumors of him not coming back were proven false, however, this would mark the first film where Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell would not write the script. Instead, Feast writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan would take over. Sure, Feast was a really fun and enjoyable film, but it was far from having a smart script, which is what this new sequel would call for.

So, the film starts out with the very gory autopsy of Jigaw, clearing laying out that, yes, this sucker is finally dead, but the game clearly isn't over, as it's revealed that a tape coated in wax is found in his stomach. A detective named Hoffman is called in to listen to the tape, where Jigsaw reveals that the "games have just begun," leading to our first trap involving two men chained together, which was also the clip shown at comic-con this year. This time our hero is SWAT member Rigg (Lyriq Bent) who played alongside our leads in the previous sequels. In this movie Rigg is tested by Jigsaw and is possibly in line as his next apprentice. Rigg must go to one location after the other, and hopefully eventually reaching the location of Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) from the second film, whom is proven to be still alive, and has been pronounced "missing" for 6-months by his colleagues. If Rigg doesn't complete these "tests" before 90-minutes is up, Eric will die. Driven by revenge and the urge to save everyone around him, he goes to extreme measures to complete the tasks he's given, some of which include placing victims in new traps.

Amanda (Shawnee Smith) is in a brief flashback appearance, but is otherwise not in the picture, but Jigsaw's ex-wife comes into play as a possible suspect. Through the ex we're shown even more background on Jigsaw and why he does what he does. Apparently there was more to it than simply getting cancer and surviving a car wreck. We're also shown Jigsaw's very first trap he constructed, which is revealed to be a "knife chair" and opened the door for further traps. Although this is the weakest of four films, it's still not a bad movie. The storyline wasn't as engaging, nor did I care for any of the lead characters, but the gore was high and the premise still managed to be clever. Sadly, the "twist" ending wasn't as shocking or original as I expected it to be. The gore is high (especially in the beginning) and the traps (although not as creative) still look like they hurt like hell. Yet another sequel is already in the works and a sixth (and possibly final) film will also happen. If this is any indication as to where the series is headed, things aren't looking too good, but I'm hoping this is just a minor hiccup, and things will pick up in the next two movies.

The weakest in the series in terms of story and character development. Although they managed to deliver more clever traps and lots of gore, the storyline wasn't as engaging as the other movies, and the "twist" ending wasn't nearly as shocking or original as I had hoped. Regardless, I thought it was still a good movie and another solid installment in the seemingly never-ending series.

Posted on July 3, 2009 - 12:24am | FrighT MasteR

 

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