Saw V

November 5 2008 at 6:47 pm (Cinema reviews)

34145Another Halloween, another Saw film and, yes, they’re getting worse. Once again rewriting the events of the previous four films, it’s as if each film’s writer thinks they can do a better job than their predecessor. They can’t.


As in previous outings, flashbacks merge with present day scenes to create a story so headache-inducingly complex that you quickly decide to ignore the plot and focus on the blood. So although John Kramer died two films ago, here he is again, talking with that low gravelly voice in dark grotty rooms about what it means to be alive. As if he’d know. Anyway, you get to join characters new and old in a magical trip through intricately boobie trapped rooms and hear them discuss what horrible things they’ve done to get there.


Saw V lacks what made the first film so good – focus. You get so bored trying to keep up with the various scenarios and time frames that you no longer care that everyone’s expendable. Goodie, baddie, it doesn’t matter; just so long as they get it in a particularly grisly fashion. In fact, you wait so anxiously for the next blood-splattered money shot that you ignore the apparent ‘moral’ behind their demise. The cautionary tale of the first outing has developed into little more than a series of horrific sketches – it’s like You’ve Been Framed for gore lovers.


The torture is no longer about teaching sinners the value of life. The only lesson to be learned here is how to act. If there’s some kind of class for the portrayal of unimaginable agony, none of the cast attended. The traps are particularly gruesome, as you’d expect, but many of the victims appear to be receiving little more than paper cuts. What’s more, the rules of many of these ‘games’ are so deliberately misleading that escape is rarely down to a relentless desire to live, but to being good with puzzles.


‘You won’t believe how it ends,’ reads the tagline. Are we really supposed to believe that this series is ever going to end? Not only does the film ask more questions than it answers (it’s much more open to sequels than previous films), but with each film running in parallel with previous films, adding more and more overlapping layers, this franchise can only get bigger, longer and more mind-bogglingly confusing. Saw VI is apparently mooted for next Halloween, but I shan’t be watching. I seem to remember saying that a year ago though. Maybe this pointless agony is addictive.


Rating: 2/5


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