Saw V – the review
The tagline for Saw V is “you won’t believe how it ends”. I can assure you that I knew how it would end. It was likely to end almost identically to Saw IV, Saw III, Saw II and Saw. A completely unbelievable twist occurs which makes you question whether the writers began the story with that ending in mind.
The Saw movies have entertained us every year in the Halloween period and love them or love-to-hate them they will continue to do so whilst they keep earning the big bucks. There is a problem of course with this, in that the main bad guy (Jigsaw – played by Tobin Bell) died in Saw 3. In some respects I have admired the ability to keep Tobin Bell in the series as he is without doubt the scariest character. So how does Saw V measure up now that Hoffman has taken over the bad-guy role as Jigsaw’s protégé?
Following Jigsaw's grisly demise, Mark Hoffman, the final apprentice to the serial killer is labeled a hero. Meanwhile, Agent Strahm is tested and puts the pieces together. While Strahm realizes that Hoffman is helping Jigsaw, five seemingly unconnected people face a horrible lesson about teamwork.
So the “five seemingly unconnected people” consist of a straight laced estate agent-looking woman, a man who resembles Obadiah Stane from Iron Man, a whiner, a smart lady in a tight blouse and someone so forgettable that I can’t even visualise her as I write this. Naturally, when you go to see a Saw film you expect gore and inventive traps made to make the audience squeal like 12 year old girls. Saw 3 did this well but unfortunately Saw IV; despite being inventive in its story, didn’t quite hold your attention as well as its predecessors. Saw V has a few scenes that make you squirm but not to the extent that it could have done.
As you watch Saw V, you feel that you are being set-up for a twist. The twist it seems does not occur in this movie. Sadly though, by the time that Saw VI will be on the big screen we all would have noticed the very blatant hints to relationships not yet spoken of. Indeed, the camera lingers on seemingly unnecessary items and yet if you pay attention you’ll notice that these lingering shots are necessary for the story to keep moving. What am I saying? The upcoming and quite necessary twists to explain the story in an upcoming film is simply so blatant that they might as well have placed a neon sign above relevant objects / scenes which said: “pay attention to this! It’ll be relevant in Saw 19”. Indeed the return of Jigsaw’s estranged wife and a mysterious box is shown, but not explained.
Overall Saw V was a disappointment as far as entertainment is concerned. Hoffman simply doesn’t have the onscreen presence that Tobin Bell has. Also the actor who plays Hoffman (to me) is not dissimilar to the actor who plays Strahm. So you get confused between who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy” (or at least I do). It is hard to care about the “unconnected five” when they are given less screen time than Hoffman’s tale.
With every year and every new movie in the Saw series we expect more and more shocking traps and Saw V has certainly disappointed. In its defence though, this “in-between tale” is necessary so that the story can continue in further films.
Saw V is an investment into the Saw series. It simply doesn’t entertain as much as it should, but it will help Saw VI to be more entertaining, more believable and offer much more of a payoff than without this movie. I enjoyed it to a degree and look forward to the next Saw. I can only hope that the strangely named Costas Mandylor (Hoffman) learns how to use his facial expressions better. Somehow he needs to become more menacing.
Finally the biggest letdown was the tagline. It simply shouldn’t have been “you won’t believe how it ends”. That statement implies a twist that just isn’t there. It should have been: “are you watching closely”?
3 out of 5