Saw IV Review
As regular an occurrence now as Halloween itself, a new Saw movie is now something of an annual event in cinemas, despite the law of diminishing returns kicking in some time ago and turning an original and disturbing first movie into a lurid and somewhat pointless franchise. At the end of the last movie our antihero, Jigsaw, was killed but that hasn’t stopped him returning from beyond the grave to torture more unsuspecting victims in the fourth, and most disappointing, instalment.
The film begins with a five minute autopsy scene, as Jigsaw is systematically cut to pieces on a morgue table. If your stomach can make it through this scene then you have nothing to worry about for the next 90 minutes as this is as gory as it gets. We see every inch of flesh as it is cut, drilled, sawed and ripped open, and this could very well be a metaphor for the whole film. Saw IV is not out to scare you. Like all the recent, so called, torture porn films its primary objective is to horrify and disgust you. It dares you to look at the screen and you can bet that the film makers would only really be happy if the audience is either vomiting onto the person in front of them or covering their eyes in disgust. The makers of this, and all the other films of its ilk, have no idea how to really scare an audience only how to try and shock. What they seem to have lost sight of is that we have seen almost everything that could possibly be shown on screen now and we are almost immune to it. We watch these scenes and try to second guess what they are going to do next, whereas we should be cowering in our seats terrified of what is going to happen next. The sooner these new young directors realise that less is more, the better for the cinema going public.
Anyway, back to Saw IV. The plot, for anyone that interested, is a real mess. A new cassette is found in Jigsaw’s stomach that leads a whole new team of police to enter his very own torture garden. These are the kind of devices Heath Robinson might have dreamt up if he had been partial to mind altering drugs, and it’s hard to work out quite how Jigsaw could afford to build them, and where he found the time. I kept thinking that if only he had redirected his obviously imaginative streak he could have created a theme park for sadists that, with the right marketing, could have been hugely successful.
The film plays fast and loose with time lines, which means you are never really sure if you are in the past or the present and characters from previous episodes reappear for no apparent reason other than they weren’t killed before, so maybe the audience are expecting them. From Saw III Angus Macfadyen pops up near the end only to meet a gruesome end, and Donnie Wahlberg from part two finds himself in a looked room with a noose round his neck standing on a block of slowly melting ice. Why? I have no idea. By the end of it all I was as confused as I was at the start. I can’t tell you if Jigsaw is really dead because the writers never really make it clear. Maybe that’s not him on the autopsy table, maybe one of the other characters was him all along, maybe there’s a decent film in here trying to get out. Who knows? Answers to these questions will be gratefully received. One thing is for sure and that is we haven’t seen the last of Saw. The end clearly sets it up for part five. See you next Halloween for more of the same. Confused? You will be after the next episode of Saw.