Now that my post film festival hiatus is complete time to get back to business…
Let me start off by saying I walked into “Saw V” without seeing “Saw IV”. Not that it really mattered, having seen the first three films I pretty much knew what to expect….or at least so I thought. Like many in the fairly packed theatre, I was expecting to see people getting tortured in horrific, and outlandishly elaborate, ways. This is a horror film after all. Sadly, first time director David Hackl seems to have forgotten “the horror” aspect in this movie. Instead of the usual “Saw” chills, we get is a lot of expository dialogue that answers questions which hardly anyone was asking. There is so much talking in this movie that I actually started to wonder if sitting through “High School Musical 3” would provide more bang for my horror buck.
The movie follows Agent Strathm (Scott Patterson) as he tries to piece together how Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) was so successful in orchestrating the murders in the previous films. Did Jigsaw have an accomplice that the police were not aware of? As Agent Strathm’s obsession with finding the truth grows, so does his suspicion of those working around him. This includes Agent Hoffman (Costa Mandylor) who, like Strathm, was trapped in Jigsaw’s house of horrors. Yet, unlike Strathm, Agent Hoffman seems to have survived without any significant injuries. Is Hoffman really a suspect? Or is Jigsaw leading Strathm into a greater trap? To top it all off, there is also a sub-plot surrounding a group of people (Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Carlo Rota, etc.) trapped in Jigsaw’s fun house of terror. Why are they there? Will they survive? Chances are good that you probably will not care either way by the mid-point film.
“Saw V” feels like a straight to DVD movie released on the big screen. The whole production feels like it has incurred major budget cuts. Jigsaw’s traps in this movie are far from elaborate, and they overuse the “pipe-bomb” stuff to death. Agent Strathm and Agent Hoffman practically look identical in the first twenty minutes of the movie. A mere bandage is all that is used to tell them apart. While the film touches on the four movies that preceded it, this does nothing to enhance the overall story. While I personally felt that the franchise started to lose steam with “Saw III”, there was still enough gore in that film to satisfy even the most causal horror fan. At the end of the day “Saw V” is nothing more than a film that one big prologue to “Saw 6”. Yet after sitting through the abnormal amount of dialogue in this movie, one wonders if there is any blood left in the veins of this franchise.