SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY
SAW IV (2007)
Well, Jigsaw & Billy have whipped up some wonderful new traps for us, so now it is time to jump the blade, and continue with the awesome SAW SAGA.
THAT’S what I’m talking about, Part IV, after the death of John Kramer. I had been a tad disappointed in SAW III (2006), finding a lot of loose ends, & rough edges. Not so with this sequel; this one pulsates with passionate regenerative bloody magic. I mean, they had me with the poster, a pig-masked bitch in a red robe & spiked high heels sitting in a chair trap; oh yeah!
S A W 4
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman @ 93 minutes.
(New) Writers: Patrick Melton, & Marcus Dunstan.
This one has the largest cast yet, & the biggest return of past SAW cast members:
Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John Kramer.
Costas Mandylor as Detective Mark Hoffman.
Betsy Russell as Jill Tuck.
Lyriq Bent as SWAT LT. Dan Rigg.
Scott Patterson as FBI Agent Peter Strahm.
Athena Karkanis as FBI Agent Lindey Perez.
Donnie Wahlberg as Detective Eric Matthews.
Dina Meyer as Detective Allison Kerry.
Angus MacFadyen as Jeff Denlon.
Bahar Soomekh as Dr. Lynn Denlon.
James Van Patten as the Coroner.
Louis Ferreira as Art Blank.
Sarain Boylan as Brenda.
Billy Otis as Cecil Adams.
Marty Adams as Ivan Landness.
Cameos by J. LaRose, Noam Jenkins, Tony Nappo, Emmanuelle Vaugier.
The musical score was written/performed by iron-man Charlie Clouser.
The cinematography was done by the SAW veteran shooter, David A. Armstrong.
It’s a trap.
You think it over, but the games have just begun.
The casting agent was Stephanie Gorin, who had assisted with casting on SAW III. She did a terrific job of pulling back in actors from the first three SAW films, and finding some new blood as well
Of course, abso-damn-lutely, Tobin Bell returns as Jigsaw/John Kramer. Considering his demise at the conclusion of SAW III, it is remarkable that in this film he has more screen time than in all the other SAW features combined.
Costas Mandylor returns as Det. Hoffman; a glorified cameo in SAW III, he steps up to Center Stage in this film.
Donnie Wahlberg returned as Detective Matthews.
Betsy Russell returns as John Kramer’s ex-wife, Jill Tuck; delegated to a few flashbacks without audible dialogue in SAW III, as promised, she has a pivotal part in this movie, & others to come.
There is zero-nudity in SAW IV, which is a crying damn shame, so I found some older tit-shots of Betsy for we who must look at breasts, please.
Dina Meyer does some hanging around in the film, too.
We have exhausted those tit-shots of her in STARSHIP TROOPERS, but she is a SAW babe, so let’s gawk at bit at her anyway.
Lyriq Bent returns as SWAT commander Dan Rigg. To be fair to Bent, he has appeared in SAW (2004), SAW II (2005), & SAW III (2006), but his scenes were incidental, & I did not single him out in the last three reviews. Well, folks, this is now BENT-time, & he moves up to prime cast member in this movie. He has been in 40 film projects since the year 2000. Some of them include CRIME SPREE (2003), SAW I, II, III, & IV, FOUR BROTHERS (2005), & SKINWALKERS (2006).
Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm is new to the series. He has had 36 film projects since 1992, including A BOY CALLED HATE (1995), METH HEAD (2013) & BOYS OF ABU GHRAIB (2014).
Athena Karkanis plays Agent Lindsey Perez, & she is a babe. She has had 56 film credits since 2003, and SAW IV was her feature debut, working mostly in TV roles before that. Some of her other projects include TOMBOY (2008), SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD (2009), SAW VI (2009), THE BARRENS (2013), & all ten episodes of LOW WINTER SUN (2013).
There are no real nude shots of her that are not photo-shopped fakes, but here is a nice nipping-out shot.
Louis Ferreira plays scumbag lawyer Art Blank. He is all over the Tube with series roles, commercial voice-overs & some feature films. He has a 108 film credits, the majority of which are television roles; including SAVAGE MESSIAH (2002), DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004), SHOOTER (2007), & all 40 episodes of STARGATE: UNIVERSE (2009-2011).
Sarain Boylan had a ball playing Brenda, the poster bitch in the pig mask.
She has had 40 film credits, the bulk of it television roles, since 1996.
Some of the features included THE HOUSE (2006), GOOD COP, BAD COP (2006), FREEZER BURN (2008), DEATH WARRIOR (2009), & GANGSTER EXCHANGE (2010).
She spent a whole day in a sports push-up bra with bloody cleavage in this movie,
and I did find an early tit-shot of her from early on in her career.
Billy Otis got to play drug addict Cecil Adams; new to the series, he had a pivotal role in this movie. He’s had 53 credits since 1989, & like so many other “working actors”, the majority of his work has been on television. Features include MEN WITH GUNS (1997), LOSER (2000), LUCK (2003), BLINDNESS (2008), & SAW VI (2009).
Worked into the plot were Shawnee Smith, Angus MacFadyen, Bahar Soomekh, J. LaRose, Noam Jenkins, Tony Nappo, Marty Adams, & Emmanuelle Vaugier.
S Y N O P S I S : In TV Guide this could be one or two sentences. In most reviews you have frightened reviewers endeavoring to comment on the plot without revealing any Spoilers; what horse shit, for sure. As any of you who may have read any of my other reviewers knows, I give you a Classics Illustrated version of KING LEAR, like all the cliff notes for HAMLET. I ferret out as many of the images from the film as I can find, and copiously illustrate the “synopsis”. OK, let’s fucking get to it.
The first thing we see is that the LIONSGATE logo collage of the huge screen full of meshing gears has been altered, like those cool Warner Brothers designs for many of their features:
the Lionsgate gears, & the big metal closing gates, are all rusted over & encrusted with dripping & dried blood.
Then another sweet shot of the TWISTED PICTURES animated logo, with the barbed wire being twisted around the letters.
Opening shot, CU of John Kramer’s very pale dead foot on a shiny Coroner’s autopsy table, then the camera slowly pans up Jigsaw’s corpse (and the model looks 200% real, very spooky). This body has genitals, & who know if the fake gonads were modeled after Tobin Bell’s actual swizzel-stick & twin dick guards.
Enter the Coroner, who scrubs up, & thie puts a nice massage towel over the genitals, for modesty’s sake; & to make sure the ladies in the audience paid attention to the upcoming autopsy.
Cut to a CU of the Coroner’s tool tray, clamps, scalpels, wedges, & saws. (I note that the cinematography is rock steadicam, & crystal-clear; no hand- held shaky-assed shots so far. Here’s hoping that David A. Armstrong will be allowed to remain in this wonderful sphere of clarity–but as per the SAW track record, I fear a pathetic plethora of jump cut HH shots are lurking).
Coroner: Subject’s name is John Kramer; 52 year old male Caucasian–he’s seen better days.
An assistant appears.
Cut to a upper body profile of John, his throat brutally slashed, his head nearly severed, his skull still protruding out of his bloody hair from his brain surgery back in SAW III.
The Coroner peels back the whole scalp, flopping it over the dead eye, making note of the brain surgery.
Coroner: Jesus, some kind of fucking back-door bargain basement brain surgery.
He cuts a deep groove around the top of the skull, then using a medical chisel, he cracks open & removes the skull cap. (this all looks extremely realistic, & is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.)
They then remove the brain, & fold the face back over the empty skull like a latex Halloween mask.
Getting serious now, he slices the infamous autopsy Y into the chest,
folding back the skin like leather butterfly death wings, using a noisy bone saw to cut the rib cage & break open the chest.
(definitely, all this procedural looks wholly authentic).
Coroner: Let’s check the stomach.
—removing it & plopping it into it’s own deep silver tray. He begins to slice it open & suddenly a wax-covered cassette tape pops out.
Coroner: What the hell–get Homicide here now!
Cut to Detective Hoffman entering the Morgue door.
Hoffman: Where was it?
Coroner: Putting down his sandwich: It was in his stomach.
Cut to the past where we see Jigsaw coating the tape in wax & then forcing himself to swallow it; maybe he put vanilla in the wax.
Cut to the present, with Hoffman staring dispassionately at the freshly autopsied corpse of John lying on the table in front of him. The assistant coroner cuts the wax off the mini-cassette tape. Hoffman produces a nifty small cassette player.
(I swear those tiny cassette tapes & players were not all that common. Old Jigsaw must have purchased a hundred of them at some electronic sale).
John: Are you there, Detective Hoffman; so you are probably the last man standing–now perhaps you will succeed. I know, you feel like you have control now, don’t you? You think that you will walk away untested. But I promise you that my work will continue; that I have ensured. By hearing this tape, some will assume that this is over–but I am still among you. Do you think all this is over just because I am dead? It’s not over. The games have just began.
Cut to a very large torture room, with dusty paint-peeling 12’ pillars, and a very tall ten-paned window. A large bald man awakens in the corner. He has a long chain fastened to a locked neck collar; his bloody eyelids are sewn shut.
He struggles to his feet & begins to feel his way along the length of the chain, which the camera reveals is attached to some kind of big geared trap in the center of the room;
and we now see another man, thinner with curly black hair, chained to the opposite side.
Bald man: Who the fuck is there? Talk to me! Talk to me!
The thinner man realizes his mouth is all bloody, & his throat is full of blood, & he does not speak in response.
Cut to an overhead wide crane shot; the room seems to be a mausoleum, that the crypt-keepers have abandoned; three rows of interned caskets festoon the back wall. The big man is on the left, the thin man on the right.
Cut to the bald man flailing about, hearing a bunch of large clanging tools being shaken loose & clanging on the floor; hammers, axes, picks, large wrenches. The big man begins picking them up & tossing them in the direction of the other man.
Cut to a key dangling at the back of the bald man’s collar.
Cut to the thin man noticing this key, & then shaking the big padlock in the front of his chain collar. The bigger man begins to drag the thin man closer to the trap center; the banging chain activates a switch, & the large mechanical trap, shaped like a large cruel turnstile, begins to wrap both sides of the chain dragging the men toward the center. At first they pull against the chain, & then the thin man realizes his opponent is blind, so he picks up a large concrete sledge hammer & begins sneaking up on the brute.
Charlie Clouser’s music mimics the sound of the grinding chain.
The brute hears the other man, & they attack each other; the brute taking a blow to his shaved head, the thin man being stabbed with a cargo hook; looking very much like Brando’s longshoreman hook used in ON THE WATERFRONT (1954).
The thin man pulls the hook out of his thigh, & manages to stab the brute in the back of the neck, but then is knocked on his skinny butt by the bald man; but hey, we see that he had managed to retrieve the key off the neck of the brute, but before he could use it, the big man attacked him again; this time the thin man quickly gets the upper hand, & he jerks the brute over backwards, & then he begins to pulp the brutes skull with a cement axe, blow after bloody blow.
He kills the brute, unlocks his own collar, and stands for a gory moment feeling triumphant, a desperate victor spraying blood bubbles out of his wounded mouth.
Roll the opening credits for SAW IV.
Cut to a SWAT team, suited up, moving in squads, entering a trap scene.
Cut to ten cops thrashing around, pointing their red lasers & cop flashlights, yelling: Clear–clear–clear–clear.
Cut to the appearance of the SWAT leader, Lt. Rigg; with a handsome CU, prep for a major role to come.
Smooth Jump Cuts (thank God)
Detective Hoffman is with them.
Cops rushing about behind several metal-caged gates.
Cop: We detect movement!
CU on several puzzled worried police faces.
They detect some kind of mysterious device..a bomb perhaps. Hoffman orders a tracked robot with a camera on it to be the first down the stairs. We see it struggling down steep stairs.
Cut to the robot’s camera POV, a B&W CCTV image. We see lots of dried blood on the floor; then damn, suddenly we viewers realize they have entered the rib-cage torture trap room of Detective Kerry.
Cut to her dead mutilated body hanging on springed hooks, from some kind of steel yoke.
Cut to her very dead face.
Rigg: OMG, Kerry!
He charges down the stairs toward the chamber.
Jump Cuts–smooth & clear:
Hoffman: Somebody stop him–it could be another trap!
Rigg bursts into the chamber, & moves around in front of Kerry, staring at what was left of her. We see her then from the back, dangling dead, the six rib-breakers still attached to her ripped out ribs hanging to both sides of her. Her torn broken ribs are hanging in bloody meat shreds, like a rack of beef ribs before the BBQ.
Cut to another CU of Kerry’s dead face.
Cut to Rigg, his face contorted with terrible anguish; anger fist-fucking grief.
Cut to Hoffman descending the stairs with SWAT members.
Cut to Kerry’s intestines hanging loose like death bratwurst.
Cut to Rigg, on his knees, silently weeping.
Cut to a rat on Kerry’s shoulder munching on one of her ears.
Cut to Hoffman taking charge:
Call the Coroner–& get those fucking rats off her!
Cut to the chamber being full of police forensic team, spotlights set up, flashbulbs going off, cameras clicking.
Cut to Rigg standing in front of a Jigsaw message painted in large red letters on the wall CHERISH YOUR LIFE; spattered with blood.
Rigg: choking with emotion: Cut her down!
Forensics officer: You know we can’t do that yet.
Hoffman, to Rigg: Are you trying to kill yourself? You fucking know that you never go straight through an unsecured door!
Rigg; I thought she might still be alive. Did you ever think that we would end up like this when we started?
Hoffman: No–why do we keep doing this?
Rigg: It’s our fucking job–it’s what we do.
Hoffman: Cherish your life–his fucking motto.
Rigg: Well, how the hell are we supposed to do that when this shit is our life?
Cut to two new officers, a man & a woman, coming down the stairs. They introduce themselves; FBI agent Strahm (him) & Perez (her).
Hoffman: Why is the FBI interested in this case?
Perez: Detective Kerry was our liaison.
Strahm: Open that door & you will find the last message written by Detective Kerry.
Hoffman: What? That means nothing to me.
The FBI agents enter the crime scene, & begin to examine Kerry.
Cop: We found a bullet casing.
Hoffman: Check it for prints.
Perez finds the acid-corroded key on the floor.
Why didn’t she unlock the trap?
Hoffman: Because this trap was designed to destroy her–there never was any real chance for escape from it.
Perez: It’s not a true Jigsaw trap then?
Hoffman: No, more like one designed by his apprentice, Amanda Young.
Strahm; This trap was not set up by Amanda Young. She weighs like 130 pounds; she would not have been able to lift Kerry up.
Hoffman: Then Kramer must have assisted her.
Strahm: He was a cancer patient, unable to lift a body,
Hoffman: But he also was a genius engineer; he might have rigged a pully.
Strahm: Or somebody else could have helped him.
Note: The close-ups of Kerry’s bloody broken ribs in each shot is kind of unnerving.
Hoffman: What are you actually here for?
Strahm: We’re here to find that person in your department that has been helping Jigsaw & Amanda Young.
Cut to officer Rigg, in plain clothes, at his office, watching a video tape of Hoffman interogating Jill Tuck about Jigsaw. Rigg picks up a book written about the Jigsaw Murders, then looks at a copy of CIVIL ENGINEERING magazine with John Kramer on the cover.
Cut to the video:
Hoffman: Tell me everything you know, or remember, about John.
Cut to Rigg, thumbing through a file drawer, then opening one, and we see photos of Detective Matthews & Detective Kerry in dress uniform.
Enter Detective Hoffman, who switches off the video monitor.
Rigg: I think she knows something she’s not telling us about.
Hoffman: I thought you were going home. You’ve got vacation time, right?
Rigg: Eric is still out there, man.
Hoffman: Come on, Eric’s been missing for 6 months–Kerry was only gone for four days.
Rigg: I’m in this until I find him. I feel that he is still alive.
Hoffman: Just go home.
Agents Strahm & Perez enter, just as Rigg is leaving.
Perez: Who’s he?
Hoffman: Lt. Rigg, our SWAT commander.
Strahm: What’s his problem?
Hoffman: Everyone around him keeps dying.
Cut to an apartment. Rigg enters & finds a note, next to his wife’s packed suitcase. Then he sees she is still there, finishing packing.
Rigg: What’s it say?
Tracy: The note says I tried to call you 5 times, your dinner is in the fridge, & I love you; but I need to help my Mom for a few days. Come with me.
Rigg: I just can’t right now.
Tracy: Yes you can, but you choose not to; but what you “can’t do” is save everyone.
She kisses him & leaves him staring at the closed door.
Cut back to the police station.
Perez: John Kramer owned a company called the Urban Renewal Group. I think we should tell Detective Hoffman about the rest of the message that Kerry left–that two officers in this precinct are in danger.
Strahm: It’s not your call.
Hoffman appears, holding a stuffed animal under one arm: If you need me, call me on my cell.
Perez, looking at the toy: Boy or a girl?
Perez: Didn’t know you were married.
Hoffman: I’m not. It’s a short story, believe me.
Cut to officer Rigg, sitting shirtless & depressed on his bed.
Cut to the middle of the night. Rigg is awakened, hearing a door close.
Rigg: Tracy, are you home?
We get a glimpse of a person rushing past the crack at his bedroom door. Rigg comes out of the bedroom, & we see huge plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling, with stepladders standing around (then we recall Hoffman making a reference to the home improvements Rigg was working on).
Suddenly someone leaps out of the plastic & attacks Rigg (who is a tall muscular man, so the intruder better know their stuff.)
Cut to Hoffman at the office, putting a key in an envelope, then picks up the phone.
Cut to a flash of the Pig’s head mask, then CU of the shower head, with the water on. Rigg awakens in the bathtub, & stumbles wet out onto the floor; wearing just his underwear. He sees a large red hand-painted question mark on a door in front of him.
Cut to a thin wire attached the door handle on the opposite side.
Rigg enters the room; the wire activates a TV monitor. Billy the puppet’s face appears in color (perhaps for the first time).
John: Hello Officer Rigg. Welcome to your rebirth. For years you have stood by & witnessed your colleagues falling. You have remained untouched, while Eric Matthews has disappeared. But with your survival came your obsession. An obsession to stop those around you from making the wrong choices–thus preventing you from making the right ones. You wanted to save everyone. Tonight, I give you the opportunity to face your obsession. Look closely.
The image on the screen changes. We see a man standing on a block of ice, with a chain noose around his neck. Detective Hoffman is tied up & gagged in a chair alongside Matthews on ice.
Eric Matthews is still alive. The block of ice he stands upon is melting. He has but 90 minutes to save himself. Detective Hoffman’s fate is linked to Eric’s survival. Heed my warning, Officer Rigg, their lives hang in the balance of your obsession. Will you learn how to let go & truly save them? The choice is yours.
Cut to message on the landline phone; NO PHONE: Only you can save them!
Flash of Rigg, loading his pistol.
Cut to Detective Matthews with a thick chain noose around his neck, his hands maniculed–he has a beard, and long hair, is wearing an orange jump suit, & has an odd-looking prosthetic for a right foot.
Detective Hoffman is strapped into a chair, sitting in shallow water, alongside him.
Cut to Rigg opening another door, which pops another wire, which activates one of the game timers at 90 minutes & counting down; hanging all around are 8×10 photos of victims, many of which we have not met yet. Rigg enters the adjacent room, & he finds a woman lashed into a Sitting Trap, looking like a lethal wheelchair, wearing a pig mask, the red robe, & spiked high heels; sitting in front of a TV monitor.
She turns & we see the pig mask clearly, & on the wall we see another message hand-painted in large red letters: SEE WHAT I SEE.
Rigg: Take off the fucking mask!
Woman: muffled voice, I can’t, I can’t.
Then we notice her hands are shackled.
Billy the puppet appears on the CCTV monitor:
John: Officer Rigg, welcome to your first test. The person in front of you is in desperate need of your help; but it is not your job to save her. You view this person as a victim, but if you will SEE WHAT I SEE, beneath the mask lies a criminal, undeserving of the life she leads. Your obsession tells you to save the victim. I tell you to walk away. The choice is yours.
Rigg pulls off the mask, & we see a gagged blonde.
Brenda: Are you a cop?
Suddenly a pin shears, & hair long pony-tailed hair is being twisted down into a geared vise, like a nightmare ringer on an old washing machine; pulling her head back forcibly.
Smooth jump cuts:
Brenda: Help me! Cut my hair, cut my hair!
Rigg searching everywhere for scissors or a knife, before running out of the room. Finds a note; TIME IS WASTING.
Rigg: Oh shit, fuck!
Brenda: Come back here you fucking idiot!
Rigg, freaked out, fires his pistol into the gears of the chair trap. The gears first stop, then start back up at a faster pace, beginning to rip out her hair & scalp–blood begins streaming down her face.
Cut to the police station.
Clerk: We got a good print off that shell casing, & found a match.
Cop: Jesus, did you check this?
The blonde screaming,
the gears turning, her hair rolling up in them,
blood gushing off her face down onto her torso & push-up bra,
Rigg playing with gear control knobs;
suddenly the gears releasing as the blonde lurches forward out of the chair trap onto her hands & knees, revealing large breast cleavage in a black push-up sports bra, tits covered in steaming blood.
Rigg: Don’t move, or touch anything.
He leaves the room searching for a towel or rags. The blonde pulls a large butcher knife out from beneath the monitor. As Rigg re-enters the room, the blonde screams & attacks him.
Rigg: What the fuck are you doing?
They wrestle & he slams her slim ass into a door. As the door opens
Cut cleverly to the police station; Perez & Strahm at a desk.
Cop: Hey look, the prints came in.
The FBI agents begin looking at the prints.
Another Cop: Hey, we caught a break; shots fired at 23 Park Place (heavens to Monopoly board!) & that’s Rigg’s apartment!
Cut back to the Rigg/pig bitch tussle; he knocks her ass out.
Then he takes away the knife, & picks up another tape recorder.
John: Hello Brenda. I want to play a game. An officer will try & save you. If he is successful, then your game begins. This man will use these photos of you to sentence you for your crimes, & the only way to stop him is taped underneath the TV. If you let him save your life, you can accept your fate & rot in prison, or kill him, & guarantee your freedom. Make your choice.
Flash again on the several B&W large photos hanging around the room. (Rigg must have been chloroformed for a long time to allow someone to set up all this elaborate game paraphernalia.) Rigg finds a red velveteen box, an envelope with two keys & a note in it; ONE SAVES A LIFE–ONE TAKES IT AWAY.
One of the keys is a hotel key, with the number 261 on it. He snags both keys & exits the apartment. (But what the hell happened to Miss Brenda? She was only just knocked out; perhaps the cops will get here, if they show up.)
Cut to the trap room previously viewed, Matthews ice dancing, with Hoffman doing the squirming chair boogie.
Wide crane shot of the room, shows both men, & a long control table in front of them, with six monitors on it; unmanned at the moment.
CU of Matthews feet,l barely touching the melting ice block,
Hoffman struggling, gagged in his wet seat.
Another Wide Shot, we see Matthews hand-cuffed, twirling in his chain noose, & now we see clearly that yes, this is Eric Matthews. Eric tries to talk, but the chain noose is too tight; just groans & gurgles.
Cut to the past, a recap of the Matthews/Amanda Young tussle,
Eric yelling, I’ll fucking kill you, stupid bitch!
Amanda stomping his right ankle stump, making him pass out.
Cut to a tall hooded man dragging Eric out of the hallway by his bloody legs. Face in shadow, we’re fairly sure he in the hoodie was Jigsaw, remembering that in SAW III, John said to Amanda: You left him for dead, & I had to clean up your mess. He drags Eric into a cell room, & locks the door.
Eric today, twirling in chains over the ice block.
Tall man entering the cell carrying the orange jump suit, a leg brace & the crude prosthetic right foot.
Eric eating SOS in a pie plate.
Eric shooshing away several rats.
Eric’s hair & beard getting longer.
Eric back in his chain noose; (as we scramble in our minds to put oddball pieces of SAW II, & SAW III into perspective).
Cut to the SWAT team rushing into some apartment–possibly Rigg’s.
Cop: I got one!
Cut to Brenda, still unconscious on the floor. Strahm is bending over her very still (dead?) body: It’s started.
He has a wife, where is she?
We haven’t located her yet.
Forensic officers snapping photos, while several other cops are busy taking down dozen of hanging photos. Perez shows Strahm the photos of Detective Hoffman & Detective Matthews.
Cop; We are trying to reach Hoffman on his cell.
Perez: Looks like Matthews must still be alive; 6 months now–Jigsaw never kept anyone that long before.
Strahm: This is fitting the profile for the next six victims. Rigg might be the accomplice.
Strahm using a black light finds another message on the wall;
FOUR WALLS BUILD A HOME.
He pulls down a photo of Jill Tuck:
This is who we are looking for; let’s go talk to her.
Cut to cops entering Tuck’s drug clinic.
Strahm; Jill Tuck; where is she?
Jill appears wearing the long white medical coat.
Cut to Jill sitting in a police interrogation room, with Strahm & Perez setting up a camera behind the two-way glass.
Strahm: Turn off the AC in there.
They enter the tank & introduce themselves.
Jill: What else can I tell you? I mean my hundreds of hours of interrogation tapes, all the things you took from my home–were these not enough for you to understand John?
Perez: Actually, this time we want to talk mostly about you.
Cut back to Matthews dangling & teetering on the ice block. (considering that Donnie Wahlberg was only available briefly, the editors do a lot of cutting to this dangling, choking scene.)
Cut to the gagged tied-up Hoffman seeing someone else coming into the room; message FINISH THE TEST on the wall. The person is wearing a back pack, & a watch cap; can’t see their face–is this the dreaded accomplice?
Hoffman: through/around his gag–Let me go! Do you hear me, you mother-fucker?
The man pulls out a large silver revolver, like a .357 Mag, out of the back pack, & places it on the table top in front of the multiple monitors.
Eric drooling & grunting & twirling.
Hoffman yelling Fuck you through his red gag.
The pistol sitting malevolently on the table top.
A timer showing 59 minutes to go for the test.
Cut to some flea bag rat-trap apartment building foyer, with a drunk sitting on the floor next to a public phone. Rigg enters through the dirt-smeared front door.
Drunk: What the fuck are you looking at?
Rigg walks past him, and starts up the stairs.
A fat check-in clerk in a wife-beater T yells:
Excuse me, sir. Can I help you?
Cut to Rigg on the second floor, walking up to apartment #261– which fits the key he picked up earlier. He listens at the door, unlocks it with the key, and enters slowly. He finds an open red velveteen lined travel case on the bed; picks up a photo of a young girl; message on the back–SHE NEEDS YOU.
Inside the case he finds another Jigsaw pig mask, & a photo of a fat balding man, & of course, another cassette recorder.
John: Hello Officer Rigg. In order to fully understand MY WAY, you must FEEL WHAT I FEEL (also painted on the wall in red letters). The photo in front of you is of a man who is in desperate need of help.
(Cut to the desk clerk, who is that man.)
In the next room are the tools you will need. His life is in your hands, but in the end, only he can truly save himself. Be careful, there are cameras watching & you must hide your identity. Make your choice.
Rigg, oddly, tries on the Pig Mask; it’s a good fit.
Cut to Rigg coming back down the stairs. He sees the fat clerk, only wearing a pair of dirty shorts & the t-shirt, pushing the drunk out of the foyer door. His white poodle comes over to Rigg, & they go back upstairs. The rotund clerk calls for his dog, repeatedly, then heads upstairs to find it; finds the lap pooch sniffing something in front of Apt. 261–which turns out to be the Pig Mask. The clerk is very confused by all this, picking up the mask. We see Rigg’s arm, with the pistol, poking out of the door, like a moment from a silent movie.
Clerk: Oh no!
Cut back to the police station; Perez watches Strahm asking Jill Tuck if FOUR WALLS BUILD A HOME means anything to her, or CHERISH A LIFE.
CU on her face, as she is recalling:
Cut to John Kramer talking to her at her drug clinic, her in the white coat:
John: “Cherish your life” is the motto this whole organization is built upon. Now you must cherish your life.,
Cut back to Jill at the police station: That’s his motto, not mine.
Cut back to the Drug Clinic waiting room.
Cecil yelling: Fuck, man, I’ve been waiting here for three fucking hours!
Another man, Gus from SAW II, stands up and hits Cecil in the face, knocking him to the floor. Jill rushes in to help. John is standing behind her. Cecil rises up brandishing a switch blade.
John, stepping up: You don’t want to do that?
Cecil: What the fuck is your problem?
John, towering over him: You are my problem–& you are becoming everybody else’s too.
Cecil puts away his blade & leaves the clinic.
Cut back to the police station.
Strahm: How’s it feel without a husband? He took your drug clinic & twisted it into some kind of maniac torture project.
Jill: That had nothing to do with me.
Strahm: A lot of evidence points to you as a possible accomplice. OK, just tell me about his workshop.
Cut Cut to Jill & John entering his workshop, looking at a lovely antique clock that he was repairing, a child’s hand-made wooden crib, & one of the first smaller Billy the puppet dolls.
Cut to the cop sweat box, Strahm just staring at Jill.
Cut to Rigg holding a gun on the hotel clerk.
Clerk: What are you doing–what do you want?
Rigg shows him the police mug shot of him.
Clerk: No, that was a mistake from the past, & I paid for that a long time ago.
Rigg gives him the key to unlock another door, with FEEL WHAT I FEEL painted on it. The room is lit with whorehouse red light bulbs, with dozens of photos of torture victims strewn about–women & children.
A bed in the middle of the floor, covered with several chains, handcuffs, torture collars, hanging from the ceiling as well.
Photos of the six recent present Jigsaw victims mixed in with torture shots.
A CCTV monitor snaps on, & we see the torture room where Matthews, Hoffman, & the newcomer are at.
Clerk: I don’t know who that is.
Rigg finds another cassette recorder, & another envelope with his name on it.
John: Officer Rigg, if you are playing this tape, then you are one step closer to understanding my feelings. Is this man before you the victim or the perpetrator of violence. His salvation is out of your hands, for you have the choice to put his fate in his own hands. Once your lesson is learned you will find yourself closer to actually saving Eric Matthews. Force this man into a position to face his own demons, & let him make the decision.
The CCTV starts playing a tape of the clerk, Ivan, raping a young girl. (interestingly, he is wearing the same shorts & t-shirt he has on now.)
Rigg: Get on the fucking bed; forcing him to lock himself up in the chains.
Ten flashes of bloody battered rape victims.
Rigg picks up another Jigsaw note: HAND HIM THE TOOLS TO SAVE A LIFE. Rigg locks his head in a vise.
John: Hello, Ivan. As a voyeur, you have kept all these photos of your victims. Can you see the pain you have caused them? You have torn apart their lives. You have used your body as in instrument of abuse. Now I give you the chance to decide what is more important–your eyes which have led you blindly astray- or your body, which has caused all those around you endless suffering. You have been handed the tools which can save your life; decide quickly though, in just 60 seconds, the choice will be made for you.
Rigg walks out of the room. Ivan activates the first knife that drops down stabbing Ivan in the right eye, but while screaming, he does not activate the knife on the left, as several saw blades leap out of the bed trap & begin to slice up his fat body. He screams & screams & screams.
Cut to Rigg reading yet another Jigsaw note:
BECOME A TEACHER–SAVE A LIFE.
Cut to the past, Rigg in uniform, talking with an 8 year old girl, in an elementary school hallway. The little girl has bruises on her arms & neck.
Girl: I just want to go home.
Hoffman opens the door from a class room. The father is sitting inside, staring out at the girl, shaking his head NO, putting his finger up to his lips.
Hoffman: We will have to let him go.
The father joins them in the hallway, smiling cruelly. Rigg leaps up & hits the man three times in the face.
Father: You have just made the biggest mistake of your life.
The blond mother is there too, eyes huge, mute, scared.
Cut back to Strahm & Jill in the cop box.
Strahm: So why did you leave John?
Jill: Do you know anything about the Chinese zodiac?
Strahm: No, I don’t.
Jill: I didn’t just get pregnant, it was carefully planed. Everything with John was.
Cut to the past, her very pregnant, in her third trimester, closing up drug cabinets at the clinic, closing time for the clinic. As the last two patients are ushered out of the door, one of them looks like the big bald brute we saw in the prologue.
Cut to John, outside in his car waiting. A prostitute comes up to his open window, asking if he wants a date. It is Addison, one of the trap victims in SAW II.
John: What the hell are you doing? Do you know what this building is?
Cut back to Jill, inside, still locking up. Cecil suddenly appears at the door window; Hey, let me in, I forgot my jacket.
Jill walks back to the waiting room, picks up his jacket, then unlocks the door to give it to him, but Cecil pulls out his switchblade & forces her to let him back in. He drags her back to the locked room with the drug cabinets; but she is taking too long with the keys, so he takes them from her & goes into the room solo, loading a plastic bag with drugs. Excited, high, Cecil rushes out of the room, slamming Jill in the stomach with the door.
She screams & clutches her very pregnant stomach. Cecil runs out of the building, clutching the bag of drugs. John sees him, recognizes him, then John runs back into the building.
Cut to John carrying Jill into an ER.
John pacing in the waiting room.
Doctor telling him his son has died.
Nurse covering up the exhausted Jill.
CU of John’s face, beginning to hatch a plan of revenge.
Jill: He couldn’t help it. He’s an addict.
John: You can’t help them. They have to help themselves.
Cut back to the police station.
Strahm: Girl loves boy. Boy loves girl. Boy gets girl pregnant. Girl loses baby. Boy turns into a serial killer.
Cut to Room 261 at the death hotel. Strahm & Perez are doing the investigation. The red-lit room is covered in blood & body parts.
Perez: John didn’t kill Ivan; he killed himself; the whole Jigsaw mantra.
Strahm: This isn’t about Rigg saving his friends–he is being recruited.
They find out that a lawyer named Art Blank had rented this room.
Cut to Art’s apartment, complete with a Billy puppet tricycle, torture tools, lurid photos. Strahm sees a CCTV camera on the wall; they were being filmed.
Strahm: Christ, I think we are the next two victims on the list.
Cut back to the large torture room.
Matthews, spitting, drooling, blowing blood bubbles; Fuck you! Fuck you! directed toward the Watcher. Then Eric slips off the ice block, & he begins to hang himself with the chain noose. The Watcher rushes over to assist. He grabs Eric’s legs, & repositions him on the ice block.
Watcher: If you come off the ice block, that activates a power cord, & your partner (Hoffman) will get fried–understand, asshole?
He turns around & we see this is Art, the lawyer, that freed the abusive father, & that killed the bald brute in the prologue.
Cut back to the police station; the past. Art in his pimp lawyer duds, talking to Hoffman & Rigg about the law suit against him for belting that abusive father months before.
Hoffman; I tell you, he assaulted Officer Rigg first–I saw the whole thing.
Art: Sure, sure, you cops are thick as thieves, but I tell you this action will some day come back to you & bite you on the ass.
Cut back to Eric Matthews nodding to Art that he understood his predicament dangling over the ice, but saying: Fuck you, fuck you!
Cut to Rigg entering the old crime scene at the school, yellow tape up on doors. ( it looks like the elementary school where he smacked the abusive father, but hey, what the hell crime was committed there?).
He follows red painted arrows pointing down the hallway. He comes to a classroom door, with a child’s drawing on it, & in the middle of the drawing was a large red painted question mark.
Rigg enters the old classroom, where he reads a message in large red letters on the blackboard: SAVE AS I SAVE, & there in the middle of the room, trussed up back to back are the bad parents of the little girl, chained tightly together with several chains suspended from the ceiling–with several thin iron rods shoved through both of them, half the rod in each of them. There is another sign in front of them, YOUR LIFE IS IN HER HANDS.
A timer above them registers 32.51 minutes in large red digits.
Both seem unconscious., but the blond wife comes to life, & then so does her husband ( in all of the SAW films, when two subjects are together, they seem to come to consciousness at roughly the same moment; quite devisive.) Rigg seems startled by their consciousness.
Cut to earlier, seven rods piercing their bodies, with some kind of a medical chart on each side of them, showing exactly where the rods have penetrated; the wife is holding a cassette recorder:
John: The human body is a fascinating organism. It can withstand terrible injury & yet repair itself miraculously. You know this all too well. How many broken bones have you suffered at the hands of your husband? How many flesh wounds have you endured? Yes, in time all the wounds have healed, but your emotional pain has not subsided. Today I am empowering you to take control of your life, & disconnect from that one person who has brought you, & so many others, so much pain. Your wounds will heal; his will not. Remove the ties/rods that bind or bleed to death from inactivity. The choice is all yours.
She begins to pull the rods out of her body, & his wounds begin to spurt blood like mini-fountains.
Father: What the fuck are you doing?
Both of them screaming.
The rods being withdrawn and clanking on the bloody floor.
His wounds spurting even more copiously.
Cut back to Rigg, snooping around, finding yet ANOTHER FUCKING mini-cassette recorder:
John: Hello Officer Rigg. What have you learned so far? Experience is a harsh teacher. First comes the test, second comes the lesson. If you want to SAVE AS I SAVE then you will see that the person in front of you is but a student. So I ask you–has the pupil learned her lesson? Does she understand the error of her ways? Does she now view this world differently? The key to this woman’s freedom is in the palm of your hand; but only if she has played her own part. Can you fulfill your role in her salvation? Remember, once judgements have been made though, the key to finding your next destination is just off the map.
Rigg stares at the second key in his possession. He feels certain that it will unlock the wife’s harness.
Rigg: Who did this to you?
Wife: I don’t know.
Rigg pulls out the last rod from her body.
Then he finds another FUCKING RED VELVETEEN BOX, with a picture on it, possibly of Tracy, his wife; message on the back; GO HOME.
Rigg puts his jacket around the woman’s shoulders, and gives her the key.
You can save yourself; then he leaves the room.
Cut back to the main torture room, Eric choking & cussing, Art with his head down on the monitor table.
Matthews: weeping, Why don’t you just fucking kill me? I don’t want to play this game anymore.
Cut back to the schoolroom crime scene.
Perez is standing under the SAVE AS I SAVE sign.
Husband is dead, bled out, hanging up still in the chains.
The wife who has unlocked herself is identifying Rigg as her Savior.
Perez answers her cell phone: Hey, I just found out that all these people in these Jigsaw traps have the same lawyer, Art Blank, & that includes Jill Tuck.
A forensic photographer accidently trips the rod cannon, & suddenly it ejects/fires a rod that goes through the photographer’s neck.
Strahm: Where is Jigsaw’s lair.
Perez: The second address is right here, owned by Jill Tuck, right here in this building! (now just a damn minute, the elementary school, and some warehouse are in the same fucking building; this is an overlooked red-herring bullshit plot piece!).
They enter another office, or room, & find a Billy puppet sitting upright in a child’s chair, surrounded by (lit) fat white candles (who lit them?) & of course there is a cassette recorder around its neck.
John: Hello Agent Perez: (how in hell could Jigsaw know which detective would click on the god damn recorder?)
Then the Billy puppet starts making a soft whirring sound, & Perez leans down to figure out its source. Suddenly the puppet’s face exploded & 9 mini-ninja darts hit her all over her face, as what’s left of Billy’s face starts its mechanical maniac laughter.
Cut to Strahm holding her as she goes into shock. He lets two medics take her away on a crash cart.
Cut to the main torture room. Eric chokes & chokes & seems to pass out. Hoffman calls Art to help Matthews, which he does, but Eric tries to kick Art. Hoffman looks horrified. Art stabilizes Eric, once more, dangling above the melting ice block.
Art: Hey, listen to me. I’m not the one you have to worry about, you hear me?
The clock timer shows there are 19.41 minutes left to go.
Art: Matter of fact. I recommend that you stay alive until the clock counts down.
He draws the .357 & approaches Matthews.
Art: If the other guy passes his tests, all three of us can go free.
Then he hands Eric a key & the pistol.
OK, live or die, for all of us; make the choice.
Cut to Strahm on the phone, telling someone that Perez is injured, possibly dying; then enraged, consumed with grief, he tosses the office, papers & files filling the air.
He runs to the cop box. Jill Tuck is still sitting at the table.
Strahm: We now know that Art Blank is your husband’s accomplice. In 15 minutes, more people are going to die. See this shirt–this is my partner’s blood. What is the fucking connection between John & Art Blank?
Cut to Jill & Art entering John’s workshop.
Art: What the fuck is this place?
He picks up drawings of the dead bald brute lying dead on the machine trap from the prologue. They see John apparently dozing in chair. They accidently knock the Billy puppet off the table onto the floor. Art talks to him as a business partner, all about the 40 families ready to move into their new building. Jill wander about, acting strange, distracted.
John: Get the fuck out of here. (Jigsaw has never said Fuck before on film).
Art: Who do you think you are talking to like that? I’m your partner!
John: Did you hear what I said?
Art: I heard you, John.
Art & Jill leave the room. John picks up the Billy puppet & stares at it.
Cut to Jill in the interrogation room:
In his mind, our marriage was already over. He was diagnosed with cancer very soon after that.
Cut to a flashback from SAW III, John driving his car off a cliff, & surviving.
Strahm: Did you ever try to contact him again?
Jill: I tried, but I’m telling you it was a different person who crawled out of that car wreck; someone else survived, not the John I had known.
Cut to Jill wandering around Jigsaw’s workshop, picking up photos, one of Cecil, & diagrams of traps. John suddenly appears & grabs her arm:
I asked you not to come in here.
Cut to John working on recording Cecil’s Jigsaw PLAY Me tape.
Cut to Chinatown, and a parade celebration, large crowd. Cecil is seen in the milling crowd. A sign hanging over the street read: YEAR OF THE PIG. John follows Cecil, and then pours chloroform on a rag, grabs & drugs Cecil; no one seemed to notice, or care.
Cut to Cecil strapped into a trap chair.
Cecil: It’s you, you have done this to me!
John: No, you’ve done this to your self.
Cecil: I am so sorry.
John: I forgive you, Cecil. I do, but addiction has ruined your life.
Cecil: I’m bleeding man–please let me go.
John: I could let you go, but that wouldn’t serve you. I’ll tell you what I will do though. I will give you a tool to regain your life, & to discard the vices that have corrupted your soul.
Cecil: I don’t have a fucking soul.
John: Maybe you will in the next life. You see things aren’t sequential. Good doesn’t lead to good, or bad to bad. People steal, don’t get caught–go on to live the good life. Others lie, cheat, & get elected. Some people stop to help a stranded motorist & get taken out by a speeding 18-wheeler. There’s no accounting for it–how you play the cards you’re dealt, that’s all that matters. Look at me. Do you understand what I am saying to you?
Cecil: Yeah, I understand that you are fucking nuts!
John snaps in a headpiece made up on a dozen butcher knifes, six per side,on a spring-loaded rig.
Cecil: What the fuck is this? Just give me some time to explain things.
John: Time is but an illusion, but if you press your face into these blades hard enough, they will spring open, and you will be released from the trap.
Cecil begins to push his face into the knives; blood spurts from his head. The knives start to open as he screams, but thrice he attempted it, & could not complete the task. Finally he succeeds, and he is ejected from the trap onto the floor. Rising to his feet, his head a bloody mess.
Cecil: Now you are dead–you’re fucking dead.
He lunges at John, who easily side-steps & Cecil lands in a mass of sharp barbed wire, & as he struggles the barbs begin to tear him to pieces.
Cut back to Jill facing John in his workshop.
Jill: What has happened to you?
John: You dare ask me what happened to me?
He smashes the lovely Antique Clock to broken splendorous splinters.
John: Now stay away, & don’t come back. Do it for yourself if you can’t for me.
Jill: I lost him too; then turns & leaves.
Cut back to the cop box. Strahm, angry & confused, shoves a chair hard into the
table; then looks again at a newspaper clipping, a photo of Art Blank; headline for the construction project reporting: FOUR WALLS BUILD A HOME.
Strahm to Jill: You sold Art John’s first building; where is it located?
He looks at the photo again; the sign on the building was GIDEON MEAT PACKING, the Address was 125 Lake Drive.
Cut to Office Rigg entering that building. Inside he finds ( another MF) red velveteen box, with notes; PLEASE REMEMBER WHO YOU’RE SAVING, & TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE.
Cut back to Eric Matthews still dangling/dancing on the melting ice block (man, that is one slow melting ice block). Eric has the pistol in one hand, and the key in the other.
Art stares up at the ceiling. He notices two large ice blocks held on large springed chains to the right & left above Matthews.
Art: Jesus, we better hope someone is not coming through that door ( the release lever for the ice blocks is wired to the door knob) FINAL TEST is printed on the door.
Rigg moving down a hallway, gun drawn.
Strahm, alone, drives up outside.
Eric choking & spitting & choking & cursing.
Hoffman staring to the water under his feet, & the electrodes connected to his chair.
Strahm calling for back-up, then saying: I don’t have two fucking minutes!
Strahm enters the building, his pistol drawn; he hears Rigg out ahead of him.
Rigg seeing all the Jigsaw platitudes painted on the walls all around him, then sees a countdown timer registering 3:41 minutes. Finds two wallets with Police ID for Hoffman & Matthews, with another note: HAVE YOU TRULY LEARNED TO SAVE A LIFE?
MORE jump cuts:
Rigg running down a hallway.
Strahm moving fast in pursuit.
Strahm finds a set of keys on the floor, with a photo of Jeff Denlon & his family on it (from SAW III).
Eric: Who is coming through that fucking door?
Art is staring perplexed at the door.
Art: Oh fuck me.
He takes off his Navy peacoat, & we see some kind of electronic device strapped on his back & neck.
Back to the prologue mausoleum trap, & we see clearly that it was Art who escaped it.
Strahm is moving cautiously in the hallway.
Jeff Denlon coming out of the shadows carrying a pistol.
Strahm, who hears Jeff, & turns toward the sound.
Riggs running in another hallway ( probably there are more fucking shots of characters moving along hallways in these SAW movies than we could ever accurately recall).
Eric: Who is it?
Art, neck device prominent as he sees Rigg on one of the 6 monitors before him.
Strahm on another screen.
Jeff on another screen.
Suddenly we realize we are reliving the last scene of SAW III.
Jeff calls out Lynn’s name, a shot is fired, she collapses into his arms.
We hear Jigsaw’s voice.
We hear Amanda’s voice.
Strahm is getting closer to Jeff.
Eric is choking & still dangling.
Art picks up a big red button control:
This will release us when the clock timer is counted to zero.
The timer shows us :41 seconds.
Strahm is very close to the operating/killing room from SAW III.
John: Live or die, Jeff. Make a choice.
Then we hear Jeff murdering John with the Saws-All, with
Lynn yelling: Please Jeff, don’t!
Rigg still running in another damn hallway.
Eric: Don’t open the fucking door!
Timer now at :10 seconds.
Rigg crashing through the “wrong” door.
Eric firing his one bullet at Rigg
CU of gears grinding, connected to the door release.
Both huge blocks of ice come swinging down, crashing into Eric’s head, & knocking him out of the chain noose.
Rigg writhing on the floor, wounded in the chest; screaming.
CU of hot cables sparking in the water near Hoffman’s chair.
Cut to the SAW III operating death room:
Strahm sees the door to it is locked; then he recalls the notes: OPEN THE DOOR & YOU WILL FIND ME; pulls another magic key from his pocket, unlocks the door, & bursts into the operating killing room. Jeff has his back to him, staring at what was left of Lynn’s head.
Strahm: Let me see your fucking hands!
Jeff, turning to him: Where is my daughter, you motherfucker.
Strahm fires his gun & Jeff goes down onto his face on the bloody floor; then FBI agent Strahm sees Lynn with her head blown to pieces, sees John on the bed, nearly decapitated, sees Amanda Young on the floor dead:
Strahm: Jesus fucking Christ!
Cut to Rigg, writhing on the floor; You stupid asshole!
Art; Jigsaw is testing you, you fucking piece of shit.
Rigg pointed his gun at Art: Put your fucking hands where I can see them!
Art: I tell you Jigsaw is testing you!
Rigg: Don’t fucking move!
Art screams & reaches into his back pack.
Rigg shoots him in the head.
Another cassette recorder hits the floor:
John: Hello Officer Rigg. If you are hearing this, then you have reached Matthews & Hoffman within the 90 minutes, resulting in both their deaths. The rules were clear. You were warned. Tonight you faced your obsessions, forgetting they had to save themselves, their salvation was always out of your hands. Time really was on your side, but your obsession wouldn’t let you wait. Instead of saving Detective Matthews, you cost him his life. You failed your final test.
Suddenly we see Detective Hoffman walking up behind Rigg.
All the meaningful looks Hoffman shared with co-workers in SAW II & III.
Yup, that is correct, folks, Hoffman is the fucking accomplice!
Hoffman putting John’s letter for Amanda in the drawer
Hoffman attacks Dr. Denlon in the hospital locker room
Hoffman attacks Rigg in his apartment.
Hoffman to Rigg: You chose this life, now go home.
Rigg sinks back to the floor, too weak to plug the traitorous prick compeer.
Hoffman: Game Over!
Cut back to the opening scene, where Hoffman is listening to Jigsaw’s tape, pulled from the corpse’s stomach:
John: You feel you now have control, don’t you? You think that you will walk away untested, but I promise you that my work will continue. I will endure. By hearing this tape some will assume that my games are over, but I’m still among you. You think everything is over just because I’m dead? It’s not over. The games have just begun.
Fade out, Fine, the End. Final Credits, please.
TRIVIA: The seamless transitions between separate scenes were not done digitally; they actually built two sets side by side to swing the camera around in. The film was shot in 32 days. It spent 5 weeks in pre-production, & 8 weeks in post-production.
As a running gag in the SAW series, the crew always hides a fart machine in one of the serious trap scenes; actor Lyriq Bent the one they pulled it on for this movie. Again, director Darren Lynn Bousman was not interested in helming this 4th installment of the SAW SAGA, but after he read the script, done by fresh writers, he changed his mind & signed up.
Betsy Russell wore the same clothes in the drug clinic scene as the police interrogation scene; as the sets were side by side, & she just jumped from one to the other. The knife blades used in the Cecil chair trap were made of wood.
The autopsy scene was deliberately gruesome to distance itself from the plethora of similar scenes on all the CSI TV shows; & the scene was passed without cuts by the MPAA. The body double cast for Jigsaw used in the very realistic autopsy scene took over two weeks to construct. This was the first SAW feature that producer/Actor Leigh Whannel wasn’t involved in the writing. The little girl that Rigg talks to in the child abuse scene was Bousman’s niece.
Some of the photos hanging around in the Ivan death trap scene were of Bouskman’s girlfriend, his assistant, and his actual lawyer. Producer Mark Burg feels that this movie was his favorite of the series. Like all the other SAW films, the person who set up the big trap, participated in the game. A real Coroner was on the set for the filming of the autopsy scene. The white poodle that Ivan hugs & kisses is Bousman’s dog Chance.
Several ideas were discarded for the first mausoleum trap, one where the victims would have been lifted in the air, another with the room filling up with water.
Like all the other SAW films, this one did very well at the box office world-wide; the sixth highest grossing film for Lionsgate, making 63.3 million dollars; oh my. Once again, most of the film was shot in a Toronto studio.
One piece of dangling plot line edited or left out had to do with the teddy bear Hoffman was holding, that Perez asked about. We are given the hint that this toy would be given to Corbett, Jeff’s kidnapped daughter, held prisoner at the end of SAW III. Hoffman plans to save the girl, playing the hero–something that will be revealed in SAW V.
Rotten Tomatoes rated the film in a negative light, sharing 17% Critic’s Approval vs. 63% Audience Approval.
Most of the “serious” Critics trashed the film, but the 63 million bucks, & high audience approval is the perfect success counterpoint to them.
Well, damn, this time the critics not only missed the boat, they were about as accurate as a maniac tossing a sockful of shit at the moon. They were wrong, pure & simple, & the SAWheads, the real hardcore SAW fans guaranteed the greenlighting of SAW V.
In my view, it was time for Leigh Whannell to step away from the writing chores, and new writers Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunston brought fresh eyes & pure imagination to the franchise, juggling all three of the preceding films masterfully, creating new threads & through-lines, new concepts, fabulous traps, intense detailed flashback stories for every character, especially Tobin Bell, with more screen time than ever before, & Betsy Russell, prepping her character for more to do in other sequels. Technically, with a budget 10 times the original one on SAW (2004), Bousman made some wonderful shooting decisions, working artistically within the marvelous confines of a studio, using crane shots, steadicam shots, better lighting, better sound editing–I was very impressed with the Art Design folks, the film editing–& for once David Armstrong’s cinematography was never hand-held shaky, under-lit, or hazy. The largest cast yet, with a huge number of returning characters, was shuffled together flawlessly, like watching a Robert Altman ensemble story done on speed. For now, I feel that this, as a pure film project, was the best SAW of the series, & may remain the best of the sequels–that will be verified as SAW V, SAW VI, & SAW 3D are viewed & reviewed. I was quite disappointed in just one aspect, there were absolutely no tit-shots to calm the breast freaks among us.
I rate this excellent entry in the SAW franchise at 8 out of 10 stars; very high praise from a cranky film gore & horror buff like me.