SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY
S A W V (2008)
Alright, you righteous SAWphiles, it is time to dip your snorkels into the next segment of the phenomenally successful, wildly popular SAW SAGA. For when it comes to all things SAW, I am your blade-man.
And I’ll tell you what, the crossover references, cameos, plot thickening, & dangling mystery connectors are coming hot & fucking heavy with this one. Watching & reviewing this Saga in order, it amazes me how anyone but die-hard SAWheads could watch the sequels, & keep up with all the plot threads, twists, & change-ups. Some audience members who might have wandered into this movie without the benefit of having seen the four previous films, would be plot-lost–but then if I were a Tween or Twenty-Something only looking for a gore-festival date, it probably doesn’t matter that none of it seemed to make cohesive sense.
SAW V (2008)
Director David Hackl @ 92 minutes.
Hackl is essentially an award-winning production designer, doing excellent work on SAW II (2005), SAW III (2006) SAW IV (2007). While Darren Lynn Bousman was being wooed to direct SAW IV, David Hackl was standing in the wings ready to be the Director; and he would have done it if Bousman had opted out. He now has directed two more films, one still in post-production, ENDANGERED (2013) (So what the hell happened to this film?), & one in pre-production, AMENDS (2015).
SAW V won the 2008 Spike Scream Award for “the most memorable mutilation” of the year, for the Pendulum Trap, which opens the film.
The film was produced by Leigh Whannell & James Wan.
The outstanding musical score, always enhancing the action, never overpowering it, was written by Charlie Clouser; this being his fifth SAW score. I wonder how much of the music was re-used motiffs from the other four?
The moody atmospheric dark cinematography, for the fifth time as well, was done by David A. Armstrong; so between he & the director, who was Dave, Davy, David so the crew knew who to respond to?
The script was written by the great team of Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunston, proving with this, their second SAW, their new script was equally complex, twisting, & creative as with SAW IV. Again I appreciated the writing, & felt it elevated the through-line, & the bizarre inter-connecting plot threads in an intelligent, (nearly) logical manner.
It is becoming tedious to report yet again, that regardless of the tons of gut wagon gore, there is zip nudity in this one as well; so as is my custom, I searched for affiliate other-film hot tit-shots for the breast lovers among us.
You won’t believe how it ends.
In the end all the pieces fit together.
I am still among you.
Legends never die.
There will be buckets of blood.
C A S T:
Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John Kramer.
Costas Mandylor as Detective Mark Hoffman.
Scott Peterson as Agent Peter Strahm.
Betsy Russell as Jill Tuck.
Julie Benz as Britt.
Meagan Good as Luba.
Mark Rolston as Dan Erickson.
Greg Bryk as Mallick.
Carlo Rota as Charles.
Laura Gordon as Ashley.
Niamh Wilson as Corbett Denlon.
Joris Jarsky as Seth.
Mike Butters as Paul.
Al Sapienza is Chief of Police.
Mike Realba as Detective Fisk
Shiela Shaw as FBI Agent Cowan.
Cameos: Danny Glover, Donnie Wahlberg, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis,
Louis Ferreira, Angus MacFadyen, Shawnee Smith.
Tobin Bell is still, remains, the touchstone, the bulwark of the SAW SAGA. Like any actor barely making a living in theater, he came to Hollywood to play heavies & villains. Interestingly, he claims that he never has been, & is not a fan of horror/slasher movies. Wow, some bitches will do anything for a buck; but hey, as a gentle giant he shows us what “Acting” is all about.
Costas Mandylor takes center stage as Detective Mark Hoffman, who revealed himself as Jigsaw’s accomplice at the conclusion of SAW IV (2007). There is a lot of explication, reveals for set ups on pasty traps, and plenty of new twists from his character in this one.
Scott Patterson returns for his second SAW time as Special FBI Agent Peter Strahm; even more manic & driven that he was in SAW IV, fully fueled up & pissed off when he finds out that his partner, Perez, died of the injuries incurred from sucking face with Billy the Puppet.
The fetching Betsy Russell returns as Jill Tuck, that rhymes with Duck. She has less to do in this one than in SAW IV, but has a pivotal (perhaps) scene setting up some plot business for SAW VI.
Here is another bodacious tit-shot from one of her earlier movies.
Julie Benz, camouflaged in a crappy brunette wig, plays Britt. A busy actress, she has completed 80 film projects since 1998, including INVENTING THE ABBOTTS (1997), AS GOOD AS IT GETS (1997), JAWBREAKER (1999), SATAN’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS (2000), BAD GIRLS FROM VALLEY HIGH (2005), KILL YOUR DARLINGS (2006), RAMBO (2008), THE BOONDOCK SAINTS II (2009), & a great job on 49 episodes of DEXTER (2006-2010).
It was not difficult to find some smoking tit-shots from other features.
Even without nudity, she definitely is a hot lady.
Meagan Good plays Luba, a buttoned-up character. She has completed 62 film projects since 1991, including EVE’S BAYOU (1997), BIKER BOYZ (2003), VENOM (2005), STOMP THE YARD (2007), BRICK (2008), THE LOVE GURU (2008), JUMPING THE BROOM (2011), THINK LIKE A MAN (2012), & DON JON (2013).
Here is a modest tit-shot from another feature.
She is a lovely lass; perfect for the HH Gallery of Hotties.
Laura Gordon plays the hapless Ashley. She has completed 24 film projects since 2002, most of them TV roles & short films. She also did FACE TO FACE (2011), & ALIEN STRAIN (2014).
I did manage to find one modest tit-shot from another movie.
Shiela Shah plays Agent Cowan, a Canadian actress recruited in Toronto, where, yet again SAW was filmed; SAW V was her first film role, & she has completed 10 film credits, including MAFIA (2012), HEART OF THE COUNTRY (2013), & CROSSROADS (2014).
She’s a welcome addition to the HH Gallery of Hotties.
Mark Rolston plays FBI Agent Dan Erickson. A very busy character actor, he has had a staggering 145 film roles since 1980, including ALIENS (1986), WEEDS (1987), LETHAL WEAPON II (1989), ROBOCOP II (1990), BODY OF EVIDENCE (1993), ERASER (1996), HARD RAIN (1998), SCORCHER (2002), THE DEPARTED (2006), & SAW VI (2009).
Greg Bryk plays the cowardly Mallick. He has completed 63 film roles since 1998, including A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005), SHOOT ‘EM UP (2007), THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008), RED (2010), SAW 3D (2010), THE IMMORTALS (2011).
Carlo Rota plays Charles, and he has completed 105 film projects since 1992, including MAXIMUM RISK (1996), CITY OF DARKNESS (1997), MISSION TO MARS (2000), ROCK MY WORLD (2002), THE LAST HIT (2005), SHARK CITY (2009), MAN ON A TRAIN (2011), BRICK MANSIONS (2014).
Mike Realba played Detective Fisk; he’s appeared in other SAW features. He has had 28 film credits since 1998, including THE RECRUIT (2003), DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004), GANGSTER EXCHANGE (2014).
Alright, you HH wing nut lovelies, here is your favorite feature; my behemoth effort to recap the highlights, thrusts, & red herring meanderings with the:
Oh wonderful, we are treated from the Get with the LIONSGATE Logo being incredibly splattered, with all of its gears, coils, & gates covered, dripping with hunks of blood & gore.
Open on a rainy night, & dolly up to a dirty scarred yellow door in some warehouse.
Inside we find a buff young man strapped to a table, collared, tethered, held down in a Pendulum Trap.
–Flash card informs us that this is a David Hackl film.
A muscular man struggling violently with leather straps & chains. His body is festooned with White Supremacy tatts. A monitor turns on along side of him.
The most lovely Billy Puppet appears, promoted to a color image.
John: Hello Seth. I want to play a game. Right now, you are feeling helpless. This is the same helplessness you bestowed on others; but now, it’s unto you. Some would call this Karma. I call it justice. You have served 5 years of what should have been a life sentence, for murder. A technicality gave you freedom, but it inhibited you from understanding the impact of taking a life. Today, I offer you true freedom. In 30 seconds, the pendulum axe blade will drop far enough to touch your body. Within 60 seconds, it will cut your in half. To avoid the pendulum , all you have to do is destroy the things that you have killed with; your hands. You must insert your hands & push the buttons to start the devices before you. The bones in your hands will be crushed to dust. Will you destroy the things that have taken lives in order to save one, Seth? Make your choice.
Seth: Oh fuck, no! What the fuck!
Cut to a huge pendulum axe beginning to drop down from the rigging in the ceiling, & beginning the sweep of its deadly arc.
Seth continues to thrash, & curse, & scream, but he does not place his hands into the bone crushers; but then as per the SAW logic, he decides, too late of course, to put his hands into the heavy crushers. OK, OK, he said, forcing himself to put his hands into the ominous crushers.
The yard wide axe blade begins making a lethal Whooooshing sound as it draws closer. Seth, in a hallmark SAW moment panics, pulls his hands free & claws & tugs at his restraints;
We SAWHEADS know what is coming & the blood thirst wells up in our throat. He reconsiders & forces his hands back into the bone crushers. Oh fuck, fuck.
The thick dirty crusher-gears screech, & we begin to hear bones crushing in both hands; as he screams & screams, & the big axehead swings faster & closer. The twin crushers finish their medieval deed before the time is up, & they release his mangled mutilated hands. Seth: I did it, I fucking did it!!
Cut to the Timer, showing 8 seconds to spare.
But this trap, like so many others of late, was not designed for his potential escape. The steel axe blade begins to slice open the skin on his stomach, as his six-pack shrivels in recoil. The skin slices open wide, & pieces of gut, intestine, & muscle are flopping off onto the floor. He is cradling his mangled hands, screaming, going insane with pain & shock. The blood gushes are so severe that pieces of his own gut are splashing his face. He stops struggling, going into shock, & he notices a shadowy figure watching him at a filthy window in the door; an eye in a hoodie; CU of the giddy orb.
The axe blade comes to rest before it severs his backbone after most of his innards have been slung into steaming bloody piles littering the floor. Seth: What fucking more was I supposed to do?
The collar & restraints all pop open, but the device has not completely hacked him in half as Jigsaw had had threatened.
Roll the opening credits of SAW V.
Immediately we are in the middle of a SAW IV Flashback;
Agent Strahm yelling; Where’s your fucking hands? Let me see them!
Jeff: Where is my daughter?
Strahm shoots Jeff, & he goes down in a crumpled heap.
Strahm looks at what’s left of Lynn’s head, sees Amanda Young, dead, face first on the floor in a pool of dark blood, sees John Kramer, dead, his throat cut, nearly decapitated.
Suddenly the lights go out, & Strahm whips out his cop light & pistol, as someone slams the door. He kicks the door, but it will not budge.He tries to use his cell phone; no signal. He moves around with his cop light; pistol at the ready–(that two-fisted coplight/pistol move, popularized on X-FILES, I swear has been used 10,000 times in movies & TV in the last 20 years.)
He finds an open doorway, & peeks into another SAW hallway. He finds a mini-cassette recorder hanging by a clothesline; which he grabs:
John: Hello Agent Strahm. If you are hearing this, then once again, you have found what you were looking for, or so you think. Your dedication is to be commended–but I ask you if you have learned something on your journey of discovery. As the adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” The situation you find yourself in is all about trust–so I ask you, have you learned to trust me?
Strahm: Fuck you.
He moves into the dark hallway, finds another door, passes through it & continues along. Suddenly he is attacked from behind by someone in the Pig Mask:
A small smackdown, hard to see;
Strahm going to his knees, was he injected or just hit in the head?
Fade to Black:
Then a stylish shot, a tiny oblong open frame, with Strahms face in it, then Strahm waking up as the image begins to fill the screen; he realizes that his head is shoved/locked inside some kind of square glass fish bowl cage trap; one of the logos for the posters.
The light snaps on in the room. He is perched on a metal chair with the glass box on his head; two sinister fat hoses are connected to the top of it.
The camera whirling 360 degrees all around him twice, him shaking his head crazily, pounding on the glass, struggling, yelling, screaming; seeing his pistol, ID wallet, flashlight, & cell phone on a barrel top just out of reach.
He sees two 5 gallon water cooler bottles, suspended by chains, connected to the two hose that pass into the fishbowl helmet; gears turn, belts rotate, & water begins pouring into the glass helmet.
The helmet glass box completely fills with water, & he holds his breath, but quickly pulling the fountain pen out of his shirt pocket, & stabbing himself in the throat with it, performing a Rube Goldberg tracheotomy, but then, miraculously, being able to breathe through the jagged wound in his neck.
Cut to several police cars, lit up, rolling up to a crime scene. Cops suited up in riot vests, passing a man carrying a young girl, still in her pajamas, in his arms; we notice the GIDEON MEATPACKING PLANT sign behind them; the man is Detective Mark Hoffman, the little girl is Corbett Denlon, Jeff & Lynn’s missing daughter. Hoffman is playing the hero to news camera flashes, the girl is clutching the stuffed animal toy Hoffman carried around in SAW IV.
Corbett: Where’s my Dad? Where’s my Mom? as she is being handed off to paramedics, & put into an aide car.
Detective Fisk, the Asian head-shaven cop from SAW IV, put a warm blanket around Hoffman’s shoulders: Where’s Lt. Rigg?
Hoffman: He tried to help. He didn’t make it. Nobody made it.
A paramedic yells: We got a live one!
They roll out Strahm on a stretcher, holding the wound in his throat.
Cut to someone holding & reading the NEW MERCURY magazine, with John Kramer’s face on the cover. Flash to the article, complete with pics of Jigsaw & Jill Tuck. The reader is in some kind of waiting room.
Cut to Jill Tuck, also sitting in that waiting room. She goes into a lawyer’s cheesy looking office; worse than Art Blank’s in SAW IV.
Jill: Nice to meet you, Mr. Feldman, but tell me why I’m here.
Feldman: I represented your ex-husband, John. In the event of his death, I was entrusted to contact you. You can imagine my surprise when I found out who he really was. John left something for you.
Feldman tore open an envelope containing a VHS tape, then slipped into a nearby VCR.
John, in his Jigsaw red robe; If you are watching this, Jill, I’m long gone from this world. You are my heart, always have been, & you always will be. I’m not going to try & explain my actions of late. Suffice it to say, I find it difficult to forgive myself for what happened at the clinic.
Between sentences there are several cuts to Jill, whose eyes are filling with tears.
I permitted, indeed encouraged your decisions regarding the people there. I saw danger, & I should have acted sooner. I’m leaving you a box today, & its contents are of grave importance. Even though you & I did not always see eye to eye on everything, I deeply believe in you, & believe you will know what to do with these materials.
The tape ends & the lawyer gives her a large locked metal file box. She, of course, is still wearing a key on a chain around her neck, given to her a SAW or two ago, & it fits the lock. She opens the box. She peers inside, then slams the lid shut.
Cut to a police news conference; the Chief of Police is speaking:
I want to thank you all for coming here today. I want to be the first to say that the Jigsaw murders are over. The officers who gave their lives are being honored here.
Cut to several framed photos of the officers in their dress uniforms; all those cops who fell, were murdered in the other four SAW films.
But today I would like to acknowledge a special honor for a detective whose been on the case from the beginning, who proved through hard work & dedication that the people who died did not die in vain. I present to you the newly promoted Detective LT., Mark Hoffman.
Applause, applause as Hoffman rises from the dais, & accepts a plaque.
Hoffman: Thank-you very much. Throughout this ordeal, if we have learned anything, it is that human life….
Cut to more of the photos of the fallen officers, stopping at the one of Allison Kerry, looking pretty Butch in her dress blues.
…is sacred, & we’ve learned that every day life should be cherished. Justice is the backbone to every peaceful society, & today I believe that true justice has been served.
Cut to Hoffman entering his office, looking at his bulletin board, a news clipping; JIGSAW FOUND DEAD, with a photo of Hoffman carrying out Corbett Denlon. He picks up an envelope from his desk, reads the note, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE, unsigned, of course. He puts the plaque on a book shelf, right next to a framed photo of an attractive brunette. He folds & pockets the note, & walks over to the Evidence Room. He is examining some papers when an officer says: Detective Hoffman, you are wanted at the hospital–its about agent Perez.
Cut to a hospital room. Agent Strahm is setting in his hospital robe, a bandage on his windpipe, staring at an empty unmade bed with blood on the pillow.
Cut to Agent Perez listening to Billy Puppet say: Heed my warning.
She bends down ( this in SAW IV ) as Billy’s head explodes & her face is peppered with a dozen deadly darts, & Perez collapses in Strahm’s arms.
Cut to Hoffman entering that hospital room; looking around, he sees Strahm, & the bloody pillow. CU of the bloody pillow, alongside several empty syringes & medicine bottles.
Strahm: The last thing she said was your name. Why would she do that? How did you get out of that building?
Hoffman: How did you?
Strahm: On a gurney with a fucking hole in my throat–and you, with a couple of scratches & some story about how your arm straps broke. Jigsaw doesn’t make mistakes.
Hoffman: Is that you theorizing again? Because Jigsaw is dead.
Strahm: I’m not talking about him, I’m talking about you & your whole crooked fucking department.
Hoffman: My department’s gone–they’re all dead. There’s no one left.
Strahm: Besides you.
Hoffman: Fuck you, I’ve been chasing Jigsaw from the beginning, so unless you’ve got something else to say, back the fuck off. Read the damn papers; I saved that little girl.
Cut to a new character entering the hospital room, FBI Agent Dan Erickson.
Erickson: Sorry about Agent Perez; shouldn’t you be resting?
Strahm: I’m fine, Erickson.
Erickson: No, you’re not, & that’s why I’ve put you on medical leave.
Strahm: I was supposed to die in that trap.
Erickson: You should have waited for your back up.
Strahm: I want to talk to Jill Tuck one last time.
Erickson: You’re off the case, Peter. Over a dozen bodies were found at the scene; two of them were cops. You rushed in, endangered yourself & others. I repeat, you’re off the case.
Strahm: On whose orders?
Erickson: Mine. I’m sorry, Peter, but for you it’s over.
Cut to Hoffman entering Jigsaw’s old workshop. He picks up a red piece of fabric that was covering a scale model of several trap rooms. Then we see five monitors showing all 5 of the rooms. Hoffman reaches down & positions a toy figure in the first trap room (alright, gorehounds, let’s trap it up!).
CU on the 5 toy figures, then fade/cut to the five real victims in the actual trap room.
A petite blond is being pulled to her feet by thin cables connected to her neck collar. She looks around the room. Across from the cabled victims are five glass boxes on pedestals, each holding a key.
The other victims are stirring, a black woman,(Luba), dressed in a pants suit says: What have you done to me?
Blond (Ashley): I didn’t do anything.
A young man (Mallick) then said, It’s Jigsaw! I knew this was going to happen to me. This is what he does.
A thin brunette (Britt) said: It’s not Jigsaw, he’s dead. Haven’t you read a paper or watched TV lately.
Luba: Whoever it is, they’re watching us–pointing to a CCTV camera on the wall.
Britt: Just make sure we follow the rules.
(Hey, usually the victim who says that line is a participant in the crime.)
A bald man in glasses (Charles) figures out that if they struggle too much, the cables would pull them into razor jaws above them, & cut their heads off. There are two ominous timers in the room.
A monitor snaps on, and you guessed it, Billy the Puppet spouts off: John: Hello & welcome to the game. From birth you all have been given the advantages given to few others, yet through poor moral decisions, you used these advantages to selfishly further only yourselves at the expense of others.
(This tired old Jigsaw mantra is becoming tedious, but what the hell…)
But today your singular way of thinking will be put to the test; today five will become one, with the common goal of survival. You are all now connected. A cable runs through your collar devices which can be pulled tight & you most certainly will be decapitated by the mounted razor heads. The only way to remove the collars is with a key placed in the glass boxes before you. (We notice on a CU of Ashley that the padlocks are tiny compared to some of the massive locks from past traps). However if one of you moves toward the key box, a 60 second timer will begin that affects all of you. In choosing how to react to this situation, your lifelong instinct will tell you to do one thing–but I implore you to do the opposite. Let the games begin.
The second digital timer clicks on registering 15 minutes.
Mallick: Someone has to die.
They consider not moving until they notice several jars of nails; bombs hanging from the ceiling.
Charles to Ashley: You’re a fire inspector; what do we do?
Mallick: How do you know her?
Britt: We need to stay calm.
Luba: We need to quickly figure this out. We’re all here for a reason, & somehow we’re all connected; that’s what the message said.
Charles: This is a fucking game–the less we know about each other, the better.
He pushes back one of Mallick’s shirt sleeves, & we see junkie track marks. Not hard to see how you fucked up your life, is it?
Mallick: Fuck you. Fuck all of you!
He rushes forward, jerking them all backward, pulling the activation pin.
The cables tightening up, pulling on all of them.
The victims being jerked around,
screaming, groaning, weeping, cursing–
Fuck, fuck, fuck, oh fuck!
They discover that they can fight against the cables. Mallick, Luba, Britt, & Charles make it to the boxes, smash the glass, snag a key, & unlock themselves. Ashley got left behind, screaming.
Cut to four collars snapping back empty.
Cut to Ashley being lifted up to the razors as her head is sliced off & flops forward onto the floor.
A door opens, the second timer still registers 12 minutes.
Charles: Unless you want to be shredded by these nail bombs, I suggest we head into the next room.
Britt is busy collecting all the discarded keys.
Mallick: What the hell are you doing?
Britt: Being smart.
Cut to Detective Hoffman, in his car, trying to reach Agent Strahm. He is informed that Strahm is no longer on the case, & is connected to Agent Erickson’s voice mail:
Hoffman: This is Detective Hoffman. I’m trying to contact Agent Strahm, but for some reason I can’t seem to track him down. Please call me.
He writes Dan Erickson’s name in his little cop note pad.
Cut to Strahm, later that night, at the FBI office, sneaking past Erickson busy in another room, working late. Strahm uses his ID card to open his own office. He opens a search mode on his lap top, and types in Detective Mark Hoffman. NO CRIMINAL RECORD flashes in red letters.
Cut to an Evidence Room, & thumbs through all the evidence files on the Jigsaw murders; Hoffman was present in all the investigations. He gathers up all the files and leaves. Back in his office, he calls up the Seth Baxter case. A young woman had been viciously murdered by Baxter. Another article identified the woman as Detective Hoffman’s sister. Flash to the photo on Hoffman’s office bookcase.
Another news article has the headline, SETH BAXTER FOUND DEAD, the murder identified as a Jigsaw crime.
Cut to Strahm leaving his office, bumping into Erickson.
Erickson: What are you doing here?
Strahm: Just grabbing some stuff from the office. I’m taking your advice, taking some time off to heal up. I’ll keep in touch.
Cut to Strahm entering the Pendulum Trap murder scene.
Cut to Seth being disemboweled.
Strahm opening his bag looking at the Baxter file.
Several photos of Seth cut to pieces.
Strahm exiting, but noticing a wiped clean peephole on the window of the exit door. He peers into it, & we see Seth in shock peering back, & we hear the terrible whoosh of the pendulum axe. Hoffman hooded in the rain, turning away from the peephole. Someone carving a jigsaw puzzle piece into Seth’s dead torso.
Cut to further in the past.
Detective Fisk: Hoffman, we’ve got another body; looks like another Jigsaw victim. Are you up for this?
Cut to the Seth Baxter Pendulum Trap murder investigation scene.
Hoffman: Jesus, I know him. He was my sister’s boyfriend.
Fisk: This was the guy that murdered your sister?
Hoffman: He was sentenced to 25 years to life, but he was released in just 5 years on a technicality.
Fisk: Well, I would say that justice was served.
CU of the cut-out wound on the torso, shaped like a jigsaw puzzle piece.
Cut back to Strahm at the peephole.
Strahm: You killed him & made it look like a Jigsaw murder trap. I got you.
Cut to the four victims in the second trap room.
Britt to Mallick: Don’t close the door yet, it probably will set off a timer.
They are beginning to find out each other’s vocation.
Luba works at City Planning, & has greenlighted a way for her father to build a new sports stadium.
Britt is an executive in a Real Estate Development company, probably involved in several shady land procurement deals.
Mallick won’t cop to anything but being unmarried & unemployed.
Charles is an investigative journalist for the Herald.
Mallick: That’s a massive accomplishment; you work for a Gossip Rag.
Charles: Bite your fucking tongue.
They notice fruit jars hanging from the ceiling.
Charles: Let’s do this fucking thing.
He slams the door shut, the timer starts.
A monitor snaps on, & our special pal Billy Puppet does his act:
John: Hello, & welcome to the next test. These four barred tunnels contain chambers ( We see the three large circular tunnel openings, all barred & locked). Some of these chambers harbor your safety. However to access them you will need a key. But only three of the keys will fit the locks. The keys are in the glass jars hanging from the ceiling. Move quickly though, because if the clocks click all the way down, the explosives in the corners of the room will detonate. With only three points of safety, which one of you will be left out? Make your choice.
Mallick: Oh fuck me.
Cu of a 60 second timer clicking.
They all find long poles & begin smashing the jars. Each one contains a metal tube, but most of them are empty. Suddenly Charles smacks Mallick on the head, knocking him down.
The women scream No, no, don’t!
Charles: Shut up you fucking bitches–this is survival of the fittest.
The remaining three victims get real busy smashing jars. Britt finds the first key, opens a tube gate & crawls in.
( A lot more than 60 seconds has already gone by)
Mallick is beginning to regain consciousness. Charles takes his key.
Charles: Better luck next time, rich boy.
Suddenly Luba smacks Charles in the head with a pole.
Luba: Survival of the fittest, my ass!
9 seconds left on the timer.
Charles struggling to get up.
Britt in her tube chamber.
Luba in her tube chamber.
Mallick crawling into his open door on the third chamber.
3-2-1 clicked the fucking timer.
All three chamber tubes are lit up with the explosion, & the sound is nearly deafening.
Cut back to Strahm, in his office, going through the ten Jigsaw files he had left on his desk; apparently not missed yet from the Evidence Room.
Cut to Detectve Lt. Hoffman & Detective Fisk:
Hoffman: You keep me posted.
Cut to Strahm; After Seth you were involved in every investigation.
Cut to Hoffman, finding another envelope with the same note in it: I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. (WTF, how many of these notes did Hoffman receive? Perhaps Strahm didn’t write them? My head literally begins to spin like the devil bitch in THE EXORCIST. Jesus H. Christ, this plot flashes to so many different parts of the past, ancient, nearer, or what might be the present, even I feel off-balance. It’s no wonder the critics turned ugly with the reviews. For me, even viewing the SAW SAGA consecutively, it can be damn difficult to keep up with the clues & connections–and fuck me, what about those folks who might wander into Part V without having seen all the others?)
Cut to Strahm wearing an Ah-hah look in CU.
Cut to Hoffman looking perplexed.
Cut to Hoffman entering his apartment building, checking his mail, then passing a woman in red (Amanda Young?) coming out of the elevator.
While waiting for the next elevator, he hears a loud angry voice. He draws his weapon. A door opens suddenly & a large vicious dog leaps at him, followed by a large black woman holding its leash; she says: Damn it, come on, Pee Wee.
(Classic red herring startle moment.)
The elevator door opens & 5 people get out. There is only one person who stays in it. We see it’s John Kramer, dressed in a nice suit.
Hoffman: What floor are you going to?
John slams him into the wall, & injects him with a sedative. John, looking down at Hoffman on the floor: I think we are both going to the same place.
Cut to Hoffman coming to, lashed securely to a chair; a shotgun lashed to his chest,connected to cables that are connected to him. John, dressed in sweat clothes is sitting next to him sipping coffee.
John: You know why you’re here, don’t you? They say that imitation
is sincerest form of flattery–but I find it somewhat for being given credit for work that’s not mine;
He holds up a newspaper article describing the Seth murder.
especially inferior work. Like you, I understand what it’s like to lose family–not be able to protect loved ones. It’s a powerless feeling.
Hoffman begins to squirm in the chair, which tightens the cables, which begin to squeeze on the shotgun trigger.
I wouldn’t do that.
John swings a standing mirror around so Hoffman can fully appreciate the trap he is ensnared in.
Careful, it has a hair trigger. What do you see in the mirror?
(Wait a fucking moment, the Billy the Puppet Jigsaw tape left for Seth in the Pendulum trap was narrated by John, so WTF?)
Vengeance can change a person, it can make you do things you never thought you might do. But unlike you, I have never actually killed anyone. I always give my subjects a chance of escape. They determine their own fate.
Hoffman: You call this situation a fucking chance?
John: We’ll see, for our game has just begun.
Hoffman: You don’t even know me.
John: I know you. I followed you while you pursued me, and I know about your sister.
Cut to Hoffman hugging his smiling sister.
John: I know she was your only family.
Cut Hoffman being held back by others at his sister’s murder scene, her in a bloody slip, her throat cut, lying on her back, head & arms over the edge of the bed.
Cut to Hoffman getting drunk.
You sat in bars until closing, drank until were ready to pass out since you could not really sleep. Then you staggered to your car, only to start over again the next day. Then I discovered what you do for recreation.
Cut to Seth being eviscerated.
By the way, the blade on your pendulum was inferior. If you want a true sharp edge on a blade, you have to use tempered steel.
(Perhaps that’s why Seth was not fully cut in half.)
Tempering a blade is better for the long haul.
He opens a straight razor.
Are you in this for the long haul, detective?
Hoffman: Hey, I’ve been a cop for more than 20 years.
John; We both know that the stats for repeat offenders is 67.5%.
(About the same as the audience approval rating for this film.)
Most criminals are back in prison within 3 years. So you might look at what you did to Seth Baxter as a kind of public service.
Hoffman: She was my only family–he didn’t deserve a chance.
John: EVERYONE deserves a chance!
Hoffman: You didn’t see what he did to her!
John: All killing is distasteful to me. I tell you there is a better, more efficient way.
John sits on a stool close to Hoffman, and places the detective’s finger on the hair shotgun trigger.
Hoffman: What the fuck do you want from me?
John: I want to see if you have what it takes to survive.
Hoffman screams & pulls the trigger, & it clicks on an empty chamber.
John: When a subject survives my methods, he or she is instantly rehabilitated. Do you want a chance? OK, I’ll give you a chance.
Staring at his own reflection in the mirror, he said:
I am the man they call Jigsaw. It is your duty to arrest me & take me in–but now I know who you are & what you’ve done. (So was it John who sent all those notes?)
Hoffman: So this is blackmail?
John: No, no, no, this is redemption–just giving you an option, that’s all. Now you could arrest me, but in doing so, your life ends as you know it–or you could explore a different form of rehabilitation that will allow you to sleep at night.
Using the razor, John cuts him out of the leather restraints, & frees the shotgun from Hoffman’s chest. Hoffman stares down at the discarded straight razor & considers using it, saying: Or I could kill you right now.
John: But you’re not a true killer, & that is your dilemma. The information I have on you is available to send to others. It will be released in the event of my disappearance.
Hoffman picks up the straight razor: No one will believe your word over mine.
John: Are you willing to take that risk.
He breaks open the double-barreled shotgun–there was a shell in the second barrel. Are you eager to protect a corrupt justice system that puts a murderer back on the streets. How would your sister feel about all this? You are at the crossroads, detective–make your choice.
Hoffman puts the razor down.
Cut back to Strahm, still hovering over the Jigsaw files in his office.
Strahm: Hoffman, you fucker, did you help Jigsaw do all of them?
Cut to Erickson working late in the office, hearing something, but Strahm is already gone before the Agent can find out who it was.
Erickson calls Hoffman:
This is Special Agent Erickson returning your call. Did you have something to discuss about the Jigsaw case?
Hoffman: Yes, Strahm has this theory that might be an additional accomplice who helped Jigsaw, someone other than Amanda Young, someone currently unknown, but someone on the inside, with access to files.
Erickson: An interesting theory, detective–what do you say we connect again in the morning?
Hoffman: You got it.
Cut to Erickson in the FBI Evidence Room, seeing that all the Jigsaw files are now missing, all the file boxes are empty.
Cut to a steaming pile of human entrails, an arm, some feet, an ear; what’s left of Charles. Britt & Luba emerge from their tunnel chambers. The room is still full of some kind of tear gas mist, which keeps them coughing. Mallick emerges from his tube. They eye each other, & Luba picks up a pipe for protection.
Cut to Strahm entering a former Jigsaw trap room, the barb wire cage where Paul was killed in SAW (2004).
Strahm: How did they get you?
Cut to the past, with Paul in his car drinking from a whiskey bottle, highly agitated; breaking the bottle, and beginning to slice his wrists with the jagged glass. He hears a noise outside, & when he gets out of the car to investigate, he is attacked by two assailants in Pig Masks. One of them sinks a syringe into his hip.
Paul: I will fucking kill you… as the sedative takes effect.
The two men take off the masks; it is Jigsaw & Hoffman.
Cut to Strahm, looking at the kill cage, the still bloody barbs; then stares at the stairs leading down into the room.
Cut to Jigsaw coming down those stairs; carrying a mini-tape recorder. He sets the timer for 3 minutes, then sets down next to the cage. He has the shaved head look. Then he snaps on the recorder (which seems odd since he could just talk directly to Paul, who is in front of him in the cage.)
John: Hello Paul. I want to play a game. Did you cut yourself in order to get some attention? Tonight you find that if you want to live, you will have to cut yourself again. How much blood will you shed to stay alive?
Cut Paul inside the cage, mostly naked, with barbed wire wrapped around him in several places.
Paul losing control, screaming, thrashing about wildly, cutting himself to shreds.
Cut to Strahm finding a door under the stairs, & investigating the space. There is a naked bulb, which he pulls a chain to turn on; cracks in the door allow someone visual access to the other room.
Cut to Jigsaw & Hoffman in that room, watching Paul’s test.
Hoffman: I didn’t expect it to affect me so much.
John: The heart must feel no remorse. This can never be personal.
Hoffman: Let’s just go.
John: No, you’re not done yet. You must see & understand the difference between killing & rehabilitation.
Hoffman: There is another detective on this case; his name is Tapp, & he is getting close.
John: I know who he is. I need you to lead him so someone for me; a doctor, a healer who is in need of some healing.
(He hands Hoffman a physician’s pen light–the one that will almost framed Dr. Gordon in SAW (2004)).
Cut to Strahm going over the Jigsaw files in front of him.
Cut to Detective Tapp placing the evidence pen light on the desk in front of Dr. Gordon; Is this yours, doctor?
Cut to Hoffman dragging the unconscious subjects into the trap in SAW II (2005). John is placing the pistol into the key trap on the back of the first door. We see several of the characters from SAW II on the floor.
Hoffman: Somehow you assume this will goes as planned, go a certain way?
John: I assume nothing. I try to anticipate the possibilities & then let the game play out.
Hoffman: Then why do you need a participant in the game?
John: To assure that the rules are followed. She won’t make decisions for anyone–she’ll improvise & adjust & other choices to the others.
Hoffman: That leaves a lot to chance.
John hands a bullet to Hoffman, who spins it into the pistol cylinder.
John: If you are good at anticipating the human mind responses, it leaves nothing to chance. It’s time to begin.
As they exit, & the camera pans the subjects in the trap, it is obvious that several of the damn characters are not being played by the original actors.
Cut to Mallick entering Room 3 in the new trap game, finding a grungy bathtub partially full of dirty water. Britt & Luba are right behind him. A timer is pre-set at 15 minutes, hooked to several more lethal bombs in the room. They spend some time discovering, discussing the dastardly things each had done that bonded them to the others, that got them into this game.
Mallick: So we all are bags of shit & deserve to be here.
Britt closes the door; another CCTV monitor snaps on, & the hilarious Billythe Puppet speaks:
John: Hello & welcome. You must all be eager to learn about the most important transformation asked of you. The game before you is designed to bridge the gap between you all. In order to release the 5 locks on the door exiting this room, the 5 electrical currents controlling the locks, the circuits must be closed. The only real solution is to find a way to connect all 5 cords to the bath water; which will close the circuits & the door will pop open. But you must act quickly, for within 3 minutes an electrical current will surge through this room locking the doors forever. Who will bridge the gap? The choice is yours.
Mallick: The damn cords won’t reach. How are we supposed to do this?
Luba, holding her pipe: You are going to get into this tub, & we’re going to hook up 5 cables to your body.
Mallick: So, you’re going to kill me too?
Luba: Get in asshole.
Mallick: No, I think I’m more of a shower kind of guy. I don’t think that I will do this.
Luba: You get in the fucking bath tub!
Mallick: Flipping her double middle fingers: Fuck you, you fucking bitch! You put yourself in the fucking tub!
Luba whacks him with a pipe, & he falls into the brackish tub.
Clock shows 13:20 & ticking.
Britt from behind Luba stabs her in the neck with a screwdriver, & Luba crumples in a heap. Mallick struggles out of the tub: Now you’re going to kill her?
Britt: I didn’t trust her, now shut the fuck up & help me with the body.,
They put Luba, who is now bleeding profusely but still alive, into the tub. Mallick hooks up one of the hot cables to her hand, & one of the five locks pops open.
Britt: Careful not to let any part of your body touch hers.
As each new hot cable is attached to her hands & feet, electric shocks surge through her body, & she begins to shiver like a bitch poodle in heat, shitting tacks like the Bride of Frankenstein after her primitive dildo shorted out. They connect the last clamp to her neck, & the circuit is completed. Now all the locks have opened up, & they rush out of the room, leaving Luba sparking in the dark water, doing the death shimmy.
Cut to Agent Erickson working in his office. An agent brings in Jill Tuck.
Jill: Thanks for seeing me so late in the day.
Erickson: No problem, so what do you have for me?
Jill: I’m being followed.
Erickson: Sounds like a police problem.
Jill: I don’t think they can help me, because it’s you, the FBI. It started with Strahm & Perez. But now I’m still being followed.
Erickson: By who–who would be following you now?
Jill: I think it’s Agent Strahm
Erickson: Why would he be following you?
Jill: I don’t know.
Cut to Strahm, now in the Surgery room at the Gideon’s warehouse. The death bed of Jigsaw is still covered in blood.
Cut to John Kramer still in the bed, sipping oxygen, with Hoffman next to him.
John: You have something Amanda doesn’t–your objectivity. I need you to set up a game. It may not be clear to you right now, but I assure you that the people being tested are all connected, part of something much larger. So in the end, all the pieces will fit together.
In the background we hear Lynn Denlon screaming at Amanda Young as the doctor is being brought toward the surgery room. John hands Hoffman a file folder.
Hoffman: What’s this?
John: Time to play a game.
As Hoffman exits through a secret door in the wall, we still hear the two women yelling at each other. The cut to a scene from SAW III as Amanda pushes Lynn in a wheel chair into the room with John.
Cut to Hoffman in a dark hallway looking at the file that was given to him. We see photos of the 5 new victims that will play the game in SAW V.
Cut to Strahm, alone in the deserted surgery room:
Fuck, we were all supposed to die.
Eric Matthews dangling, firing into the doorway, wounding Rigg coming into the room, while the two massive ice blocks swing down and kill Matthews. Rigg now on the floor, pointing his gun at Art Blank. CU of the explosive device on Art’s back. Strahm shooting Jeff Denlon. Strahm awakening with his head in the fish bowl trap.
Strahm: Hoffman was supposed to be the hero, the sole survivor.
Cut Erickson walking to his car.
Hoffma is in another car, watching him. He opens Strahm’s old cell phone, & calls Erickson, who sees Strahm’s name on the screen of his phone.
Erickson: Peter, where the hell are you?
Hoffman hangs up on him.
Erickson calls his office, & they download the location of Strahm’s cell phone, but the message is NO SIGNAL FOUND.
Cut to Jigsaw’s old workshop as Hoffman enters. He looks at the five trap monitors.
Ashley is dead in Room 1.
Charles is dead in Room 2.
Luba is dead in Room 3.
Cut to Room 4 where Britt & Mallick are staring at another strange trap.
Mallick: What the fuck is this one?
Britt: It’s our next nightmare.
There are 5 small individual traps, all connected to the escape door.
Britt: When the beaker fills up with our blood, it releases the lock on the door; looks like a set amount of blood will do the trick.
Mallick: You still have the keys from the first room. Try them in that door. It might work. This door has a keyhole.
Britt tries the keys, but none of them fit the lock.
Mallick: Why are there 5 slots in this machine; shouldn’t there only be one?
Britt begins to stare at her 5 keys more closely.
Cut to Hoffman exiting the police station, & getting into his car. Strahm is watching him from another car. Hoffman drives off, & Strahm follows him.
Cut to an FBI agent contacting Erickson; Strahm’s cell phone signal was finally traced to an address: 1293 Sandburst Drive; where Hoffman had left it, turning it back on. Erickson gets in his car, and heads toward that address (all three cars screech their tires loudly as they drive off).
Cut to Britt & Mallick standing back in the bath tub room.
Britt: All the keys were identical. I tell you all 5 of us were meant to survive each game. If all five of us took a hot wire in here, it would only have given each of us a mild shock, closing the circuit. In Room 1, it only took one key to escape the door, we all could have gotten out of there alive. In Room 2, the tube tunnels were large enough for more than one person. We were supposed to work together. That’s what the Jigsaw message was trying to tell us.
They return to Room 4 & close the door. A monitor snaps on, & cute littleBilly the puppet pontificates, John: Hello & welcome. This journey has been one of despair. The human body is an astonishing durable creation. It contains 10 pints of blood, but it can survive with only half of that. The device before you is one of sacrifice. You must donate blood to the marked levels in the beakers. the 10 pints of blood can come from any of you, all of you; that doesn’t matter. What does matter is time. In 15 minutes if the central beaker is not filled, the bombs in the corners of the room will explode, & the doors will be sealed forever. So I ask you, how much blood will you give in order to survive?
Britt: OK, one person can fill the beaker with 10 pints of blood & die, or two people can give 5 pints each, & maybe live. What are we going to do?
Cut to Hoffman entering a building. Strahm drives up & sees him going in. He, of course, gets out & follows Hoffman.
Cut to a timer registering 10:34 minutes left.
Mallick: I lied, we are connected. Charles was writing a story about me, on
what I did that killed 8 people. Once I was offered heroin to bring down an abandoned building, but fuck, it was not abandoned. There were 8 people in it, & they all died. I got caught, but my father spread some cash around & I was released.
Cut to Strahm, gun drawn, entering the building after Hoffman, coming into an apartment. He sees a trap door in the floor. He, of course, opens it, and starts down some stairs into the darkness below, coplight & pistol held out in front of him.
Cut to Britt: We killed 8 people & stole some property & nobody cares.
Mallick: Nobody cares? The families of those 8 people care, the Feds cared, & I cared, I cared!
Britt: But you didn’t face justice; none of us did.
Mallick: That fucking building was yours, wasn’t it. You knew that there were still 8 people living in it. You are a monster!
Britt: So are you.
Mallick: Yes, we both deserve to be here.
They begin to prepare to donate their 5 pints of blood each.
Erckson arriving at a building.
Strahm creeping along in a dark room.
CU of a swath of blood on the floor.
Erickson entering a building.
Strahm shining his coplight.
Erickson shining his coplight.
Cut to the pair in Room 4.
Mallick: We must do this together, at the same time.
Erickson moving slowly, cautiously.
Strahm opening another door.
Erickson walking in a hallway.
Mallick: We will go on 3.
(No immediate clue as to where any of them are, or how close to each other they are).
Cut to Britt & Mallick.
CU of a saw blade whirring.
CU of the fear in their faces.
Cut to a flash of Strahm.
They both scream, groan, begin putting their hands into the trap.
Flash of Erickson.
Flash of Strahm.
Cut to Mallick: Three!
They both shove their hand into the blades.
They both start screaming.
Blood spurts throughout the glass chamber.
The central beaker begins to fill with blood.
Cut to Strahm, in a room staring at an upright glass coffin, filled with broken glass, or some clear chunks of plastic, or ice, or some shit. A mini-cassette recorder is resting on the shards..
Cut to Mallick & Britt rolling their eyes,
the spinning blades slicing into their hands,
the blood whooshing out,
the beaker filling up.
20 rapid Jump Cuts:
The camera whirls around them, blades spinning & slicing, screams, howls, grunts, the beaker continuing to fill up.
Cut to Strahm picking up the cassette recorder.
We hear Hoffman’s voice this time: Hello, Agent Strahm. If you are hearing this then you have once again found what you are looking for, or so you think. Your dedication is to be commended. But I ask you if you have learned anything on your journey of discovery? As the old adage goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”. The situation you find yourself in is one of trust. Have you learned to trust me yet? The only way to survive this room is by entering this glass box. There will be pain, but you have a chance for survival.
Hoffman is in another room listening to the tape too.
However if you choose not to get into the box, you will never be heard of again. Your body will never be found. You will simply vanish. Have you learned enough to trust me? Will you heed my warning, for if you do not, this room will become your tomb, & my legacy will become yours. Make your choice.
Cut to Erickson in a hallway opening a door.
Cut to Mallick & Britt, very weak, the beaker full, the door unlocked.
Britt: We did it. We won, we won. We worked together.
They both hold up & stare at their bloody hands & forearms.
Cut to Erickson discovering that he is in Jigsaw’s work shop, where Hoffman left Strahm’s cell phone next to the 5 trap monitors.
Cut to Hoffman entering the newest trap room. Strahm seems to be gone.
Cut to Erickson studying the scale models of the 4 trap rooms. He then notices a steaming cup of coffee on the monitor table, & he begins to check all around him, seeing the 5 victim photos on the desk in front of the trap monitors.
Cut to Hoffman in the glass coffin trap room.
Strahm comes up behind him. They tussle. Hoffman is knocked into the glass coffin, & Strahm slams the clear lid down.
Strahm: I’ve got you, you mother fucker.
Cut to Erickson, seeing an open door behind the monitors. He hears Britt groaning. He approaches the door. He finds Britt on the floor, & we see into the other room that Mallick is lying on the floor alongside the trap machine. Erickson holds Britt gently: Who did this to you?
But Britt seems too weak & whoosy to respond, only muttering: We won, we worked together.
Erickson calls for back up & immediate medical assistance.
Cut to Hoffman trapped in the glass coffin, with Strahm gloating over him. CU of the door locking itself.
Strahm: Oh fuck!
Cut back to Erickson, who calls Strahm’s cell phone. It rings only ten feet away on the table.
Erickson: Jesus, Peter, what have you done?
He picks up a top secret file, which has his picture in it, & his data.
Cut back to Hoffman struggling in the glass coffin. Strahm pounds on the locked door, then returns to the glass coffin.
Strahm: Tell me how to open the fucking door!
Gears turn & creak, & the upright glass coffin begins to fold back into the floor. Hoffman begins to smile like a dog smelling bacon frying. Then Strahm hears more gears turning, huge ones, & he sees the four walls are beginning to close in on him.
25 Jump Cuts
Scenes from this film, SAW V.
Cut to Erickson, putting out an APB; The suspect’s name is Peter Strahm. Yeah, that is correct, Special Agent Peter Strahm.
Cut to a frantic Strahm pounding on the door, kicking at the thick glass on the coffin, Hoffman smiling harder, the walls closing in faster now. The coffin is almost flush with the floor. Strahm stands on it: Tell me how to open this door you fucking son of a bitch! Then he fires his pistol thrice at the bullet proof glass, and screams:
I know who you are!
Strahm panics & tries to push back against the moving metal walls. The glass coffin is now completely flush with the floor, out of harm’s way. The moving walls have reduced the size of the room to a 5 foot square. Strahm tries to climb out.
CU of Strahm’s arms & hands being snapped in two, being crushed, blood splashing the camera, Hoffman observing calmly, Strahm screaming & screaming, his limbs all snapping & being crushed. Blood covers the glass coffin, covering up Hoffman’s malevolent shit-eating dog smile.
The final shot being of Strahm being completely smashed into grape pulp.
Roll the END credits.
TRIVIA: Julie Benz was so affected by the intensity of her role, that she had nightmares. ( You know this note seems to surface on every SAW film, but in this case, I wonder how Julie felt about her death scene in the bath tub filled with blood in her last DEXTER episode?).
This was the first sequel in the SAW SAGA not to open in first place on its opening week end at the U.S. box office. Real animal blood was used for the Strahm death trap, but the director said that they certainly wouldn’t have used it if they had known how bad it was going to smell. Scott Patterson was apprehensive about sticking his head in a sealed glass box that was going to be filled with water. The gig did not go well, & it required several takes as Patterson panicked & bailed out.
The scene in the beginning of this film, where Hoffman carries out Corbett Denlon was actually partially shot for the ending of SAW IV (2007), but not used for it. Danny Glover was offered a chance to reprise his role of Tapp for some of the flashbacks, but he declined because he was too busy on another film. Of course, Seth’s trap in the prologue was completely inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s THE PIT & THE PENDULUM.
Screenwriters Marcus Dunstan & Patrick Melton appear briefly on the elevator where Hoffman first meets John Kramer. The footage of the actors in the main four latest trap scenes were shot in sequential order. The original screenplay called for Julie Benz & Meagan Good to go through their scenes only wearing a bra & panties, but at the last minute, the idea was scraped (too bad.)
When director David Hackl screened the film for composer Charlie Clouser, he had to turn his back on the last scene, for it made him ill. The guillotine blades on the first trap were all in a V-shape, as in the Roman numeral for five, SAW V. The broken glass shards that filled the glass coffin were made of rubber. This is the first film in the franchise in which the lead character does not say Game Over. This film represents a rare occasion, where the moving walls in a trap room actually crush someone; it is mostly arranged for the character(s) to escape at the last moment.
This movie, regardless of the critics trashing it, was Liongate’s tenth biggest grossing film in the U.S. & Canada. Scott Patterson had to re-record his line in the hospital scenes to make his voice sound more hoarse. Mark Rolston shaved off his mustache immediately after the filming because his wife & daughter dislike it. (I am facing a similar crisis, having grown a mustache for a play I’m performing it, & my wife hates it.). When Erickson is talking with Jill Tuck, the photograph on his desk is of he & his real wife. The role of Erickson was originally meant for actor William Forsythe, but he had to turn it down because of scheduling conflicts.
The opening pendulum trap was a working model. However for the times when the actor was underneath it, the metal blade was replaced with a foam one. Likewise with the hand-crushers; but the foam ones looked too fake in close ups, so they used clunky metal ones crushing prosthetic hands. This is the first film in the franchise in which Billy the Puppet does not appear in person.
Rotten Tomatoes reported that this film had 12% Critic’s Approval, & 53% Audience Approval.
Claudia Pulg of USA TODAY wrote: “SAW V is a terrible combination of grisly & tedious. Let’s just call it bloody dull.”
Ben Rayner of the TORONTO STAR wrote: “It was woefully ponderous, convoluted, deadly dull, & improbable.”
Steve Newton of GEORGIA STRAIGHT wrote: “Whoever is responsible for designing those disgustingly grungy porn chambers of death deserves an Oscar for audacity.”
Michael Dequina of THE MOVIE REPORT wrote: “Being the fifth annual go-round for this durable splatter franchise, this sad film has no real power to change any minds.”
Linda Cook of THE QUAD CITY TIMES wrote: “Yes, it is just more of the same SAW formula, but it you’ve been SAWing away for the last four years, you will need to catch this one too.”
John Belfuss of the COMMERCIAL APPLE wrote: “ This one actually is a cut above its pretentious predecessors–the very graphic set pieces, including an inspired tribute to Edgar Allen Poe, deliver the gory goods.”
Having been your loyal SAW reporter for five times now, I have endeavored to stay on top of the plot threads, twists, turns, & surprises in this SAGA. I was pleased that Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan remained as writers. They seem to be wizards of mining probable connections to the SAWs of the past, & coming up with interesting directions for the story to go, finding ways to keep Tobin Bell busy in divers flashbacks, deepening the mystery, fleshing out the back story.
David Hackl, as a production designer elevated to director, did an OK job at the helm, but did not dazzle me with innovation; probably listened a lot to the fine cinematographer David A. Armstrong when it came to shot planning & lensing.
One of the strong points of this franchise for me is that they seem to cast good actors in the roles; too often a Splatter Fest film doesn’t offer much in the acting department; even though it sometimes offers more nudity to distract us. I, for one would have enjoyed seeing Julie Benz & Meagan Good parading around the whole film in their sexy underwear; but then, that’s just me. I think the cinematography, for the most part was rock steady, & fairly well lit, & the rock video jump cut bullshit shots were handled well; no stomach churning or headaches appeared for me.
On our new HH scale of 10 stars, I would give it 6/10; not quite as good as SAW IV, but still very watchable. The Critics can kiss my ass since it is obvious they do not keep up on the franchise particulars, & their research is lacking in luster.