Saw IV

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"You think it is over, but the games have just begun "

Oct 3rd, 2009

Clearly if you've made it this far into Jigsaw's celluloid history you're a fan of the franchise and already know the end of Saw III, but in case you haven't do not read this review and get your arse back to watching part 3.

With Jigsaw and Amanda dead I had no desire for another Saw film, at least not for a couple of years. Leigh Whannell managed to escape Jigsaw's grasp and stepped away from the series leaving me with doubts who could fill his shoes. Amazingly with the announcement of Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston as screenwriters my anticipation went through the roof.

I loved Feast (thats the first Feast movie this was reviewed before I had seen the sequels)it had a great sense of humor and was violent enough to satisfy my bloodlust so with the same writers on board this had to be good right? Tobin Bell signed up for 3 more movies (a new trilogy, interesting) and Darren Lynn Bousmen was returning as director (Apparently part of a deal so he could make REPO). Maybe I was ready for more.

As with each passing film, characters who took a supporting role became main players and this time it was Detective Rigg. Finding himself forced to play through one of Jigsaw's games, we are left to question who is the new Jigsaw killer and where the hell is Jeff (see arsehole in last flick). Parallel to this ,John Krammer's history is unveiled in a series of flashbacks –all a bit Lost for my tastes.

Every year before the release of the next movie I go back and watch the other films back to back (a task which is getting harder to complete with the growing library) to get in the Saw state of mind. Going into this one I had a good idea who the new killer was (**SPOILER** you see the character stealing evidence in Part 3) so I didn't expect the revelation to blow me away all I wanted from this was some great traps and new characters I could care about.

The opening of the film was absolute entertainment; the autopsy of Jigsaw was the goriest moment yet – as the title card hit I wasn't worried this was going to be great, boy was I wrong.

Beginning with the story; it was dull, the main thread was unbelievable, Detective Rigg unlike all those before him was not confined to one location so why he would continue with Jigsaw's game never made any sense. To top this storyline off we had a character that seems to have lost all his personality as he grunts his way through tough decisions, Lyriq Bent – what happened?

With Rigg being the last of the officers to face Jigsaw's tyranny we are introduced to two FBI agents as they try to track him down. They serve no purpose other than a weak link to Jigsaw's flashbacks. Everything about them grated on me, boring dialogue, no chemistry.

Even In death you can't keep Jigsaw down, the flashbacks were the highlight of the movie for me. Tobin Bell has John Krammer down and here we get to experience him pre-Jigsaw. At one point I remember there being discussion about a prequel film showing Jigsaw's rise, after this film I am seriously disappointed that idea was dropped. Where others lacked chemistry, Bell and Betsy Russell (his wife) bubbled – it's a shame their screen time was so limited.

OK so the plot wasn't up to scratch but what about the traps I hear you cry, are they not the reason to watch these sequels? Well yes and no – true they are fascinating and truly elaborate this time, but they are becoming more fantastical. One woman has her hair strapped to a trap as silly as that sounds it actually works in context so a slight lapse in logic is required for this one. The gore is amped up here and while I enjoyed the violence I no longer cared about any of the people in precarious situations so it took a little of the joy out of it. One of Jigsaws first traps is on show here and actually was the best of the bunch made from kitchen knifes and wood it had a cheap feel to it leading me to believe somewhere down the line he hired a sadistic metal welder.

What truly saves this movie is the twist at the end; once again the Saw franchise was able to sidestep around me and lay one hell of a sucker punch. I had figured out the killer (why did we need a new killer? please bring back Amanda Young) but one last surprise was truly genius/ It's just a shame getting to that moment can at times fell like a chore.

Long time fans of the movies will find something to enjoy here but newcomers are likely to become lost in all the allusions to past events. There are cameos from older characters which brought a smile to my face but too much was missing this time out. By the state of this let's hope that Feast was not a one off for Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunston. Leigh Whannell wisely jumped ship at the right time. 5/10

Additional: The credits include a song by X Japan called I.V. its fantastic, my favorite song in the Saw catalogue aside from the 'Hello Zepp' instrumental

Best Kill
Jigsaw's first victim – I was on his side this time

This film marks the first time Jigsaw swears
Sent out to Cinemas under the code name 'Angel Fish'
Shot in 32 days

Director: Darren Lynn Bousmen
Screenplay: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunston
Rating: 18
Release: 2007
Starring: Tobin Bell, Lyriq Bent, Costas Mandylor

Other reviews in the series

Saw II
Saw V
Saw VI
Saw 3D (Saw VII)

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