Saw IV (2007)

Wait a minute. How can there be a fourth one when Jigsaw is dead?!
That’s what I thought anyway. Obviously though, I was proved wrong, as they managed to take this twisted series of dark and bloody films even further than we had all thought was possible.
I liked the first three. Even though I approached each new episode with scepticism, I always ended up satisfied (and a little bit disturbed). That’s why I just had to watch the 4th.


De ja vu

Remember the guy who was the head of the S.W.A.T team in Saw 2 (Lieutenant Rigg)? Well, this time, he’s the one being put to the test. As somehow, seemingly from the grave, Jigsaw is still playing his games.

Feeling distressed that pretty much all of his police buddies have been killed in horrible, demented ways, when the call comes, Riggs just can’t help but get completely involved. Even though he knows better than most people that he’ll probably really regret it. The question is, will he be clever enough to beat the game?

Riggs (Lyriq Bent) is a decent lead in this one, and as a nice surprise, Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) still features in the film during flashbacks; Bell remaining as stony and believably evil as ever.

There are a few changes though. One visual difference (to me anyway) is the use of some really flashy editing, post production. There are a few scenes that end, and blend into the next in very funky ways. This is pretty impressive, but at the same time, a little distracting, and also, a little of a strange thing to introduce so late in the series of films (unless I just can’t remember it in the last 3).

As the film progressed, I grew slightly dissatisfied, and started to wonder whether the cool editing was added as an after-thought to compensate for the fact that this film wasn’t quite as good as the others.

Perfect formula?

I think that the problem is, no matter how good your idea is, and no matter how many twists and turns you can put on an idea, eventually you’re going to run dry.
With the previous Saw’s, I was always lulled into thinking that I had worked out the ending, only to be proved wrong.
But this time, I got it right. And I guessed it pretty early too. Not what you want really.

There was also an element of the ending which left me a bit confused (can’t really go into it without spoiling stuff), so my disappointment was accompanied by a bit of frustration. Really not what you want.

However, Saw fans will not be disappointed with the gore. As usual, there are lots of nasty devices and torturous scenes to wince at. Thankfully, the fist-clenching tension remains!
The strength of the Saw films have been their continutity, and again, this film won’t disappoint. Painstaking attention to detail means that random events in the past films end up being relevant in the present, and as long as your memory is good enough to remember that far back – it’s pretty impressive.

Overall the film was good. It looked good, was faithful to its predecessors, and was unsettling enough to keep me watching until the bitter, squelchy end.

But, for the first time, I felt that they had written a Saw film with the sequel in mind, which isn’t a great idea. In my opinion, films, even as part of a series, should have ‘stand alone’ appeal – meaning that if you hadn’t seen any of the previous ones, you could still enjoy it.
In this case, there were so many references to past events and characters, that the Saw virgin would be completely lost.
I can only hope that Saw 5 (or V, depending on which century you’re from) apologises on Saw 4’s behalf and makes me feel satisfied,and scared again. And although I hate to say it, concludes the whole Saw story once and for all.

Movie Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Trailer:

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