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Movie Review

Saw IV a.k.a. “Saw 4”

MPAA Rating: R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture throughout, and for language

Reviewed by: Christopher Walker

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Crime, Horror, Thriller, Suspense, Torture Porn, Sequel
1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 26, 2007 (wide—3,000 theaters)
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lions Gate Films

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

Pigs in the Bible


Saw I (2004)

Saw II (2005)

Saw III (2006)

Saw V (2008)

Saw VI (2009)

Saw 3D: The Traps Come Alive (2010)

Featuring: Tobin Bell (Jigsaw/John), Donnie Wahlberg, Costas Mandylor, more »
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Producer: Troy Begnaud, Peter Block, Mark Burg, Jason Constantine, more »
Distributor: Lions Gate Films

“It’s a trap.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Jigsaw, as well as his apprentice Amanda, have died. After hearing of Detective Kerry’s murder, two veteran FBI agents, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez, assist Detective Hoffman in sorting out the remains of Jigsaw’s last game. However, SWAT Team Commander Rigg (Lyriq Bent) has been put into a deadly game himself, and has only an hour and a half to prevail over a series of twisted, horrifying traps to save an old friend, as well as himself, from a grisly demise.”

You can never leave a bad guy dead, in this case, when the villain is Jigsaw. The movie audience has watched as John Kramer (Tobin Bell) molded into the Jigsaw killer. He is the mastermind behind some of the most deadly games imaginable. Now he and his apprentice Amanda (Shawnee Smith) are dead, but that doesn’t mean the games have to end.

“Saw IV” is by far the most devious, twisted “Saw” movie yet. To some fans of horror, the movie will likely meet expectations. Others will be a little disappointed by the outcome. This seemed to me a little bit of a letdown from the previous installments. This isn’t to say “Saw IV” is the worst of the series,” but not the best either.

The films starts out in graphic detail, showing the naked body of John Kramer as doctors perform an autopsy on him. They discover a tape in his stomach and inform homicide. It appears that Jigsaw’s “tests of survival” will continue despite his demise. Sergeant Rigg (Lyriq Bent), one of the last surviving members of the original team, now finds himself a victim of Jigsaw’s tests: he has ninety minutes to save the life of an old friend, who is revealed to be a very much alive Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg). However, he must complete his own series of interconnecting tests that will determine whether or not he has truly “saved a life.” Following right behind the trail are FBI agents Perez (Athena Karkanis) and Strahm (Scott Patterson), who are determine to put an end to Jigsaw’s deadly games once and for all.

The movie is not for everybody, especially for the faint of heart. The movie does contain foul language and heavy amounts of gore. We get a little more back story of who John Kramer was: a man who had a loving wife (Betsy Russell) and was starting a family, until one act of violence and the news of cancer devastated him completely and transformed him into a killer, per se.

The film has some great suspenseful moments, but some of the plot twists are fairly predictable unlike the previous three that held many on the edge of their seats every time an extra plot point was revealed. The traps themselves are just as gruesome as the people who are placed in them.

If this film is successful in the box office, there will be two more films to round out the series, as this installment marks the beginning of a second trilogy that deals with life after Jigsaw. Tobin Bell signed on for at least one of them, which shows that John Kramer will be around long after he’s dead, but involved in flashbacks. I think the filmmakers pretty much covered his back story in three of the four films.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—I have seen the whole “Saw” trilogy, and I loved the movies. But this one is the best one out of all of them cause the twist and turns in this movie. It will take some thinking cause it confuses you with the twists. The movie has some language cause Hollywood feels the need to put language. No nudity or sex at all! But of course there is some gore and blood. Some of the killings are disturbing. But I loved this movie and will buy it when it comes out on DVD.
My Ratings: Good / 4½
—Kara, age 38
Positive—I don’t know why people, who consider themselves devout christians, would go see this movie and then complain about how gory and graphic it is. What the heck did you think it was going to be about? Sunday school? It’s a horror movie folks, if that’s not something you want to see… DON’T watch it and complain… boo hoo
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4½
—Joe, age 40
Neutral—“Saw 4” is probably the most violent “Saw” movie to date. The worst in my opinion is when a woman is almost scalped to death and a full human autopsy. The language is bad, the F-word is used several times, but it could have been worse. This movie also contains full frontal male nudity in the beginning. The theme of the movie seems to be that you can’t save other people and that they must save themselves. I think I found that the most offensive of all. I did not like the fact that the main character doesn’t get rewarded for trying to help people.

As a Christian, I feel neutral to the “Saw” movies compared to the “Hostel” series which I don’t like at all. I like “Saw” because its not all black and white. Some of the people in the traps are not the nicest people, and yet seeing them in pain makes the audience feel sorry for them. There’s the detectives that are trying to solve the case and save people and then there is Jigsaw, who thinks he’s doing something good by testing people, but really we all know he’s indirectly responsible for the deaths. I don’t feel that the Saw movies glorify murder as some think. I think they make people think and appreciate their life.

This movie is not suitable for those that have a weak stomach.
My Ratings: Offensive / 5
—Julia Micheals, age 20
Neutral—I was fairly disappointed with the newest “Saw” flick. I fell in love with “Saw” this summer—it’s such a masterpiece. “Saw 2” was good. “Saw 3”… was rough, but okay. “Saw 4”… a letdown. Honestly, I’d been hoping they’d resolve the loose end that is Dr. Gordon. What happened to the ol' Doc? Nothing’s been said… Grr…

Cinematically, the movie is poorly composited. It’s too frantic because there is too much going on. “Saw” was great in that the plot was simple; it was unencumbered by lots of actors, places, etc. “Saw 2”—again, the story was centralized, restricted to two locations. Same for “Saw 3”—just one place where most of the story occurred. Not Saw 4. Like a Bruce Lee movie, new characters were added constantly, most times out of nowhere. The locations jump around as quickly Jason Bourne gets from country to country. It’s almost as if Bousman was running out of ideas. Hey, I’d be running out of ideas too come time for part 4.

On that note, the ending was a twist, as you’d expect, but a silly one. Aside from learning who will continue Jigsaw’s work (which was also disappointing), you witness a certain theme from an earlier saw installment is used yet again. Sigh. So much for continuing in the vein of originality.

To be honest, I found less language in “Saw 4” than in “Saw 2,” and the violence/torture was less graphic than that in Saw 3. Perhaps I’m off my rocker, but that’s just how I feel.

Also, John Kramer’s Jigsaw prologue is exposed a little more. One of the many facets to his transition from normal guy to pseudo serial killer Jigsaw is revealed and it’s hardly glamorous. If anything, it demystifies the character and downplays the whole ambiguity over Kramer’s morality. I think the right or wrong of Jigsaw’s actions were originally intended to be a point of debate. Here’s a guy who didn’t outright kill people for sadistic pleasure or political motive. Rather, he set people up to make choices for themselves in hopes of teaching them the value of life, and, most often, the people were pitted with fatal outcomes.

As such, Jigsaw’s role as the movie’s villain didn’t fit the usual archetype. He was like a Marvel villain. But… in “Saw 4,” Kramer witness a horrible ordeal, and it makes him burn with anger. In turn, it puts him one step closer to becoming Jigsaw, but in doing so, it almost conveys he’s a downright vindictive murderer.

Lastly, the reason Jigsaw put Rigg through a game is ridiculous. He deems Rigg as being too obsessive and as such puts him in a maze of traps that ultimately end in his demise. Jigsaw’s original motive was to test someone’s will to survive. “Saw 3” birthed a departure from that theme, and “Saw 4” is 500 miles on a train away from it. Bottom line: if you’re a “Saw” fan, check this flick out, just for continuity, but don’t expect much.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Jacob Keenum, age 21
Negative—I can never find a good reason for nudity in films, and this movie was no different. A deceased male is on a medical examination table and is completely nude. Before the autopsy takes place, he is covered with a towel, so I don’t understand why viewers had to view this offensive portion of the scene in the first place. Second, I don’t mind violence, but I find the idea of the Saw movies a bit over the top and just plain silly. Each movie simply repeats its predecessor, and Saw IV is no exception.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2½
—T. Taylor, age 21
Comments from young people
Positive—I went and viewed SAW 4 with some of my friends who are fans of the film series as well as I am. I got what I was expecting out of the film. Reasonably strong violence, and some language. I am a fan of the other three movies in the series, and so naturally I had to see this one. If you are squeamish, don’t go see it. Otherwise, you’ll really enjoy it, unless you aren’t already a fan of these movies, otherwise EVERYTHING will go WAY over your head. 3½/5
My Ratings: Offensive / 4½
—Will DeFehr, age 14
Positive—Personally I loved the concept of this entire film. Probably the best in the series. Now there are some reasonable complaints. Such as the pointless nudity at the start that was pretty much …unpleasant to see.

This is bloody, like all the rest. (what a surprise) But I like the change in how things worked in it all. “Saw,” the original, was good with the infamous bathroom, but it was obviously due to a limited budget and is quite easy to find many prop errors and cheesy car chase scene’s.

This one, due to the fact of having the budget to make such a film, was much greater then the first. They could make the same thing over and over again, but why not add some more flavor to the movies, instead of repetitive torture of criminals. They move on to show different values that people should abide by, not just do not kill people. Though they do stick to a lot of this concept in this film they expand the borders of it all.

The twist on this one was just plain confusing and took me 2 views just to understand it, but this made it all so much sweeter to see. I also agree that they should really show what happened to Lawrance. He crawls off with a missing foot saying “I will bring help.” So… What happened to him? Is there a reason he didn’t come back for Adam? He didn’t just forget, tell us what happened please. All and all the movie stuck to its same plot and tried hard not to make it repetitive with just different people.
My Ratings: Average / 5
—Aric Cramer, age 17
Comments from non-viewers
…as a follower of Christ we are not meant to watch movies of this violent nature for enjoyment purposes. Don’t let our minds be transformed by the things of this world, but every day let it be renewed rather by the word and or things of God. And watching movies like this clearly does nothing edifying for your soul. It’s all very disturbing really how anyone can want or like to see others been tortured and harmed, then finding it wonderful and great to watch? Sounds like some people want public execution back does it not? Smacks of the dark ages.
—Vanessa, age 34, South Africa
…Maybe its time we stopped watching movies like this in the first place?
—Marc, age 29, South Africa
I still cannot believe these films are as popular as they are. In high school, EVERYONE has seen them! Since when has watching someone be sadistically tortured entertaining? People have to start realizing that, per the filmmakers own mouths, many of these torture devices were really used on people. One said that the one with the blades in Saw II was from the Spanish Inquisition! This is not fake stuff! It was happening to people a long time ago! I don’t care how “good” the message is supposed to be.

Yeah, appreciate what you have, forgive those who’ve wronged you. But must we have yet another torture movie to get that point across? The Bible says the exact same thing, right? Can’t we read that? There are so many other ways these points could have gotten across! Everyone has seen a move with those same morals, and it wasn’t a torture movie! Forgive those who’ve wronged you? “Spider-man 3” came out last summer. Appreciate what you have? So many movies come in here!

Don’t people realize a new serial killer could be birthed out of these movies? Don’t they realize they’re rooting for a killer when they watch it? Some movies need violence for realism. War movies, and movies like “The Lord of the Rings” need it. These movies might even need it a few times. But there’s a point when it’s just gratuitous, violent just to be violent. And that’s just not cool, no matter what your faith is.
—Amy, age 18