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Saw V a.k.a. “Saw 5,” “Saw 5—A Sucessão”

MPAA Rating: R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, language and brief nudity.

Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action, Crime, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Sequel
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
October 24, 2008 (wide—2,800 theaters)
DVD: January 20, 2009
Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate Copyright, Lionsgate
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

About murder in the Bible


Final judgment

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?


Saw I (2004)

Saw II (2005)

Saw III (2006)

Saw IV (2007)

Saw VI (2009)

Saw 3D: The Traps Come Alive (2010)

Featuring: Tobin Bell, Julie Benz, Greg Bryk, Meagan Good, Laura Gordon, Joris Jarsky, Samantha Lemole, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Alex Revan, Mark Rolston, Carlo Rota, Betsy Russell, Al Sapienza, Sheila Shah, Shawnee Smith, Dana Sorman
Director: David Hackl
Producer: Twisted Pictures, Troy Begnaud, Peter Block, Mark Burg, Jason Constantine, Daniel J. Heffner, Oren Koules, Stacey Testro, James Wan, Leigh Whannell
Distributor: Lionsgate

“You won’t believe how it ends.”

Just in time for the Halloween season, the latest in the Saw series hits theatres. For the uninitiated, this movie series follows the exploits of what many would call a serial killer nicknamed “Jigsaw” as he sets up intricate puzzles that his targets must figure out or face certain death. Jigsaw never actually kills anyone himself, but tests the victims’ endurance and willingness to put them through often excruciating pain in order to keep living.

In a previous installation, we learned that Jigsaw (his real name is John) (played by Tobin Bell) has died of an inoperable brain tumor, but prior to his death had passed on his legacy to an accomplice who would carry on his “work.” At the conclusion of “Saw IV,” we find John’s body on a slab in a dilapidated warehouse; an FBI agent had followed a grisly trail to this sight. John’s accomplice, who turned out to be decorated police detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), slammed the door closed and walked away; leaving the audience to presume the agent would never be found. The End, right? No way, Jigsaw’s work would still go on.

“Saw V” picks up right where IV ended. Like all of the other victims of Jigsaw who wake up from a drug-induced coma to find themselves in some untenable restraint or “game,” Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) was tethered to a chair with a glass box encasing his head. Soon, tubes attached to the box began to flush water into the box with the intent of drowning Strahm; he gives himself a tracheotomy and is able to survive the ordeal. Meanwhile, outside the building, Detective Hoffman is enjoying the glory of being the sole survivor and the one who took down Jigsaw—imagine his surprise when Strahm was being carried out alive. Strahm will stop at nothing to track down the accomplice, and he is the only to suspect Hoffman—the two are on a collision course with multiple deaths in the wake.

Die-hard fans of the Saw series (like this writer) may be disappointed with this installment. Directed by David Hackl who has served on the production team of the second, third, and fourth of the hit series, “Saw V” packs little of the psychological punch of its predecessors. In the previous films, the directors and writers took time to develop the characters—we understand why the victims were targeted, how Jigsaw sought to help them find redemption—but in this installment there is little explanation. The intricate and ornate challenges that Jigsaw required of his targets were weak and inconsequential [this was part of the plot; Hoffman has much to learn before he would meet his mentor’s strict qualifications]. There are a couple of positive surprises, but not enough to carry this film to the heights of its hype. As a sequel, however, the writers did well to introduce elements of previous installments so that new viewers would be up-to-speed on the important details.

In a weird twist, trailers for this film seem to be targeting a Christian audience. One 30-second trailer of the film is backed by the sounds of an unintelligible hymn with words flashing across the screen: “His message is righteous.”
“His love is everlasting.”
“His gift is life.”

Interestingly enough, the film’s central themes (redemption from a wicked past, appreciating the life we are given, forgiveness, self sacrifice, and working together to benefit all) are markers of Christian faith and life. If you can get beyond all of the blood, gore, and violence, you get strong lessons on the teachings of Christ.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None

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

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Well, I went to this movie with my fiance and some friends, and after seeing the first four and then seeing this one… ahh! you get a lot of the pieces, but you don't get the whole puzzle yet, which leaves for another Saw movie. Overall, it was great… I enjoyed it a lot, just like the other Saw movies. If you liked the other Saw movies, then you will really like the 5th one. A good part about this one was there wasn't as much language as the other ones—soooo that was something I like about Saw 5.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Heather Usher, age 18
Neutral—Mixed feelings on this one. I like the continuity as usual. Like “Smallville,” the “Saw” franchise has its ups and downs, but continuity is what keeps bringing viewers like myself back for the next “episode.”

Frankly, Saw IV was and likely still is awful. It was disgusting and a chore. The follow-up is fresher and slightly more akin to the Whannell/Wan reel that engendered the series. I believe this because there is less emphasis on the recent precedent of traps and shock, but more on plot and subplots. See, the original is all about tacitly shocking the stew outta you and climaxing with one ultimately humongous whopper of a surprise, whereas II-IV is nothing short of an shock value excursion. Thankfully, Saw V has markedly deviated from the cumulative “didn't see that coming” and gratuitous gore.

Yes, there is still plenty of mayhem not suitable for young persons (I couldn't believe the parents bringing their little ones in the theater!), but it's toned down from previous Jigsaw jamborees.

I think the break in the tide with V is due in large part to the new director (though he's been onboard the franchise since II); variant ideas are fleshed out in a way not realized by the Saw II—IV dude (mercifully). Along with the change, however, is a plastic, TV quality feel—perhaps the biggest vice of this film. What can you do? Saw films to date have always run on a meager budget.

My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jacob Keenum, age 22
Neutral—I will admit right up front that I am a fan of the Saw series. Not because of the violence, as many might assume, I am genuinely intrigued by the stories. All the previous Saw films had awesome twists at the end that I never saw (ha ha, no pun intended!) coming.

Upon viewing “Saw V,” I was rather disappointed. The story isn't very intriguing, the plot holes ae obvious (moreso than the others, which are inconceivable, yet still managed to be believable), the characters are quite boring and I saw the twist coming from 10 miles away. It seems that director David Hackl didn't know what he was doing. In the commentary on the DVD, he explains often about changing up the Saw formula, which for me ruined the experience. Change can be good, but it needs to make a film better. **(It is also noted that the “brief nudity” as marked by the MPAA took place in a deleted snippet just before Paul is abducted. Apparently he had a prostitute in his car, and after kicking her out, attempted to cut his wrists (which is why Jigsaw comes after him.)**

An interesting bit of information, because this Saw installment has no nudity. It seems the MPAA really doesn't know what its doing sometimes. For die hard Saw fans like myself, this film is a disappointment. For newcomers, like one of my friends who has only seen #2 aside, you might like this more than I did.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Benjamin Badger, age 18 (USA)
Negative—The ONLY positive about this film is there was zero sex or nudity—aside from that, this was the typical “Saw” movie. VIOLENCE galore and a fair amount of profanity.

One thing that is VERY disturbing is that because these films claim that the “tests” are meant to cause the victims to appreciate life, that somehow it is a Christian message, once you get past the blood, guts, and mayhem. I have yet to find ONE Scripture reference that says to use any of the violence in these films to win people over. As far as ANY redeeming value, there is none from a Christian standpoint. Only a carnal one-it satisfies our human curiousity for more and more and desensitises the viewer.

I can't “cast stones” since I willingly have watched “Saw” 1, 2, and 5, but I can say that to try to warp these into some form of a Spiritual lesson is beyond a stretch. These are NOT meant to be uplifting, and to those who try to say otherwise are beyond mislead.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Angelica, age 23 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Followers of Jesus Christ shouldn't even consider watching a movie such as this, no matter their age. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 NASB).

I urge anyone who has seen this movie, to repent and turn to the Savior. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you’” (Matthew 7:21-23 NASB).

If you claim Jesus is your Lord, then why are you watching filth such as this? Is putting such garbage in your mind Glorifying God? But there is Good News, you can be saved. But, you must repent and turn from sinful, vulgar movies as this. Jesus will forgive you. Put you trust in the Savior, not Hollywood filth.
Payton, age 34 (USA)
Amen, Peyton. We are to treat our bodies as temples, so says the Lord. This stuff has no place in a true Christian's mind. Christians that are fans of this movie, and others like it, don't seem to realize they are simply attracted to the gore and violence. I highly doubt they're seeing this movie for the supposed “Christian message” some people seem to find in them. It sounds to me that Satan's got an excuse or loophole for every sin.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
Stacie, age 32 (USA)