Reviewed by: Brian C. Johnson
About murder in the Bible
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|
|Producer:||Twisted Pictures, Troy Begnaud, Peter Block, Mark Burg, Jason Constantine, Daniel J. Heffner, Oren Koules, Stacey Testro, James Wan, Leigh Whannell|
“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.