Horror Torture Porn
Trivia This is the first movie in the Saw series not to be written by Saw co-creator, Leigh Whannell.
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Saw IV (2007)
31st Oct 07
Grumpy old sod Jigsaw / John Kramer (Tobin Bell) met his maker, along with petulant whiner / side-kick Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), at the end of Saw III. And they are both really, really dead!
There is no silly little plot contrivance that brings them both back. This time round we get to learn more about the gargle-voiced crusader Jigsaw and why it is he started seeking to punish those that did not truly value life via a twisted game he has Commander Rig (Lyriq Bent) play, leaving in his wake more dead bodies.
It had to happen. The makers behind the profitable Saw franchise have started to feed off their own hype. Delirious with their sizable box office and retail returns, they have spawned their worse offering yet. No, strike that! It’s not as pointless as Saw II but it is a long way short of the guilty pleasures that the original movie and the third instalment offered.
Where the original Saw papered the cracks in its flawed structure with genuinely creepy moments and a freshness to its telling; and Saw III worked through its dumbness with a splattering of gore that left audiences members reeling; Saw IV struggles to breathe any life into a rambling sprawl of a script and ends up as lifeless as one of the Jigsaw’s many victims.
The writers (Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton) are to be applauded for not being stupid enough to resurrect Jigsaw and his apprentice but who on Earth wants another ‘genesis’ storyline? In a year at the cinema where we learned why Hannibal became a cannibal and why little Michael Myers grew so fond of wearing those masks of his, do we really need to know or care to know why Jigsaw does what he does? His reasons why are hardly revelatory.
In fact that’s a big part of the problem with Saw IV nothing surprises. The whole thing just flat lines fast after a particular yummy autopsy scene at the start.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman, who has also helmed Saw II and Saw III, is on form when he cranks up the gore but left wanting and drowning in his own MTV-styled editing when he doesn’t. The set pieces here feel like writers just going through the motions, no logic, no common-sense, just plain dumb.
Bousman fails to realise that if you are not in a position to either gross your audience or surprise / shock them why even bother making a film that claims to be a horror film. The only really scary thing about this movie is that the same writers have been employed to pen Saw V and Saw VI already.
This is hardly surprisingly when you consider what a cash cow the franchise actually is. In past decades the likes of Friday the 13th and Halloween tended, with the very rare exception, to open huge in the States whereas in the UK punters were just not that interested, kept away by the notion that it was just another sequel. The Saw movies have bucked that trend opening well on both sides of the Atlantic and pulling in a steadfast, loyal fan-base to each subsequent movie.
Saw IV had the hook for punters of how the franchise could keep going with Jigsaw dead at the end of the third movie and it brought them in to the tune of $32.1million on its opening weekend in the States alone. That’s not a bad return on a budget of $10million considering it is likely to end up with the region of $75million in just one market. Saw IV opened the strongest of any horror release in 2007 and bucked the trend that witnessed its fellow ‘torture’ buddies Hostel: Part II and Captivity bomb.
The makers proudly proclaim that they don’t make these movies for the critics; they seem to miss the fact that anyone can be a critic given that everyone has a point of view. That means that the audience paying to sit there in the dark are looking to be satisfied. If they aren’t then they will be your worse critic of all and who are people more likely to listen to when it comes to an opinion of a film, a critic in a newspaper / magazine or their buddy that have seen the film already? It’s just a lazy way of the makers saying that they know their produce is rubbish and they are quite happy to keep fleecing the paying public.
Saw IV is predictable and far-fetched again stretching out its Se7en wannabee status well past its limitations. Saw IV? More like Saw Bore!
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