Saw IV

Saw IV

*1/2

Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Saw IV is a horrid, grisly and utterly worthless continuation of Lionsgate's cash-cow which treats its audience with stunningly little respect. It doesn't really bother making an effort, even the famous torture sequences seem devoid of any kind of imagination. It's a been-there-done-that slab of horror for which we're expected to lay down our five quid - such a joyless, humourless and witless piece of Halloween moneygrubbing.

Using the carbon-copy material from the previous two pictures, we immediately start with a twisted and deadly game. This one opens with a rendition of see-no-evil-speak-no-evil - one person's eyes are stitched shut and the other's mouth is stitched up, and they fight for their lives and freedom. This is by far the most interesting set-up of the entire picture, and actually pays off by involving us.

Copy picture

Onto the main plot, following the events of the Saw III, we learn that the Jigsaw killer (Tobin Bell) is finally dead - in an autopsy scene which is far, far more disgusting than any such scene I have seen in years. (Alien3's equivalent can eat its heart out!)

During the autopsy, the police forensics team find yet another of Jigsaw's tapes concealed in a wax pouch within his stomach, and so the games begin all over again. Of course, Jigsaw gets top billing, so we get a movie full of flashbacks and confused temporal logistics. I guess these movies are all made with some degree of craft and skill, which really only serves to highlight the fact that someone took care in assembling this wretched picture. The audience didn't seem to enjoy it, and I merely felt bruised and sickened afterwards. I can enjoy a good gore flick - take this year's early Apocalypto for instance - that had skill, delight and halfway epic storytelling, with the pulse of a panther.

Anyway, without its reason for being - that is, inventive traps (the achingly slow scalping machine is all we really have) - we are left with a movie so utterly repugnant, so self-absorbed and without entertainment value that it is akin to putting your face into a pail of four-day-old warmed-over innards and being forced to take deep breaths. The fetid stink even seeps through to the pointless final minutes' twist, which is to be expected and neither makes real narrative sense, nor resonates. The real problem with the Saw franchise is that it utterly fails to make us care at all about the dead men and women walking. If we don't care, we're not scared - merely sickened.

There's usually a little note at the bottom of these articles which says "If you like this, try". If you like this, I don't think I can recommend anything, other than to sit as far away from me as possible in the cinema.

Reviewed on: 30 Oct 2007
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The Jigsaw starts to grate.
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Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Writer: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Thomas H Fenton (story)

Starring: Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis, Justin Louis, Simon Reynolds, Donnie Wahlberg, Angus Macfadyen, Shawnee Smith

Year: 2007

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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