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Saw IV

Darren Lynn Bousman

Saw IV
Whenever a Saw film is released, there’s an amusing rush of anticipation that forces me to run over to IMDb to see if the next sequel is already in pre-production. Sure enough, Saw V is under way and scheduled for release on October 24. And why the hell not? One of cinema’s most profitable franchises continually keeps viewers guessing while raking in box office receipts. The fourth instalment confirms Jigsaw’s (Tobin Bell) death, beginning with his gratuitously gory autopsy, which unveils a tape recorder in his stomach. Surprise, surprise, it leads to a game of non-stop mercy killings for Detective Rigg (Lyriq Bent, who entered in Saw II) that gets messier and messier, literally and figuratively. Featuring the most convoluted plot yet, Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) returns — sigh — with complete and gut-wrenching explanations to boot, and the film throws in even more "new” characters for the next iteration. Saw IV delivers even more senseless blood lust and sadistic anguish, and even though Bousman interestingly digs up Jigsaw’s roots to reveal his descent into evil, it falls into that final, overblown, tie-all-the-loose-ends-together twist ending. Forget the dismal CGI blood and the stupid editing choices (i.e., the breakneck jump-cuts travelling through hyperspace), Saw IV suffers most in its climax, giving life to another successor for Jigsaw — much like Saw II — scraping whatever dirt was left at the bottom of the barrel in the most desperate of casting decisions. Can’t wait for number five! Bousman’s cheerful commentary is informative but also bothersome. It’s hard not to believe him when he admits, "The Saw films truly direct themselves.” He does spend time answering some questions, acknowledging the film’s complexities and fans’ confusion. As always, a formulaic, multi-chaptered featurette uncovers each of Jigsaw’s traps (the best being the ice trap), with the production design and effects crew explaining the difficulties of executing them. Plus: "Props,” deleted scene, music video. (Maple)
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