Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Running Time: 1:35
for sequences of grisly bloody violence
and torture throughout, and for language.
Saw IV had pretty much what you expected, but with an ending that you'll either love or hate.
Jigsaw may be dead, but that doesn't stop him from playing his games. The lead character in this game is a cop who has seen all of his friends die at the hands of the madman. He must play Jigsaw's game one last time in order to save two of his cop buddies from having their lives snuffed out. In order for others to help him, they must delve deep into Jigsaw's past and find out what made him into this monster. It all leads to an explosive twist ending that you won't see coming.
A couple of friends who I went with to Saw IV hadn't seen Saw III and I told them that it probably wasn't necessary since you figure these kinds of movies can stand on their own. I was mistaken. There are a couple of characters early on that had appeared in the previous film, but for the most part the movie takes you through another one of Jigsaw's games, and knowledge of the other films isn't needed. However, as with the earlier films, the ending comes at you hard and fast and reveals a twist that, unless you had seen Saw III, will make almost no sense. Even having seen Saw III, I still had to discuss it with the two friends who had seen it, to understand the ending. But there were a couple of holes in the explanation. That being said, knowing that there are already plans for a Saw V and a Saw VI I firmly believe that the answers to the questions will play out in the next two films. It doesn't leave me 100% satisfied with this movie, but at the same time, the ending had enough shock value to make me happy.
I can't honestly say if this movie was more gory or grisly than the last three, because in my mind they were all pretty graphic. The one aspect of Saw IV that was definitely hard to watch, was the opening sequence as the autopsy Jigsaw. It was extremely graphic and more than a few people in the audience had to duck their heads. It was kind of funny because later in the film you see people with limbs ripped off and eye gouged out and the audience claps and cheers. But an autopsy almost felt too real.
One of the real joys I get from watching this series is the intricate contraptions that are made to torture people. I wonder what kind of sick and twisted person sits around thinking these things up. I can only imagine who the writers have to talk to to come up with a few of these games. But not only are the mechanics involved impressive, so are the special effects when someone dies. It's frighteningly real-feeling, and even though you know perfectly well what's going to happen, there's nothing that can stop you from involuntarily flinching when you see someone's scalp getting ripped off.
The acting in the film... well, what's the point in discussing that? It's a horror film. The visuals were great as usual. My only complaint is the overuse of jagged cuts that kind of gave me a headache after a while. The story wasn't all that bad and as I said before, the ending was not something I saw coming, and it really does help to have seen the last film. This isn't a great film by any means, but for fans of the genre, I think they'll be happy.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Saw IV exceeded my expectations. I didn't go in hoping for much, and what I got was better than I imagined. The ending you'll either love or hate, and I fall into the love category. Or at least the respect category.
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