Saw V

Movie Review #915


Nationwide release on October 24, 2008. Horror/Mystery. This film is rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, language and brief nudity. Originally rated NC-17. Runs 92 minutes. American-Canadian co-production. Director: David Hackl. Screenplay: Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan. Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Mark Rolston, Carlo Rota, and Greg Bryk.


By Alexander Diminiano

“All the young dudes
Carry the news.
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news.”
– Mott the Hoople, 1972

The good news is that this isn’t quite as violent as “Saw III” or “Saw IV” were. The bad news is that it’s still pretty darn violent. And that the story has dumbed down more than ever before. And that there really isn’t much interesting here. I could go on with the bad news. Lord knows I will bring on more of the bad news.

Let’s start at the beginning. The opening credits suck. The font looks like the nameplate you’d put on the door of an iron maiden, and the backdrop looks like wood. Ugly, ugly wood. Maybe if this were a movie about medieval torture, that first part would work. Still not sure why the backdrop has to look like the bark of an ugly, dying tree.

You see, Darren Lynn Bousman wasn’t exactly the best director on the face of this planet when he helmed “Saw II”, “III”, and “IV”.  But he’s so much better than the guy who showed up to helm “Saw V”.  David Hackl is his name, and his arrival seems to screw everything up.  All of a sudden, we have normal cinematography and normal editing, which doesn’t even feel right.  The style is so much unlike that which we saw in the previous movies.  Often times it seems that “Saw V” lacks style entirely, or possibly lacks a director.

“Saw V” focuses in closer on Detective Mark Hoffman, who is suspected of the Jigsaw crimes at the same time that he investigates them.  Meanwhile, a handful of people struggle to survive while they are a) being tortured in numerous vile ways, and b) unable to cooperate with each other.  It really isn’t anything more than just “Saw II” all over again.  Okay, it’s kind of different, because the detective in “Saw II” was never suspected of the Jigsaw crimes.  I doubt that makes much of a difference in judging the immense familiarity of this story.

“Saw V” is comprised almost entirely of flashbacks, which is great, except every flashback is either boring, useless, or a combination of the two.  Actually, that’s basically the whole film: it’s generally depicting something that’s either very boring or utterly pointless.  You have to give David Hackl props here for reaching a new low for the series.  “Saw V” is so, so, so uninteresting.  “Saw IV” was like watching a guy paint a fence, and now “Saw V” lets us watch the paint dry.

Check back next Monday for my “Saw VI” review.


2 thoughts on “Saw V

    • Making light of a terrible movie actually makes it easier to endure, for me at least. Sometimes I’ll make remarks to my friends about the movie while we’re watching, but given that I watched all of these sequels alone, I had some fun taking notes.

      On Tue, Dec 2, 2014 at 1:31 AM, Cinemaniac Reviews wrote:


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