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SAW V: A Disconnected & Painful Overkill

With Saw V, the Saw franchise firmly waved goodbye to logic, with plot contrivances that make the film closer to sci-fi than horror.

SAW V: A Disconnected And Painful Overkill

Jigsaw is less than a month away, but as I’m waiting patiently for the outcome of the film, I thought it would be fun to revisit all the entries in the ever-so-popular Saw franchise. Every week, I’ll be watching and reviewing the respective film in chronological order. For this week, let’s revisit the simplistic Saw V.

After the disaster that was Saw IV, the Saw franchise has found itself a new director in David Hackl as the franchise tries to reclaim the success it once had. Having a Saw movie come out everyone October isn’t doing much good for the franchise and once again Saw V finds itself feeling quite uninspired. Just like its predecessor, V is unable to overcome the formulaic nature, even while trying to inject a less engaging and compelling story.

Back To The Formula

Five movies in, it’s getting harder and harder to be original without redoing the formula. However, Saw V‘s strongest element lies in its very formula. People trapped in an abandoned building and trying to survive always has been this franchise’s area of expertise. Even when they get over the top (and trust me, they do), there’s just a compelling element about watching people make decisions that will either lead to their death or lead to their survival. Could it be made better? Of course, it can. But it’s the not knowing which character will die at any given moment that is central as to why murder mysteries have always been popular.

SAW V: A Disconnected And Painful Overkill

source: Lionsgate

However, I think the filmmakers don’t understand this well. They would rather focus on the mediocre police investigation story than the torture storyline causing the best story to be sidelined. Every time it cuts back to the torture storyline, it feels rushed and even out of place. This storyline doesn’t serve the larger story and ends up being present just to fit Saw’s successful formula.

Downward Spiral

With each entry, there are aspects that keep getting worst. For such a successful franchise, they continue to let down their actors. In V, Greg Bryk and Julie Benz give some truly unbelievable and atrocious performances. I don’t blame the actors as their scenes feel rushed and horribly directed. This may be the product of the directing and not necessarily the fault of the actors.

SAW V: A Disconnected And Painful Overkill

source: Lionsgate

We cannot fault the actors for what ultimately happens at the very end of the film. Saw V delivers the worst twist ever with serious practical issues. It’s lazy, simplistic, and just a total betrayal of what the Saw films are supposed to be. The end of any Saw film is supposed to give you a new look or reality of what you just experienced. It’s supposed to be a total mind-blowing event as any good movie twist should strive to do. Without this mind-bending twist, we’re left with a mediocre horror film with nothing to offer but the plain annoyance.

The Question Of Reality

While the Saw films have brought questions about the reality of its universe, we, as a viewer, assume that the franchise is in our world. However, it gets increasingly harder to justify the very nature of what we see on film and how we are to interpret it in our own world. Saw has always been about our human nature that leads us to sin. In V, everything just seems too out there to happen in our world.

There’s a convenience to it all that just keeps it going even when it’s clearly butchered to death. Things happen at just the right moment a little too often and even if it were to signify a person’s faith, it borderlines a little too much on sci-fi than a great metaphor.

SAW V: A Disconnected And Painful Overkill

source: Lionsgate

With these elements seemingly off-putting, it makes the whole experience of Saw V but a pointless film. The message it’s trying to deliver of selfishness versus selflessness doesn’t translate to our world anymore because it has so clearly transcended it. The horror of mirroring ourselves is lost in the theatrics of it all. It enters into our eyes before leaving through our mouths as we say “this would never happen to us.” There’s just too many absurd elements to mirror our realistic society in a meaningful way.

Saw V: Conclusion

Everything Saw V shoots at us is something we’ve seen before, but to a lesser extent. The film’s sci-fi-esque elements create a disconnect between the message that it’s trying to send and the viewer planted in the real world. There’s a worthy message about the consequences of being selfish, but the terrible performances and lack of a great twist never manage to get it across. It’s the product of a dying franchise that’s been sliced, hackled, and tortured long enough. I think it’s time for a mercy killing.

What are your thoughts on Saw V? Do you think this is just overkill? 

Saw V came out in theatres on October 24, 2008. 

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Opinions expressed in our articles are those of the authors and not of the Film Inquiry magazine.

From a young age, I was drawn to films especially the horror and psychological thriller genre. Living in a small town in New Brunswick, Canada, I later fell in love with reviewing and writing about movies. I like to bring my background in Psychology and Religious Studies to my writing and film reviews. Apart from films, I enjoy writing and drawing. However, nothing makes me happier than celebrating Halloween and playing tennis.

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