Sunday, April 4, 2010

Archive: "Saw IV" (2007)

So, why exactly am I reviewing "Saw IV"? Well, because I've seen all of them, been faithful to it, and feel obligated to track its inevitable downward progression. We are looking at the Halloween franchise of our time. The trailers for the movie even boast at the fact that this series has consecutively received the Halloween weekend slot. Well, every generation needs a series to go up into obscenely high numbers, and I'm assuming "Saw" will be the one to do it; the door is left wide open for the fifth one. And you know what? It's a grab for money, and it works. We all go see it even if we know that it's crap. When I went to see it, just as the credits rolled, somebody exclaimed, "What the fuck?!" And yet I'm sure that person, along with me, will be heading off to the next installment whenever it rolls around.

The movie opens with a horrendously graphic autopsy of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) where a tape is found inside his stomach. Even though he and his accomplice Amanda are both dead, this tape informs the detectives chasing Jigsaw that the twisted traps are just beginning. After several detectives have already been murdered, one detective named Rigg becomes obsessed with trying to prevent any more of their deaths, and therefore, gets caught up in his own multi-step game from Jigsaw. But who is the one carrying out Jigsaw's work? That is the question that a couple of Feds and detectives are trying to answer. After following Rigg's progression in his quest, they soon realize that Jigsaw is slowly and surely trying to recruit new people to continue his work.

Yes, there's no denying that the original "Saw" had its own hefty dose of sadism, but the terrifying situation and the creative circumstances allowed for the shocking gore only to heighten the suspense. All inventiveness since then, however, has been slowly drained away and this is the clumsiest yet. All intelligence of Jigsaw's schemes and twisted games of "morality" have turned into an excuse to create increasingly nasty ways to pick off victims. And by this point, one contraption is just like the other; you'll feel like you've seen them all already and instead of waiting in terror for something to happen, you wait impatiently for the gore to spurt, and then are relieved when it's over. It's not even scary anymore. It has become gratuitous, rudimentary, obligatory, and torturous. The only thing that keeps this above something like "Hostel: Part II" is that at least there's a nicely implemented twist.

Too bad this time around, it is completely convoluted. So many new characters are introduced with too many insignificant people brought from the past, along with so many flashbacks, and so many recycled bits from previous installments, that the twist this time isn't capable of wrapping up all those loose ends. It's not just a cliff-hanger for the next one anymore; it's downright annoying. It's essentially the same formula over again, and in spite of furthered attempts to keep it fresh, it is just absolutely no good anymore. The most notably new parts are flashbacks into Jigsaw's past that involve his ex-wife, but if only these scenes were even remotely interesting or relevant.

While watching the series' fourth and least involving installment yet, my mind can't help but wander. How does Jigsaw's accomplice take the time out of his busy killing schedule to set up all of the elaborate traps? Maybe the reason the traps have become so boring is that the accomplice is doing a bad job of setting them up. And what about those those nicely typed cue cards? And how does this accomplice remember such random people to continue in the traps? And why is Jigsaw's body in two places at once? Well, let's hope at least the next accomplices know what's going on because the viewers sure as hell don't anymore.

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