Saw IV: Darren Lynn Bousman



Saw IV

Jason, Kruger, Myers, Hellraiser, Darkman, Leatherface…Jigsaw?


Has our generation finally witnessed the birth of a horror film figurehead worthy of 10 sequels? Are we on the verge of creating a horror franchise, which, in its fourth installment, is still grotesquely appealing? Could be.


Saw was a standalone masterpiece of intellectual horror and gratuitous violence. Saw II had a bigger cast, a bigger budget, more of Jigsaw’s lovely traps, but far less substance. Saw III was a little better, but still lacked some of the creativity and tension we saw in the first film. Saw IV: The best since the first one.


The first few minutes really made me smile. Jigsaw is dead. Not Michael Myers dead, or Jason back from hell dead; we’re talking brain on a scale, stomach is in a bowl dead. He ain’t coming back, and the director wanted us to be damn sure of it. It’s sad in a way, like maybe this is the last movie. But then the coroner finds a small tape inside our depraved icon, and we feel hope and anticipation as we realize: Jigsaw may be worm food, but there are still games to be played.


I can’t spoil the wonderful traps, or the characters, what I will say is that the tone of this movie was so well rounded, direct, and accomplished I thought for a second I might see Cary Elwes limp on screen. It might not make you jump too much, but like the first Saw, the entire movie makes you cringe a little, and love it. Character development was great. Even the flashbacks to Jigsaw’s past don’t paint a sympathetic picture; they just show us the birth of a madman (and a damn good engineer). The music is the same as before, the Saw franchise theme song all the way through, but hey…it’s pretty cool. What struck me most was the editing. There are several timelines in this film, and the transitions were awesome. Characters from a flashback seamlessly walk into a room with characters from the present, and vice versa, something you really have to see to fully appreciate. The writing was very focused on keeping the story intricate, but easy to follow and believable. And the twist at the end? It actually made sense. Crazy, right? Nothing will stand up to the end of Saw, but this was not too far off. Hey, M. Night Shayamalan…watch and take notes, guy.

Final Grade for Saw IV: B+

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