Just as disgusting, not as effective

Chandy Clemens

An unknown stranger is chained to the cold surface of a cement table; his neck is also pinned down by some sort of contraption. A distant TV turns on showing that freakishly disfigured doll on the tricycle who we’ve all come to know as the puppet of Jigsaw. Jigsaw’s gruff and baritone voice tells the man that he has 90 seconds to escape before a swinging pendulum, attached from the ceiling, will slice him in half. The twist to this torturous game? He must put his hands through a grinder before the chains constricting his body will be set loose.

The next 80 minutes of Saw V dish up this same brutalized form of gratuitously violent entertainment that we’ve all become familiar with over the years. Yet, the enjoyment is distasteful due to an incoherent plot (which involves the evil Lieutenant Hoffman from Saw IV continuing Jigsaw’s legacy), narrow character development, B-movie dialogue, and amateurish acting by a lackluster cast.

When Saw I came out in the fall of 2004, many thought it to be a creative and clever contribution to the slasher genre. With four subsequent sequels continued by Lionsgate, Saw’s distributor, the films have begun to take the noticeable route of the Friday the 13th franchise: they keep getting dumber and dumber. The illogical plot for Saw V makes for an exhausting task in trying to figure out which characters are good, which ones were the pawns in Jigsaw’s maniacal game, and which ones were evil. Now that the actual Jigsaw is out of the equation, the films continue to lose stamina and replace that interest we all felt at the beginning of this series with a repetitive feeling. Admittedly, the screenwriters are diabolical innovators with their creative executions of their characters (i.e. think two walls closing in on you and bones shooting out from your body.) Regrettably, their mistake was to kill off the main component to the series, Jigsaw.

Unlike Saw 1, Saw V lacks in integrity. Saw I had characters that felt realistic, a high level of intrigue that was sustained throughout, and frightening scenes which never let down. But now, the integrity can be seen as diminishing with the MTV contest show Scream Queen which is scouting for an unknown to cast in a leading lady role for Saw VI. Instead of giving us juicy horror, the Saw franchise is now giving us celluloid trash.