Saw V Directed by: David Hackl Cast: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Meagan Good Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: R
Plot: Characters and audiences alike are tortured in the fifth installment of the Saw franchise. Essentially, people die slowly. In the movie or, (for the audience), in their souls.
Who’s It For? 1. People who don't realize that these films are essentially identical to each other. 2. Gullible teenagers.
Expectations: "I have to pay $8.50 to see this?!!!"
Actors: Tobin Bell as Jigsaw: Jigsaw is a heroic villain for a dumb-blooded, naive generation who have no respect for their elders like Jason Voorhees or Mike Myers; (but fear not kiddies! Your Michael Bay-itized remake of the classic Friday the 13th is due out in February!) Jigsaw has this terrible habit of sounding like a dim-witted bully of a guidance counselor who is just trying to "help" his pupils. More so than aforementioned villains in horror, Jigsaw abuses the crap out of Hollywood serial-killer logic. How the hell did he build such elaborate traps? Where did he get all of those TVs? Has he ever tried to make a Rude Goldberg?
Costas Mandylor as Mark Hoffman: Hoffman is Jigsaw's latest pupil, with a stupid smug look that seems to be glued to his face. But it's tough being eerie when you look like a fat Brendan Fraser.
Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm: He's the newest patsy in the series, who is toyed with by the mystery killer he's chasing. But according to IMDB.com, Patterson did some stunts in the Disney classic Blank Check. How cool is that?!
Meagan Good as Luba: Her name adds the "+" to the film's C+ casting. Even in funky misfires like Waist Deep she was at least, well ... good.
Talking: Only a few lines can be considered as "comic relief" (or the exact opposite). One of my favorite zingers comes during a point of vital uncertainty between the five victims: "nice f**cking try, Nancy Drew." And then there's the one-liner in the beginning that bashers of certain movies love deep down inside because they can use it to sum up the entire experience: "Right now, you are feeling helpless." And why does Jigsaw always say things like "make your choice" at the end of his instructional torture videos? Not a very convincing salesman.
Sights & Sounds: Because no one was screaming in the theater, the film raids a sound library of shrieks and howls to compliment each "scare", surprise, or moment of shameless grotesqueness. In a desperate attempt to keep his pride, director David Hackl tries to impress audiences with bits of smooth editing.
The problem I've always had with the series is that it takes itself too seriously. Even writer-director Eli Roth's egregious Hostel films knew their place in the garbage can. But from the debut of the Saw films, the writers have tried to mix redundant torture-porn "thrills" with wistfully legitimate subplots involving investigators attempting to bring justice to the barbaric killings. And since Jigsaw died in Saw 3, the scripts have been trying to sandwich as many twists as possible into previous stories told in earlier films. Such an effort is commendable, as the story construction isn't ridiculous like every other element in the series. But why even bother with self-righteous storytelling when the repetitive, one-note existence of the series is becoming as justifiable as any of those straight-to-DVD horror knockoffs and suckfests available at Blockbuster?
I was in line waiting to buy my ticket, and I overheard the typical in-line banter concerning what movie to see. "Have you seen Beverly Hills Chihuahua?" asked Kid 1. "Yeah - it's disgusting," replied his friend. The tone of his reply made it seem as if the Disney film had offended him. Later on, I spotted the same two youths marching enthusiastically into Saw V. Has the so-called "shocking" franchise finally met its match, where it shocks less than a movie about talking dogs? Perhaps Seth, the first person to die in Saw V, had it right when he said something along the lines of "AHHHHHH, PLEASE!!! STOP IT!!!! OH GOD!!!"
Final Score: 3/10