Sunday, October 29, 2017

Movie Review: Saw IV

The fourth installment in the gruesome series picks up with the autopsy of the brutal killer Jigsaw aka John Kramer (Tobin Bell). A tape is discovered in his stomach after he covered it in wax and swallowed it during the events of the third film. Lt. Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) hears the killer's voice tell him the game have just begun before the film cuts to two men chained together with a strange machine in the center. One man has his eyes sewed shut and the other has his mouth sewed shut. The two men fight until the man with his mouth sewed shut kills the other to get a key and free himself. Lt. Daniel Rigg (Lyriq Bent) is distraught when he finds the body of Detective Kerry. The FBI gets involved in the case through Agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Agent Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis). 

Rigg is still trying to search for Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) but after his wife leaves him, he's attacked in his apartment. He wakes up to find a video of Detective Matthew and Lt. Hoffman tied up and is given a challenge by the Jigsaw puppet. His first test is to save a woman whose hair is being pulled through a ring by the killer's vicious machine. She is half scalped when she  is set free but she tries to kill Rigg who manages to fight her off and discover that she too has a Jigsaw tape. Meanwhile, the FBI has found Rigg's fingerprints on a shell casing. In a flashback, a large figure is seen imprisoning Detective Matthews for the six months he's been missing. The FBI enter Rigg's apartment and find the picture of six people. The one that stands out to Agent Strahm is Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell), Kramer's ex-wife. 

Rigg goes to a motel that's name was on a key he's given and he finds that spooky pig mask used in the previous three films. The next Jigsaw tape points out another target, the motel front desk worker. The motelier is forced to poke out his own eyes before his body is torn apart. The FBI is one step behind Rigg.  More of Kramer's past is revealed like his relationship with Jill who ran a clinic with the motto Jigsaw uses "Cherish Your Life" and his interactions with former Jigsaw victims. Jill loses their child when a crazed clinic patient hurts her. A past case also haunts Rigg who is directed to return to a closed down elementary school where another ruthless Jigsaw game has played out with the perpetrators of that past abuse case. Rigg is starting to catch on to what he has to do but the FBI who arrive behind him are ambushed and Agent Perez is hit in the face with an explosive.

The lawyer Art Blank (Louis Ferreira) arrives at the building where Matthews and Hoffman are held captive and his name shows up as the owner of the buildings where these horrors take place. The first act of the Jigsaw killer is shown through a flashback. The movie's climax brings together Agent Strahm, Rigg, and Jeff (Angus Macfadyen) with all the captives. The twist is confusing since Agen Strahm and Mark Hoffman look so alike but it ties into the first scene since that was Art with his lips sewn shut who now has a crazy tool attached to his back. Jeff encounters Mark right after he kills Jigsaw and was convinced to work for him. All Brigg had to do was not investigate the capture of Detective Matthews. The timelines really tricked me because this film is actually happening at the same time of the previous film and the autopsy is actually happening later. Mark Hoffman has taken up the cause of Jigsaw and the tape he found in the stomach was only furthering Jigsaw's purpose.

Saw IV impressed more than I thought it would and while the story is pretty confusing upon further thought, it's pulled off pretty well. This fourth installment lives up to the previous films and is actually a step above the previous one though ties into that one well. Not only does it serve well as a direct sequel to the previous film but pays homage to the earlier two films. The mythos of Jigsaw grows even larger as we learn more about Kramer's past and a new person to carry on the legacy. I'm looking forward to the second half of the franchise as it crossed over the halfway point pretty strongly. 

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