Sunday, October 29, 2017

Movie Review: Saw V

The fifth installment of the prolific and grotesque horror series picks up where the previous film left off but this time whoever is carrying out the terrible Jigsaw murders is not giving any mercy to the victims even after they comply with the sick rules. Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) stumbled onto the scene of the third film and was set to die but made a last minute decision to puncture his throat so he can breathe while his head is trapped in a box full of water. Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is surprised to see that someone has survived the horrors of Jigsaw. Jill (Betsy Russell), the wife of John Kramer (Tobin Bell), is given a box of John's belongings after his death. Hoffman must cover up his role in Jigsaw latest puzzle even as he receives a note that someone knows his identity. With a hole in his throat healing, Strahm suspects Hoffman of some wrongdoing.

The main trap of this film starts with five people tied together. They each have on a collar that will pull their head back into a sharp blade. There are boxes with keys on them that they can only reach if they hurt someone else. Charles (Carlo Rota) seems to know something about the other victims. Mallick (Greg Bryk) goes for the key first but Charles pulls him back and gets his own key first. Four of them make it out while one woman has her head cut off. Dan Erikson (Mark Rolston) tells Strahm to take time off but the FBI agent pursues his investigation of Hoffman learning that the detective's sister was murdered by a man who was sliced in half in the first scene by a scythe. The four survivors learn more about each other. Luba (Meagan Good) is the daughter of a wealthy sports team owner, Charles is a reporter, Mallick a trust fund kid, and Brit (Julie Benz) just has a boring job in real estate.

The second trap makes them smash glass jars to find keys and get out of a room before an explosion burns anyone inside. Charles beats up Mallick and smashes the jars but as he tries to take the last key, he is hit over the head by Luba and left to burn. A flashback shows how John Kramer recruited Hoffman. Strahm revisits the old cases figuring out how Hoffman helped Kramer catch his victims and elude the police. They return to the previous films showing how Hoffman pointed the investigation in the wrong direction that served Jigsaw's purpose. The third task requires the victims to attach electrical cords to a bathtub. Luba tries to take out Mallick but Brit stabs her in the neck. Brit and Mallick use Luba's body to conduct the current and move to the next room. Hoffman is monitoring this latest game and leading Erikson to suspect Strahm.

Britt and Mallick learn that they all could have survived if they hadn't double-crossed each other. They had to move out of each previous room to avoid a nail-bomb that exploded after fifteen minutes. Strahm follows Hoffman just as Erikson tracks his phone. Mallick confesses that he started a fire in what he thought was an abandoned building and Britt admits she led him to do that while the other three victims helped in the cover-up. They both put their hands into the holes with running saws in order to fill up a jar with blood and open the door. Strahm walks into a room and finds a tape from Hoffman. Erikson enters the room where Hoffman had been planning the awful game and finds Britt barely alive. Strahm believes he has turned the table on Hoffman by locking him in the glass box full of broken glass but the box is actually the only way out of a room that has walls that come together. 

Saw V continues to explain how Kramer pulled off all these complex tortures diminishing some of the mystique and horror behind Jigsaw's games. The mystery was still pretty interesting while the gore is at a high enough level to appeal to horror fans. While maybe not the best acted, the investigation by Strahm was the most interesting part for me while the gruesome games have become a bit repetitive at this point. The Saw franchise has still managed to go strong for five films which is pretty impressive. This horror series isn't the easiest to watch but the mystery is compelling enough to get through the sick traps and each film has had a solid twist. 

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