Revisiting Saw V

Released in 2008, Saw V featured the directorial debut of David Hackl, who had served as a production designer on Saw II-IV and a second-unit director on Saw III and IV. It is the first of the Saw sequels not to open at number one at the box office, yet it grossed nearly $114 million. Personally, I think Saw V is more enjoyable than Saw IV. Why? Read on for my thoughts.

The story in Saw V is less complicated than the one in Saw IV. At this point, we know Detective Hoffman is one of Jigsaw’s accomplices. FBI Agent Peter Strahm is certain that Hoffman is a bad apple, and he’s determined to prove it. I love this narrative of Strahm going rogue to uncover the truth, complemented by scenes of Hoffman doing his dirty deeds. It’s a classic good versus evil scenario, and that’s all you really need to tell a good story.

The flashbacks in this entry are also superb, as they show exactly how Hoffman first met Jigsaw and subsequently aided him with traps featured in earlier movies in the Saw series. It’s a very satisfying look behind the curtain that adds additional depth and substance to an already rich story that spans across these five films.

Costas Mandylor is wonderful, as always, and he gets to sink his teeth into his role this time around. Scott Patterson is equally excellent, providing the perfect ying to Mandylor’s yang. I can’t emphasize how much more interesting this is for me than watching Officer Rigg in Saw IV trying to let go of fixing things. This is an infinitely more compelling narrative, and the movie benefits from it greatly.

In addition to the battle between Hoffman and Strahm, there are a group of people (for the first time since Saw II) placed in a mysterious room and sent on a journey through numerous traps, testing their will to live. The moral of this story is to work together and not be selfish. Unfortunately, they don’t realize this until there are two of them left. I enjoyed all of these characters, even the despicable ones, and the traps are entertaining too.

The most talked about moment in Saw V is the ending and deservedly so. Strahm finds a clear box filled with broken glass that has a tape recorder in it. The tape tells him that if he doesn’t get into the box, he will die. Hoffman shows up and gets into a scuffle with Strahm. In the end, Strahm pushes Hoffman into the box. The walls start to close in as the the box descends into the floor with Hoffman smirking. Strahm gets crushed by the walls, splattering his blood across the top of the rapidly disappearing box, obscuring Hoffman’s devilish visage.

Saw V is excellent! In a franchise known for being convoluted, it provides a refreshing dose of simplicity. The acting is top notch, the score is incredible, and the ending is still talked about to this day. It may have not performed as well at the box office as some of its predecessors, but the creators behind the film sure didn’t cut any corners. They turned in an epic entry that is worthy of praise. I highly recommend Saw V, and I hope you love it just as much as I do.

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