Jigsaw is dead, but his game is far from over. A detective is on the hunt for clues around the city, in which he must act in the same manner as Jigsaw with the victims he finds. He must do this in order to find the location of two of his colleagues and save them.
It's easy to see how the SAW franchise, as it is now called, is turning into the same mess that struck Friday the 13th, Halloween and Nightmare On Elm Street. The story is over, but the cash flow still has some juice in it. In this installment Jigsaw is dead, but his cruel game continues. How you might ask? Well, if I were to explain that, it would ruin the film, but it's hard to review this film without leaking something.
The original SAW redefined the horror genre, so much so that there are now countless imitators. It packed the goods in gore and a shocking twist at the end. The sequel, which really was not needed, tried to capitalize on the same system. It failed. Yet still made boatloads of money. Hence the 3rd, and this film and of course the next one. SAW IV becomes a parody of itself, unintentionally mind you. It tries to re-capture the essence of the original from plot points to the twist, which is a staple in the series now. Why SAW IV doesn't work as well as it wants to, is because it's far too confusing and doesn't satisfy it's audience, instead it leaves more holes, that will be filled in by it's sequel, much like how this one filled in some from the 3rd.
SAW IV answers the questions, such as who the blonde woman was in Jigsaw's dreams and why he covered the tape in wax. Yet leaves out other things, specifically what the letter said to Amanda. It could have easily been explained, but they wanted to leave as much story as possible to continue this franchise, which should have been over at 1 and could have been wrapped up completely with 3. This leaves the audience confused, as well as angry. When the final credits rolled up I sat back in my chair and asked myself if they really answered anything as to why it ended the way it did
it doesn't. It throws in that twist that is expected, but doesn't bother to explain it. I guess we have to wait another year to find out why things happened the way they did.
SAW IV is gory, probably the worst out of all of them, but not quite as nerve flinching as the others. It doesn't have any scenes that make you squirm in your seat like when Dr. Gordon saws off his foot, or when Amanda falls into the pit full of needles, or even when Detective Matthews smashes hiss foot with the toilet cover. Those small things are the ones that get the audience; this film simply shows the bloody entrails of people.
I will give credit to where it's due. The film stays consistent with the others and I applause the actors and writers for continuing certain characters through out the entire series. It gives fans goose bumps when they see a familiar face. Also, the twist, which fails in comparison to the first two but it better then the third, is adequate. In fact there is more then one twist. We also get some more background history on Jigsaw, who he was before he became a psychopath. A little hint as to why as well.
We can't connect to any of these characters. Characters from the previous films that show up here, have very little screen time and are killed off. Why have them survive through all this stuff just to kill them off. It cheapens the films in which we root for them to live; we know their fate in the end. There may have been characters that you cared for in previous installments that were trapped in Jigsaw's game, this time around, unless you knew them from before, we know their fate, we know we don't care.
The ending will confuse the hell out of a lot of people; I had to take a minute to figure it out myself. Maybe because it was really well written, or horrible executed, I haven't decided yet. I found myself sitting there with a confused look across my face, wanting more, not simply because I wanted more, but because the film needed more. The film has a lot of stuff going on, it's not to know who' who, who's dead, what's going on where and so on.If you've missed one film in the series, you will most likely be lost in this film. It asks you, as do the others, to pay attention to the previous films. I really enjoy that; it asks the audience to think a little bit, which is usually missing from horror films these days.
It's a tad better then the second and third, but falls apart near the end. This time around we can't seem to care for the guy whose trapped in Jigsaw's mind game. We've come to expect the unexpected, we've comes to be grossed out. Have the makers of this series run their course? Well, after the next film, to tie everything up, I hope the answer is yes. The first is still the best and I cannot imagine the next one being any better.