Everyone who reads my reviews knows that I hate the Saw franchise. I don't care about the torture or the gore, but the movies are so idiotic and aimed at making a quick buck I am amazed that all audiences haven't figured that out yet. I understood the appeal of the first Saw, but I don't understand how anyone who saw the movie liked it. It was horrible, and not because of the torture porn aspect. The subsequent films have been worse for other reasons, although I'll admit that Saw III was a major step up from its disastrous prequel. Now, enter Saw IV, and you can pretty much guess what I am going to say...
Saw IV is one of the worst movies of 2007. Even if you liked the first three Saw movies, I'll be shocked if you like this. Saw IV is such a major step down from the other films that it almost deserves kudos, as I really didn't think such an accomplishment was possible. You can tell Lionsgate is scraping for material... after all, the killer Jigsaw died in the previous flick and now they're just re-treading on used material (if they weren't already).
Saw IV (Saw 4 for those of you who never learned your Roman numerals) picks up where the last one left off. Some cops find the remains of that female cop who got torn apart in one of the other movies, and, as you might expect, Jigsaw had a plan for his victims even after he died. The rest of the plot is a mixture of a few characters trying to survive a bunch of elaborate traps and flashbacks that try to piece the last three films together. The problem is that the movie, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, is a complete mess. To build plots that can fill a full ninety minutes, Bousman and his writers keep adding layers to what we saw in the previous films. While I can almost respect their attempts to build on the stories developed over the entire franchise, the truth is that these new plot points are just pathetic attempts to scrounge together enough material for a sequel. The introduction in Saw IV of yet another Jigsaw collaborator is the perfect example: it just feels forced, and is completely unrealistic. The only reason the writers would do this is that Jigsaw is dead and they need someone to keep doing the same old thing.
The same old thing. It's ridiculous that audiences are still buying into this garbage. The torture porn franchise has clearly run its course in terms of originality, but people are still paying good money to see cheap movies with no plot or likable characters. To compound things, Saw IV really is a lot worse than the other Saw movies; I know several fans of the other films that hated this one. With Saw V on its way this October, one has to wonder how much more Lionsgate can do before even it becomes tired of its own franchise.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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