Saw V (DVD)

Saw V DVDAnother year, another Saw film — like clockwork, they are. And, as always, there's a built-in audience that will trundle along to the cinema to see it, or buy it on DVD, despite what we critics say.

Screenjabber contributor Jimi Williams saw it when it came out at the cinema — and loathed it, refusing to award it any stars at all. Having now watched this "extreme edition" on DVD, I have to say I pretty much agree with Jimi's appraisal of this film series that has really, really run its course. The synopsis, according to Amazon.co.uk, is: "Continuing on with its story despite the death of namesake killer Jigsaw in the third installment, Saw V concerns itself with detailing who will carry on with his bloody work. Though there are fewer grisly death sequences, faithful viewers will enjoy the creative plot twists. The film opens with a man strapped to a table above a pendulum. As the sharp blade begins swinging over his stomach, he has only a minute to stop it by inserting his hands into a device that will crush them. When the machine malfunctions, it's clear that it wasn't the work of the meticulous Jigsaw. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Strahm (Patterson) continues the investigation he began in the previous film, only to wake up to find himself wearing a glass helmet filled with water. With a minimum of self-mutilation, he escapes and continues his investigation with the hunch that Detective Hoffman (Mandylor) is somehow involved in the new rash of killings. Before long, a new group of strangers wakes up in Jigsaw's lair to face a series of brutal tests, and Jigsaw's ex-wife, Jill, is given a mysterious box at the execution of his will."

The traps used in the film, are, as always, quite inventive and well-executed, which will keep the gorehounds happy — which is where this release earns its single star from me. Sadly, the plot is a complete mess, much of it in confusing flashback, while other plot points — such as Jigsaw's widow receiving a strange box — are completely forgotten. Worst of all, Mandylor sleepwalks through the entire film, delivering his lines in a monotone and keeping his face expressionless throughout. Maybe he's as bored with these Saw films as the rest of us?

EXTRAS ** There are two audio commentaries: the first is with director Hackl and first assistant director Steve Webbs; the second is with producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules, plus executive producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine. There is also a series of featurettes giving a behind-the-scenes look at each of the traps used in the film.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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