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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    To ‘Saw’ or not to ‘Saw’?

    From the ads on MySpace and YouTube, the displays in Blockbuster, and the creepy pig and clown masks displayed in virtually every Halloween store, it is safe to say that the “”Saw”” film franchise has cornered the Halloween market. Indeed, ever since the release of the groundbreaking “”Saw”” in 2004, each proceeding Halloween has seen another addition to the bloody group of films.

    Friday marked the opening of the fourth and highly anticipated installment of the series, creatively titled “”Saw IV.”” Even though “”Saw III”” ended with the death of the extremely intelligent but equally twisted Jigsaw, his work did not die with him, and now there is a whole new set of perverse and sick traps guaranteed to make even Eli Roth cringe.

    “”Saw IV””
    Rated R – 95 mins.
    Lions Gate Films
    Starring Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor and Scott Patterson
    3 stars

    That’s one area where the “”Saw”” films can always be expected to excel. From people sawing off their own legs to fishing through a pool of needles to drowning in pig innards, these writers definitely come up with some crazy ways of dying. The latest film is no different, except possibly in the sense that the amount of people in traps is almost overwhelming.

    This leads to the main problem with “”Saw IV”” – it doesn’t really bring anything new to the otherwise innovative franchise. The traps, though different, are not particularly memorable, especially when compared with the caliber of traps shown in the other films. Granted, the depth of the plot and the ways in which all the characters are miraculously connected to one another is nothing short of screenplay-crafting genius. But that is also something that has come to be expected from the series.

    The writing does make “”Saw IV”” a cut above most other horror films, because it is a very intelligent movie. The villain himself is a mechanical engineer, which accounts for the complexity of the traps he makes. The overall theme of appreciating one’s life, passing some sick test created by a wannabe God, is deliciously twisted. Unlike other horror films, with their rules of “”no boobs,”” “”no sex”” and “”no going upstairs,”” “”Saw IV”” keeps the audience guessing with suspenseful lighting, completely unexpected twists and an excessive amount of scene cuts that result in a disjointed and confusing feeling.

    A majority of the story is dedicated to learning about the life of the villain audiences have been following for the past three years – what happened to Jigsaw that led to his desire to play sick death games? Who else did he meet in his life that could be possible accomplices to the crimes? This is another aspect of the films that sets them above most other horror movies: there is a legitimate story that is fairly compelling, powered by decent acting and all-around brilliant writing.

    Yet there’s something about “”Saw IV”” that just isn’t right. It just doesn’t wow like the other movies in the franchise. Even though the film is still suspenseful and entertaining, for the first time it feels like the series might be losing some steam.

    Obviously, “”Saw IV”” is not for everyone. If you enjoy seeing people get tortured and do horrible things to their own bodies, then you will most likely like this film. If you don’t, then you probably won’t.

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