Despite the booming box office successes of the entirety of the SAW film franchise, the first one was the only film that managed to do something unique. It was the only film in the entire franchise that I personally considered good, and to be honest it was predicted that the next SAW film would also be pretty much the same formula but somehow worse. That is exactly what happened with SAW IV, using the same formula that the films had been for ages, to create a monstrosity that is absolutely by far the worst in the series’ history.
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The Movie Review
The fourth installment in the SAW franchise begins with a dead John Kramer, and a microcassette lodged deep into his stomach. It’s found during an autopsy and contains a message for Detective Mark Hoffman that he’s about to be tested. From there on, the film is a cat and mouse chase between the ghost of the jigsaw killer and Mark Hoffman. It incorporates the same old tropes, such as the trickery, traps, and the insanely popular jigsaw mask as always.
The film doesn’t bring anything new to the table, to be honest, it has the same director as the second and third film, who doesn’t really do a good job and doesn’t really learn from the mistakes of his past. I personally feel like this film is the biggest downgrade that the franchise has ever had.
The editing and the pacing alone destroy it. The film moves at a sluggish pace, it barely has any contact whatsoever. It’s as if the writers ran out of ideas.
It seems as if they were so confused on how to move the franchise forward, that they essentially left any bits of visual storytelling that was done in the first two films. Instead, every other scene in this film is an expository dialogue that explains literally everything that is happening onscreen. Then this film isn’t really that deep, it’s not inception or interstellar, it’s nothing that you need to have explained to you.
Yet the film explains things to you anyways. That’s a huge issue because that is something that was done much better in the first two films. Even the third film did it better, and that film was one of the worst horror films that you could ever watch.
So essentially, they crammed together a bunch of random things and tried to somehow match that into a coherent film. It just doesn’t work, it’s simply a broken formula. You can’t just create anything that you think is gonna shock people, and expect to be something revolutionary.
Although I’m pretty sure that the filmmakers knew that it wasn’t going to be something revolutionary, they just wanted it to make a lot of money. Money is the main motivator for the saw films getting sequels, and that just always ruins franchises.
I guess the acting is okay in this one, though it’s nothing special and it’s much worse than the rest of the films. I even think that the visuals have suffered a massive downgrade, despite having the same budget as the third film. It’s a $10 million budget, what is it about this film that drains so much of it that you can’t experiment on cinematography anymore?
It just feels bland to look at. It has little to no use of any variety in colors, the color palette with the greyish, brownish, and red hues that are constantly on screen all the time, and the shots are surface-level at best with no depth to them. There’s no innate storytelling being done through the visuals, it’s all just exposition through dialogue or straight-up people dying.
The Bottom Line
Essentially, SAW IV is by far the worst film in the franchise. When a film’s director doesn’t learn from their previous mistakes, it just results in the same product being created again, with the same mistakes and the same problems that were there in the first place. That is exactly what happens in the case of this film, which is a repetitive grind, a sluggish outpour of gore and depravity. Nothing in this film works, and it’s by far the worst in the franchise.