Saw V is a mystery psychological thriller and the fifth installment of the Saw franchise, first released in 2008. Directed by David Hackl, the production designer of the previous films, and written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the film's story revolves around Special Agent Peter Strahm, who continues the investigation of the Jigsaw Case to finally end the murders and apprehend Detective Mark Hoffman, the successor of the late Jigsaw Killer. The fifth movie further explores Hoffman's past and his development as Jigsaw's accomplice, while continuing several story lines started in Saw IV.
A man named Seth Baxter awakes in a trap, which consists of a large pendulum blade suspended above him. Seth is a convicted murderer, who was sentenced to life in prison, but was released after five years due to a technicality. He has 60 seconds to insert both of his hands in two vises next to him and press a button, which will activate the vises and crush his hands, but also stop the swinging blade, which comes closer and closer to his body. Eventually, he accomplishes his task in time. However, the pendulum doesn't stop and Seth is brutally cut in half nonetheless, while his death is observed by an unknown person from the next room.
The scene shifts to the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, where Special Agent Peter Strahm is locked up in a room by Detective Mark Hoffman, along with the corpses of John Kramer, Amanda Young, Jeff Denlon and Dr. Lynn Denlon. Upon examining the room, Strahm finds a hidden door with a tape recorder behind it. The recording warns him to stay in the room and wait for reinforcements, telling him that it could either be his sanctuary or his grave. Strahm, however, ignores the warning and proceeds through the secret hallway, where his is suddenly attacked and subdued by a pig-masked figure. When he wakes up again, he finds himself in one of Jigsaw's traps with his head trapped in a glass cube, which quickly fills with water. Before running out of air, Strahm performs a tracheotomy on himself with a pen. Meanwhile, the police arrives at the plant, just as Hoffman leaves it with Corbett Denlon, who was trapped inside as well. To Hoffman's surprise, Strahm is carried out on a gurney, severely injured but still alive.
Following the death of John Kramer, his ex-wife, Jill Tuck, is called by his executor, Bernie Feldman. He gives her a video tape left for her by John for the case of his death. Along with the tape, Feldman also hands her a black box, which she opens with a key attached to her necklace. As she takes a look inside, Jill is shocked and surprised, but leaves the office without telling Feldman what is in the box. Therefore, its contents remain unknown.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Police announces the end of the Jigsaw murders and promotes Hoffman to Detective Lieutenant for his efforts in solving the case. However, when Hoffman returns to his office, he finds a letter on his desk, reading: "I know who you are." Shortly afterwards, he is informed that Special Agent Lindsey Perez succumbed to her injuries from the events of Saw IV. When he visits Strahm at the hospital to condole on her death, Strahm tells him that her last words had been "Detective Hoffman." As this results in an argument between them, Hoffman leaves the room. Later, Strahm is visited by his supervisor, Special Agent Dan Erickson, who informs him that he is off the case on his orders.
Following his visit at the hospital, Hoffman goes to an underground catacomb area, where he has already set up his next game. Five people - Ashley, Charles, Luba Gibbs, Brit and Mallick - wake up in a room with leather collars around their necks, which are all connected through a cord. A video tells them that they were chosen for this game as they selfishly wasted certain advantages given to them at birth. If they don't manage to obtain the keys to their collars, which are located in five glass boxes in front of them, they will be decapitated after 60 seconds by large, v-shaped blades mounted to the wall behind them. If they do nothing, they will be killed by several nail bombs, which are connected to a 15-minute-timer. One by one, all of them get their hands on the keys, except for Ashley, who is pulled back into one of the blades and dies.
In the next room, the remaining survivors find 16 glass jars suspended from the ceiling, as well as more bombs. Furthermore, there are four chambers in the walls, which could save them from the explosion. The keys to these chambers are in the jars. However, only three of them fit the locks. As a 60-second-timer starts to count down, Charles attacks Mallick and brutally batters him, stating that one of them had to die inevitably. As he smashes the glasses, Brit and Luba each get their hands on one of the keys. Just as Charles finds a key for himself as well, he is attacked from behind by Luba. Embracing the opportunity, Mallick grabs the key and goes into the third chamber. Moments later, Charles is killed by the explosion.
As Luba, Brit and Mallick enter the next room, they dig deeper into their past to figure out a possible connection between them. Thereby, Mallick admits that he had caused the death of eight people, but states that he didn't want this to happen. Luba tells them that she has taken bribes during her work for the Department of City Planning, in exchange for granting bulding permissions, while Brit, who is the vice president of a real estate company, often has to tear down older buildings in order to build new ones, thereby causing many people to lose their living spaces. As they receive the instructions for their next test, they are told that they have to connect five cords to the water of a bathtub in the middle of the room. By closing the circuits, they can open the next door. The cords, however, are to short and therefore, Luba and Mallick engage in a fight as she tells him to go in the bathtub so they can connect the cords to his body. Before she can kill him, she is killed by Brit. Afterwards, she and Mallick use Luba's body instead and are thereby able to open the door and escape the room.
As they enter the final room, they find a large machine, with five holes on each side and a circular saw blade in each hole. Another tape reveals that they have to put their arms in the blades in order to sacrifice ten pints of blood, which will result in the opening of the final door. As Brit and Mallick prepare themselves for the last test, they realize that they were all supposed together the entire time, which would've enabled all five of them to live. In the first room, every key could have been used to unlock every collar, meaning that only one key was needed. The safety chambers in the second room were all big enough for more than one person. In the third room, every one of them was supposed to hold one cord and thereby only receive a minimal electric shock. With no other option left, the two of them put their hands in the holes and sacrifice their blood, which flows into a beaker. Eventually, they manage to fill it and thereby win their game.
At the same time as the first game begins, Peter Strahm leaves the hospital and decides to continue the investigation on his own. As he is convinced that Detective Hoffman is the remaining accomplice of the Jigsaw Killer, he reviews all the files of the case and thereby finds out that Seth Baxter, who died at the beginning of the film, was the murderer of Detective Hoffman's sister, Angelina Acomb. To find out more about his motives and his connection to Jigsaw, Strahm revisits some of the old crime scenes.
Flashbacks reveal that Hoffman worked on the Jigsaw Case from the beginning. When Seth was released from prison despite having received a life sentence, Hoffman killed him and made the murder appear to be another one of Jigsaw's crimes. The real Jigsaw Killer, however, found out about this and sent him a letter saying: "I know who you are." Shortly afterwards, he abducted Hoffman and blackmailed Hoffman with the truth about Seth's death. Thereby, he forced Hoffman to help him. It is also revealed that Hoffman had helped Jigsaw to set up several games from the previous movies, such as Paul Leahy's game from the first film and the primary game of Saw II, and was also the one who faked the evidence against Dr. Lawrence Gordon.
As Strahm comes closer and closer to his secret, Hoffman throws Agent Erickson's suspicion on him. He sends Jill Tuck to his office, where she tells him that she believes to be observed and followed by Strahm. When Erickson leaves the building, shortly after his conversation with Jill, Hoffman uses Strahm's stolen phone to call him, but hangs up the call immediately and turns off the phone. Therefore, Erickson orders Special Agent Cowan to locate the signal of the phone. Hoffman the returns to the catacombs, where he activates the phone again and places it on a table in his surveillance room. Thereby, Cowan successfully locates it and informs Erickson about the address. He arrives there just as Brit and Mallick finish their game. When he finds Brit, she passes out from blood loss and Erickson calls for an ambulance. As he further examines the room, he finds Strahm's phone as well as photos of the victims of the game and a folder with photos of himself. Therefore, he orders Cowan to put out an APB on Strahm as he believes that he is the successor of Jigsaw.
Meanwhile, Strahm follows Hoffman to a house, which turns out to be the renovated Nerve Gas House from Saw II. Thereby, he finds the entrance to the hidden underground tunnel network. As he proceeds through the tunnels, he eventually enters a room with a large glass coffin, which contains numerous broken glass shards as well as an audio tape. The tape, recorded by Hoffman, congratulates him for finding the room, but urges him to go into the coffin, assuring him that this would be painful but was the only way to save himself. He stops the tape when he hears Hoffman coming closer and goes into hiding behind the door. As Hoffman enters the room, the two of them engage in a fight, which ends with Hoffman being locked up inside the coffin by Strahm. Seconds later, the door of the room slams shut. When Strahm demands to know how to open it, Hoffman calmly points at the tape. As Strahm continues the recording, he learns that if he doesn't enter the coffin, he'll die in this room and will be set up as Jigsaw's successor. At the same time, the coffin is safely lowered down into a hollow space in the floor as the walls of the room close in on Strahm, who unsuccessfully attempts to escape through the ceiling grid, and is crushed to death, while Hoffman looks on from the coffin.
- Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John
- Costas Mandylor as Mark Hoffman
- Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm
- Betsy Russell as Jill
- Julie Benz as Brit
- Meagan Good as Luba
- Mark Rolston as Dan Erickson
- Carlo Rota as Charles
- Greg Bryk as Mallick
- Laura Gordon as Ashley
- Joris Jarsky as Seth
- Mike Butters as Paul
- Al Sapienza as Chief of Police
- Mike Realba as Detective Fisk
- Jeff Pustil as Bernie
- Dana Sorman as Law Office Receptionist
- Sheila Shah as Special Agent Cowan
- Samantha Lemole as Pamela Jenkins
- Lyriq Bent as Rigg
- Athena Karkanis as Agent Perez
- Justin Louis as Art
- Donnie Wahlberg as Eric Matthews
- Danny Glover as David Tapp
- Shawnee Smith as Amanda
- Bahar Soomekh as Lynn
- Niamh Wilson as Corbett
- Angus Macfadyen as Jeff
- Lisa Berry as EMT
- Bill Vibert as Officer
- Tony Nappo as Gus
- Brandon McGibbon as Hank
- Tim Burd as Obi
- Natalie Brown as Heather Miller
- Quancetia Hamilton as Person w/ Dog
- Lorraine Foreman as Old Woman
- Sarah Power as Angelina
- Cory Lee as Jasmine
The script of Saw V was written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who had already been responsible for writing Saw IV. It was directed by the production designer of the previous three films, David Hackl, and therefore the first film since Saw, which wasn't directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. Leigh Whannell and James Wan returned once again as the executive producers, while the producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules also returned. Additionally, Gregg Hoffman was still listed as one of the producers, despite his death on December 4, 2005.
With a budget of approximately $10.8 million, principal photography took place in Toronto from March 17, 2008 to April 28, 2008. By mid-July 2008, there had been three photos released of David Hackl at the set of Saw V. The first trailer, which showed Agent Strahm in the Water Cube Trap, was released at the San Diego Comic Con as a short clip. The official website opened on August 6, 2008. On September 17, 2008, a new clip was available on the site, showing the Pendulum Trap from the beginning of the film.
The film was released in Australia on October 23, 2008, in North America and the United Kingdom on October 24, 2008, and in New Zealand on October 30, 2008. During an interview at the Scream Awards in 2008, David Hackl claimed that his Director's Cut of the film, which was released on January 20, 2009, would run approximately 14 minutes longer than the theatrical version. Hackl also stated that a number of scenes in the film would be re-ordered and arranged differently. However, only a few changes were made and the extra footage was never released, making the Director's Cut merely four minutes longer than the theatrical version.
Like it's predecessors, Saw V was a financial success despite the mostly negative critics and reviews. On its opening weekend, the film grossed $30,053,954 in 3,060 theaters in the United States and Canada. It earned $56,746,769 in the United States and Canada throughout the next weeks and $113,864,059 worldwide. Saw V received a rating of 12% from Rotten Tomatoes, while Metacritic gave it a score of 20 out of 100, based on 13 critics. While many reviewers criticized the plot and the overall acting, the traps and torture scenes were praised for their creativity.
As with all the previous Saw films, Charlie Clouser returned as the composer of the soundtrack. Like the soundtrack of Saw III and IV, it was released on October 21, 2008 by Artists' Addiction Records.
1. Saw V Open
2. Seth Awake
3. Hello, Seth
5. Saw V Title
6. Strahm Flesh
7. Head Cage
8. Live One
11. Off Case
12. I Know
13. Perez Flash
14. I'm A Hero
15. Hoffman Lair
16. Wire Room
18. Wire Trap
19. Being Smart
20. Strahm Files
21. See Ya Round
23. Your Story
24. Odd Man Out
25. The Fittest
26. Meet Jigsaw
27. Jigsaw Hall
28. Jigsaw Vator
29. Jigsaw Attack
30. Hair Trigger
31. True Edge
32. What It Takes
33. My Method
34. I Am Jigsaw
36. Strahm Theory
37. Wire Pipe
38. He Had Help
39. Drunk Pig
40. Fat Pig
41. Pigs Revealed
43. Erickson Garage
44. Next Nightmare
45. Hoffman Approach
46. Hello, Strahm
47. Hoffman vs. Strahm
48. I Got You
49. Zepp Five
1. True Believer - Testament
2. Death and Destruction (A Vote of Non-Confidence Mix) - Ministry
3. What's Next (The Blood and Sand Mix) - Filter
4. Thanks Again, Again - The Almighty
5. The Banishment - Prong
6. The Dawning of Doom - Die Krupps
7. Power Player - Clutch
8. ugLi - Skinny Puppy
9. Strangers - William Control
11. Unlaced - Emilie Autumn
12. Blood and Music - Fixmer/McCarthy
13. Wizard of Sextown - Revolting Cocks
14. Date of Expiration - Funker Vogt
- When Strahm proceeded through the underground tunnels near the end of the film, he came across a blood trail left by Eric Matthews after his escape from the bathroom in Saw III.
- This is the only Saw film that doesn't have the iconic "Game Over" line.
- The shotgun that Jigsaw tied to Detective Hoffman after his abduction is the same shotgun seen in Saw III as part of Timothy Young's trap.
- It was originally conceived that both Brit and Luba would somehow lose their shirts in the first room and go through the rest of the film in just their bras. The idea was eventually thrown out out of respect the producers had for the two actresses.
- The idea to have Strahm be killed by two walls closing in on him actually came from director David Hackl's son.
- Saw V has the lowest body count in the series with a total of five.
- Originally, Strahm was supposed to find the corpses of the victims from Saw II as he made his way through the Nerve Gas House.