Saw V is the fifth installment in the Saw film series. The film was released on October 23, 2008 in Australia, and October 24 in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. Saw V was directed by David Hackl, unlike the previous three installments which were directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. Hackl was the production designer of Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV, and second-unit director for Saw III and Saw IV.
The film begins with a man named Seth Baxter, who is in a trap which has a pendulum blade suspended above his body. Seth was a murderer who killed Mark Hoffman's sister, released early from a life sentence on a technicality. He is told to push buttons inside of two devices, his hands will be crushed but the pendulum will be stopped. Reluctantly he does push the buttons and his hands are crushed completly, but the pendulum continues to descend upon him regardless and cuts him in two, meaning the trap was inescapable, and therefore not one that had been set by Jigsaw.
In a scene from the end of Saw IV Peter Strahm enters the room where Jigsaw died and shoots Jeff Denlon dead in self-defense. Seconds later, someone locks the door on Strahm. Strahm then examines the room and finds a secret door, and a recorder. The recording warns him not to move foward into the room, telling him that it could be his sanctuary or his grave. He disregards it and is attacked by a figure in a pig mask. He wakes up in one of Jigsaw's traps and finds his head in a glass cube, which quickly starts to fill with water. Before he runs out of air, he performs a tracheotomy with the tube of a ballpoint pen. The police make it to the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, and Mark Hoffman emerges carrying Corbett Denlon, claiming that he saved her. Then Strahm is carried out on a stretcher alive but badly injured, much to Hoffman's surprise. The Chief of Police announces that the Jigsaw murders are over, and promotes Mark to Lieutenant Detective, praising him as a hero for stopping Jigsaw. Meanwhile, Jill Tuck is given a videotape and a box from John's lawyer. In the video Jigsaw says goodbye to Jill, and tells her that the contents of the box, says John, are of grave importance to her. After looking in the box, Jill looks surprised, but leaves without telling John's lawyer what's inside, therefore the contents of the box remain unknown.
Agent Perez is pronounced dead due to her injuries in Saw IV, and Strahm tells Hoffman that her last words was the latter's name. Strahm returns to his office and begins to investigate all of the victims linked to Jigsaw, discovering that Seth murdered Hoffman's sister and theorizing that the trap for Seth was made by Hoffman, framing Jigsaw. Strahm guesses that Jigsaw used this fact to blackmail Hoffman into helping him, and in a series of flashback we see Hoffman help Jigsaw set up Paul Stallberg in the Razor Wire Maze from Saw, set up the Nerve Gas House from Saw II, and talk with Jigsaw before leaving him with Lynn Denlon and Amanda in Saw III.
Meanwhile, five people wake up in a sewer, in a trap connecting all five to guillotine blades, keys are in glass boxes at the other end of the room. A video tells them that they all had advantages from birth, but they wasted them selfishly. Then the tape tells them about the trap, if they do not reach the keys in front of them in 60 seconds, their heads will be decapitated. They also observe that there are nail bombs connected to a 15 minute timer. They assume that if they do not exit the room in within those 15 minutes, the bombs will go off, killing them. Charles tells the group about Ashley's past. Mallick demands to know how Charles knew that, however Charles doesn't answer. Mallick gets anxious and runs ahead, starting the timer. Charles pulls the cord causing Mallick to fall to the ground. Then, one by one, they reach out for their keys, however Mallick pulls the cable hard causing Ashley's cable to pull her back. They all release themselves successfully, however Ashley is still trapped. The timer runs out and Ashley is beheaded when the collar jerks her neck into the blade.
Charles, Mallick, Luba and Brit enter the next room, finding bombs in the corners. They start telling about their pasts. They close the door right before the bombs in the first room go off, and this triggers the next tape and the next bomb timer. The tape tells them that there are 4 chambers that will protect them from the bombs' blast. However there are only 3 keys, and they are in the glass jars above them. They need to smash all the jars and find the correct keys to enter the bomb shelters before the bombs explode. Charles smashes all the jars after assaulting Mallick, claiming that it's "Survival of the fittest". He is about to enter his shelter when Luba hits him with a pole. The trio enter the shelters, leaving Charles to be killed by the bombs.
Meanwhile, through a flashback, its revealed that Hoffman was kidnapped by John Kramer soon after finding the remains of Seth. John tells him that he knew about Hoffman's sister. John scolds him about killing Seth. Then John reveals himself to be Jigsaw and blackmails Hoffman, telling him that, unless he becomes Jigsaw's apprentice, he will reveal that Hoffman set up Seth's trap. Hoffman reluctantly agrees. Back to real time, Agent Strahm starts connecting dots to pin out Hoffman as the Jigsaw apprentice. Hoffman talks to Agent Erickson (Mark Rolston) and tells him to contact Strahm for him. Strahm travels to the place of Paul's trap from "Saw". It is then revealed that Jigsaw knows all of his victim's crimes because Hoffman is a police detective, and therefore he has access to police files about the citizens. In a flashback, it's seen how John and Hoffman both kiddnaped Paul, after a fight. Then John and Hoffman set up the trap. Then John tells Hoffman to watch Paul complete his test through a peephole. Hoffman tells John of a detective who's getting close, David Tapp. John then tells him to lead Tapp to "A doctor, a healer who needs healing" (Dr. Lawrence Gordon from Saw). Later we see Hoffman helping set up the Nerve Gas House from Saw II. Before leaving the house, John tells Hoffman that "If you are good at anticipating the human mind, it leaves nothing to chance (in the games)."
Luba, Mallick, and Brit go through to the next room They find a bathtub in the middle of the room. They dig deeper into their pasts, and the figure out that they did things that ruined the lives of others. They close the door and another tape powers on. They have to find a way to complete a circuit to open the door but the cords they need to connect to the bathtub full of water are not long enough. They assume that they have to sacrifice someone to bridge the gaps. Luba tries to use Mallick, but Brit stabs her, then Mallick and Brit connect the wires and use her body to complete the circuit. The door opens to their final test.
Jill Tuck goes see Erickson about an FBI agent following her for a long time now. She thinks that it's Strahm. Meanwhile, Strahm travels back to the Gideon Meatpacking Plant from Saw III. In a flashback, John tells Hoffman to set up the game currently being played, the Fatal Five's Tests. He tells him that the people being tested are part of something much bigger, and that in the end "All the pieces will fit together". This flashback occurs right before Lynn Denlon is brought before John by Amanda. Strahm finds out that he was supposed to die too, in order for Hoffman's plan to fully succeed. Hoffman then uses Strahm's phone to pin him as Jigsaw's accomplice, by placing it in front of a set of monitors that are surveilling the current game.
In the final room, Brit and Mallick find a table lined with armholes with saw blades inside. A tape reveals that they must insert their arms into the holes and saw them to fill a beaker inside with 10 pints of blood. Doing so would unlock the door, and let them go. However they find five openings, and they finally understand that in all the traps, no one had to die. They could've used the same key to unlock every collar in the first room, more than one person could fit in the bomb shelters, and if they all were exposed to the electric current, it would evenly spread, and they would recieve each a non lethal shock, thus opening the door. With no other options, Brit and Mallick begin sawing their hands in an attempt to fill the beaker with their blood. As Brit and Mallick fill the beaker, Erickson makes it to the scene. Both pass out from blood loss and pain as Erickson calls for backup.
Erickson, having found the Jigsaw files Strahm took and his cell phone, issues an APB on Strahm, assuming him to be involved with Jigsaw. Strahm follows Hoffman to the location of the current game, and enters a room with a transparent glass box filled with broken glass, a tape player, and a tape. The tape with Hoffman's unscrambled voice urges Strahm to trust the tape and get into the box. He'll be hurt, but he'll survive whatever trap is set up. Hoffman walks into the room and Strahm turns off the tape, ambushes Hoffman, and pushes him into the glass box, thinking that he has caught Hoffman. Suddenly, the box locks and the door to the room closes and locks. Strahm demands to know how to open it, but Hoffman points at the tape. Strahm continues the tape, which explains that if he doesn't enter the glass box, his body will never be found and he'll be set up as a Jigsaw apprentice. The walls begins to close in on Strahm as Hoffman lies safe and sound in the glass box as it lowers into the floor. Strahm, realizing that the tape was right, and that he should have trusted it, tries to escape but is slowly crushed to death while Hoffman watches from down below.
|Agent Strahm||Scott Patterson|
|Dan Erickson||Mark Rolston|
|Chief of Police||Al Sapienza|
|Law Office Receptionist||Dana Sorman|
|Special Agent Cowan||Shiela Shah|
|Pamela Jenkins||Samantha Lemole|
|Agent Perez||Athena Karkanis|
|Eric Matthews||Donnie Wahlberg|
|David Tapp||Danny Glover|
|Heather Miller||Natalie Brown|
|Person w/ Dog||Quancetia Hamilton|
|Old Woman||Lorraine Foreman|
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.
Box office performance
In its opening weekend, Saw V grossed $30 million in 3,060 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #2 at the box office behind High School Musical 3: Senior Year. As of October 30, 2008, it has grossed $35.7 million in the United States and Canada.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 12% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 57 reviews — with the consensus that "If its plot were as interesting as its torture devices, or its violence less painful than its performances, perhaps Saw V might not feel like it was running on fumes." Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 20 out of 100, based on 10 reviews.
Elizabeth Weizman of the New York Daily News believed that the lack of Tobin Bell's character hurt the film: "Bell's deliciously twisted madman was the lifeline of this series, and without him, we're left watching a routine horror flick that might as well have gone straight to DVD...The series began with two major assets that set it apart: the concept of a brilliantly righteous executioner, and the actor who played him. Now, aside from Bell's brief, intermittent cameos, it has neither. So where the original Saw was diabolical fun, this fifth installment is as bloodless as the most unfortunate of Jigsaw's victims." Sam Adams of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "The virtues of the individual films are almost beside the point, since it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to pick up the thread at this late date, but Saw V is a particularly dull and discombobulated affair, shot and acted with all the flair of a basic-cable procedurl".
Some reviews were positive, however. British website Digital Spy was relatively positive about the film, however, rating it 3/5 stars and commending the film for its "solid acting, slick direction and suitably filthy cinematography too", while also stating it will "make far more sense to those familiar with the previous installments". IGN awarded the film with 3 out of 5 stars stating that the film ties up most of the loose ends of the previous 4 installments while also having a more straightforward and less complicated storyline. They also praised the traps for being the most inventive and best that the Saw franchise has had to offer.
DVD release/director's cut
During an interview at the 2008 Scream Awards, David Hackl confirmed that his director's cut of Saw V (to be released on DVD in 2009), would run approximately 14 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Hackl also stated that a number of scenes in the film would be re-ordered and arranged differently than in the theatrical cut.
- The location that Peter Strahm tracks Detective Hoffman to in the climax of the film is in actuality the Nerve Gas House from Saw II, which houses the bathroom from Saw. Evidence of this is seen in the location Hoffman parks his car, which is the same location Eric Matthews parks his car before going into the house in Saw II. Hoffman, after going into the house is seen opening a trap door in the floor of an (obviously referbished) room, and both Hoffman and Strahm pass a large closed sliding door (to the famous bathroom) in the basement with a streak of blood on the floor (most likely Det. Matthews after the flashbacks of his escape in Saw III and Saw IV). Making the crushing room the third known room in the basement, along with the infamous bathroom and the smaller room Det. Matthews was stored in after his escape from the bathroom and before being used in Rigg's test in Saw IV.
- This is the only Saw film that doesn't have the Game Over line.
- The shotgun that Jigsaw tied to Detective Hoffman is the same shotgun seen during the climax of Saw III in the trap for Timothy Young.
- 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.
- This is the only Saw where Billy is not voiced by Tobin Bell
- Saw V has the least body counts with a total of five.
- In the scene towards the end of the movie where Agent Strahm enters the Nerve Gas House the original Idea was for the houses appearance to remain the same as in Saw II with the decomposed corpses of those who died in the house in Saw II as well as showing the traps and archive footage. One particular idea was that Agent Strahm walked past the room containing the Razor Box and saw the decomposed corpse of Addison Corday who supposedly died of blood loss hanging from the box while he would also encounter the decayed corpses of Laura Hunter and Jonas Singer. He would then call for back up before entering the trap door. However this scene wasn't able to come to shooting as it was around 6 months after the events of Saw II and the house was possibly renovated in order to clear any evidence.