International Writers Magazine: Review
The obvious answer
lies in the threat of a copycat killer continuing his work. At first this
may appear as yet another copout, and you may be forgiven for thinking
that the original killers demise will lead to nothing more than
a shameless cash-in. This however is not the case, and instead of leaving
the original character behind, this fourth installment of the franchise
gives more depth to the character than is experienced in any of its predecessors.
In an attempt to discover a copycat killer or third person behind the
original atrocities FBI agents delve deeper into the killers origins.
Their investigation leads them to Jigsaw's ex-wife Jill, played by Betsy
Russell, who is a lead suspect in the latest murders.
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman Writer: Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton,
game well and truly up towards the conclusion of the third film,
it seems the Saw saga will end a trilogy, and for most its
a welcome end. But the game is by no means up, and upon entering
the premiere of Saw IV I am one of a large percentage of skeptics
with low expectations for this fourth outing in the series.
The film starts
with perhaps the most climatic opening sequence of the series as
we see a blinded man pitted against a silenced man in a high-octane
clash that can only end in classic Jigsaw style pain and suffering.
As a freshly reassured crowd still sits in awe at the impressive
sequence, another weight is lifted off the skeptics shoulders;
Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and his accomplice Amanda are dead. Theres
no half-assed, copout of a twist explaining his survival and we
dont have to stomach a lame attempt at a supernatural return
of the killer and his protégé, they are dead
pure and simple. Despite this relief, it still begs the question;
how can we have a Saw film without the narratives popular villain?
It's through Jill's retelling of her past that we discover how compassionate
engineer John Kramer made his spiraling descent in to his murderous alter-ego
Jigsaw. Through such sequences Jigsaw becomes the most sympathetic character
in the film, a stunning accomplishment when considering how he is responsible
for all the violence witnessed throughout the series.
In addition to Jigsaw, Saw IV focuses on Rigg (Lyriq Bent), a S.W.A.T.
Commander haunted by the loss of his colleagues to the murderous games
of Jigsaw. After being abducted by Jigsaw's mysterious new protégé,
Rigg finds himself thrown into a game manufactured by Jigsaw from beyond
the grave. Due to his obsessive need to help people Jigsaws game sends
Rigg on a journey that forces him to learn a prominent message; you cant
help people, they must help themselves. To do this he must follow a series
of deadly clues designed to make him see people through the eyes and mind
of the killer. However, as usual in these films, he must do so in a set
time or his and his familys lives are at stake.
Saw IV is by no means perfect. On a strictly visceral level, the film
surpasses all expectations boasting the most violent and creative deaths
seen throughout the series. The innovative addition of Jigsaw makes the
character more three-dimensional in death than he has been in life. However
the film does still have its flaws. While Riggss character is involving
enough, his plight doesnt vary from the plight of previous Saw victims,
and therefore tends to fall very much into "been there, done that"
territory. Also, as genius as the expected "twist" may be, the
new copycat protégé of Jigsaw is still left with a distinct
lack of motivation to explain their actions. It is a conclusion that will
certainly infuriate as many viewers as it impresses.
Overall, Saw IV more than surpassed my expectations and, after the severely
disappointing third chapter of the saga, continues to strengthen the high
repute of the Saw franchise. Whether its creators can continue to build
its strength over another two planned sequels however is yet to be seen.
Needless to say, the game is far from over.
© Calivin Hussey November 2007
Calvin is studying Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth
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