Saw V is a 2008 Canadian-American horror film directed by David Hackl and written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan and stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Mark Rolston, Julie Benz, Carlo Rota, and Meagan Good. It is the fifth installment of the Saw franchise, and was released on October 23, 2008 in Australia and October 24, 2008 in North America.
David Hackl, who served as the production designer of Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV, and second-unit director for Saw III and Saw IV made his directorial debut with Saw V. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the writers of the previous film, returned to write the film. Charlie Clouser, who provided the score for all previous Saw films, also returned to compose the score for the film. Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell served as executive producers.
Seth Baxter, a murderer released from prison on a technicality, wakes up chained to a table underneath a pendulum blade. A videotape informs him that crushing his hands between the presses will release him. He does so, but the blade still swings down and cuts him in half, as someone watches through a hole in the wall. In the meatpacking plant, FBI Agent Peter Strahm shoots Jeff Denlon in self-defense and is locked in the sickroom. He locates an exit in the wall and finds a microcassette recorder, which implores him to remain in the sickroom, but he ignores it and is attacked in the tunnel by a pig-masked figure. He awakens with a box sealed around his head that quickly fills with water, but he survives by performing a tracheotomy using his pen. Outside, Detective Mark Hoffman delivers Corbett Denlon to the police, claiming they are the only survivors, and is shocked when Strahm is brought out alive as well.
Jill Tuck meets with John Kramer's attorney, the administrator of his will. She is left a large box and a videotape, in which John professes his love for her and stresses the "grave importance" of the box's contents. She opens it with a key hung around her neck and then leaves without disclosing its contents. During a press conference, a memorial service is held for Lieutenant Daniel Rigg and Detectives David Tapp, Steven Sing, Allison Kerry, and Eric Matthews; Hoffman is promoted to detective lieutenant and credited with closing the case. He finds a note in his office that reads "I know who you are" and, while taking Strahm's phone, learns of the death of Strahm's partner, Lindsey Perez. He visits Strahm at the hospital, who tells him that Perez's last words were his name, and questions how Hoffman escaped the plant unharmed. Strahm is also visited by his boss, Dan Erickson, who takes him off the case. Now suspicious of Hoffman and determined to piece together his involvement, Strahm takes case files of past Jigsaw victims and begins researching them on his own.
In an underground chamber, five people â" Ashley, a former fire inspector; Brit, a real estate vice president; Charles, an investigative journalist; Luba, a city planner; and Mallick, an arsonist - awaken with collars connected to mounted blades locked around their necks. The keys are in glass boxes across the room, although advancing towards them will set off a one-minute timer. A videotape advises them to "do the opposite" of their instincts throughout the tests and states that all five are connected. Mallick activates the timer and everyone reaches their keys in time except for Ashley, who is decapitated when the collars retract. Their starting room and each subsequent room has timed nail bombs in the corners, forcing the group to move forward. The remaining four learn more about each other in the next room. A videotape informs them that the keys to three bomb shelters are in overhead jars. Charles strikes Mallick, and starts smashing the overhead jars one by one. Brit and Luba each find a key, while Charles takes Mallick's, but Charles is struck from behind by Luba and left to die when the bombs explode. In the third room, five short cables must be connected to a full bathtub to unlock the door. Luba attacks Mallick, intent on using his body to close the circuits, but Brit stabs her and they use her body instead. In the fourth room, they find a machine fitted with circular saws that contains a beaker requiring ten pints of blood to open the door. Mallick notes the five armholes and they realize that every test was set up for all five victims to work together to survive. Brit also pieces together what they learned about each other and realizes that they were all connected through a building fire that killed eight people. With no other options, they saw their arms to provide the blood.
Meanwhile, Strahm travels to past game locations and learns through his research that Seth Baxter was convicted of killing Hoffman's younger sister, Angelina. After his early release, Baxter was abducted and killed with the pendulum trap by Hoffman, who used the trap to frame Jigsaw. Hoffman was later abducted by John, who used his knowledge of the murder to coerce Hoffman into working with him. Together they set up most of the games, including the razor-wire maze, and the nerve gas house. Strahm also learns that everyone was meant to die in the plant except for Corbett and Hoffman, who would appear to be a hero. Strahm's activities soon draw Erickson's worry, which is fueled when Jill approaches Erickson, and claims that Strahm is stalking her. He also receives a call from Hoffman, who tells him about Strahm's theory of a second accomplice, and puts a tracker on Strahm's phone.
Hoffman plants the stolen phone and Erickson's personnel file in the observation room of the current game. Erickson follows the tracker to the room and finds the planted items as well as Brit, who managed to crawl out of the fourth room after Mallick passed out from blood loss. After calling for medical attention for the victims, Erickson puts out an all-points bulletin on Strahm. Strahm follows Hoffman to the renovated nerve gas house where he finds an underground room containing a clear box filled with broken glass. Hoffman's tape urges Strahm to enter the box, but he stops it short and ambushes Hoffman. After a brief struggle, he seals him in the box, causing the room's door to seal itself. Hoffman points to the tape, which warns Strahm that if he doesn't enter the box, he will "simply vanish" and Hoffman's legacy will become his. The box is safely lowered into the floor as the walls close in on Strahm, who attempts in vain to escape through the ceiling grid, and is crushed to death.
Saw V was written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and the film went into production after Christmas 2007. Principal photography took place from March 17, 2008 to April 28, 2008 in Toronto. By mid-July 2008, there had been three photos released of David Hackl at the set of Saw V. The first trailer, depicting Agent Strahm's box trap, was released at Comic-Con 08 as a short clip and the trailer was also shown before The X-Files: I Want to Believe. The website opened on August 6, 2008. On September 17, 2008, a new clip was available on the Saw V website, depicting the Pendulum Trap.
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.
In its opening weekend, Saw V grossed $30,053,954 in 3,060 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking number two at the box office behind High School Musical 3: Senior Year. It grossed $56,746,769 in the United States and Canada, and an additional $57,117,290 in other markets, for a worldwide total of $113,864,059. This was the second film in the series to not be number one at the box office, the first was the first film. It is Lionsgate's tenth highest-grossing film 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, making it the second poorest-reviewed film in the series, losing to the most recent Saw 3D. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus states "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 13 reviews.
Elizabeth Weizman of the New York Daily News believed that the lack of Tobin Bell's Jigsaw 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 procedural".
Some reviews were positive, however. The British website Digital Spy rated it 3/5 stars and commended 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.
Unrated Director's Cut
During an interview at the 2008 Scream Awards, Hackl claimed that his director's cut of Saw V (released on DVD January 20, 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. However, only a few changes were made and the extra footage was never released, running only four minutes longer than the theatrical version.
Unrated Collector's Edition
A collector's edition is available with exclusive packaging. It features sound effects, a collector's booklet, and a spinning "saw blade". The features on the DVD itself are the same as the standard Unrated Director's Cut.
The soundtrack was released on October 21, 2008 by Artists' Addiction Records.
- Saw V at the Internet Movie Database
- Saw V at Box Office Mojo
- Saw V at Rotten Tomatoes
- Saw V at Metacritic