By Roger Moore
Another All Hallow’s Eve, another “Saw” movie. They’re as dependable as pumpkins and as fresh as a jack-o’-lantern left out in the sun until Thanksgiving, but no matter. It wouldn’t be fall without a little more torture porn.
More “guilty” people deserving “punishment,” kidnapped, chained in a basement filled with ingenious, self-mutilating torture devices that the punished must endure to survive to the next room on their way to “rehabilitation.” More cops trying to solve the Jigsaw riddle before more of the punished bleed out, gruesomely.
More tape recordings of Jigsaw whispering “Make your choice.”
Yeah, he died, was it in “Saw IV”? Or was it “Saw III”? I forget. Whatever. Tobin Bell still turns up as the pale, feral blond with a gift for gory gadgets.
It’s so predictable that the mind wanders. Has Bell, a little-known character actor, cashed in big-time from these little horror pictures? Is he investing wisely? I mean, with the markets in the toilet and all. He didn’t own WaMu, did he? Surely he saw that coming. The ATMs are always busted and you order checks, they send you small business deposit slip books.
But wait, isn’t that the dishy Meagan Good, mixed in among the victims? You don’t forget those lips (“Stomp the Yard”). The first “Saw” had Aussie talent behind the camera, and Danny Glover and Cary Elwes and a hacksaw choice — whack off your foot or die in this basement. “Saw V” has a director named David Hackl (HAH! — too easy) and Costas Mandylor and Scott Patterson are the cops on the case (one’s a fed).
“Saw V” utterly mimics the original film’s formula — that awful basement, those cops chasing clues in what we assume to be the same time-frame, those awful devices of death. Here, “every man for himself” is an instinct that could kill you, actual saws are in short supply (Jigsaw kept Home Depot in business), nail bombs are the IED of choice and “bleeding out” is a necessity.
And Bell is here in the many “This is how this all happened” flashbacks, explaining, justifying the unjustifiable.
“I give people a chance,” he says. Sure. Judge, jury and slaughterhouse operator, that’s our Jigsaw.
What’s most laughable here is how familiar everybody stuck in the basement is with the “Jigsaw case,” aka the other four “Saw” movies, when Shawnee Smith, Angus McFadyen, Dina Meyer, Donnie Wahlberg and other C-listers went through the same thing. Like later casts of TV’s “Survivor,” they think they know that they’ll need this key or that one. And they’re resigned to their fate.
“We’re all here for a reason.”
None of that “Why is this happening to me?” These five folk see where they are and instantly they’re thinking, “Cary Elwes, hacksaw, when do I start?”
If they’re not terrified, should we be? No.