ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Saw IV (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Starring:
Lyriq Bent/Rigg
Tobin Bell/Jigsaw
Costas Mandylor/Hoffman
Scott Patterson/Agent Strahm
PLOT-CRUNCH
It takes more than death to keep the cancer ridden and psychotic Tony Robbins inclined Jigsaw (Bell) down. Yes he still wants to play a freaking game (big baby) and teach peeps life lessons and this time Swat leader Rigg (Bent) is the pawn. ITS ON!
THE LOWDOWN
After SAW III it was over for me; the franchise had vomited all that it had to say and ended on a high note. I didn’t really care to get more SAW-ness ... not this year anyways. But the money talked and bullshit walked and even though SAW III had FINITO stamped on its left butt cheek; here’s SAW IV knocking on our door saying “trick or treat my box office returns bitches” once again. Was I tricked or treated! Read on!
Although I can’t yap that I was horny for this third sequel, I still walked into the theatre with an open mind, hoping to be blown by it. Nobody likes to see a lousy movie; I got shit to do yo! Alas, the film went down the way I thought it would. Remotely engaging but with “played out” written all over it. Yes the expression “beating a dead whore” arose in my melon many o times throughout this watch. With that stabbed, its not to say the film was a total waste of time. The screenplay (by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan replacing series regular Leigh Whannell) did a fine job at jumping over the hurdles that the third installment had put up, hence managing to slyly continue the storyline... even though...well... it was finished. Problem was, Jigsaw beyond the grave was not nearly as captivating as Jigsaw alive and well, doing what he does best. There was that something “special” missing here and no amount of Jigsaw flashbacks could bring it to this sequel.

Now the flick had me trapped when it focused on the character of Rigg (well tackled by Lyrick Bent who has star potential written all over him). I dug the nature of his game and the nuances that came with it. While being forced to play it, he was indivertibly the driving force behind it. Very slick…they went “further” with a well known SAW plot device. Great idea! The traps (the real reasons to see these films at this point) were on the money as well. Although far from having the impact of the ones in Part II or the “bigness” of the traps in part III, they still whooped it good. Think more grounded and that was the smart way to go after the opera of horror that was the last sequel. Moreover; although somewhat trite if you stop to think about it, the added insight in Jigsaw’s past was gripping enough (that Jigsaw dude was one unlucky mofo – he had an Afterschool Special life); mostly due to Tobin Bell owning the scenery like the champ that he is. Can you spell presence? Yes? No? WHO CARES! The man has it! He burned the screen!

Unfortunately the narrative here was weaker than the past entries and much like a coke-whore looking for the lost dime-bag she has in her pocket - more all over the place. Straight up when they tossed that dude from Part III back into the mix – I was like “Okay, it’s the dude from part III, why is he here again? Who cares!” In addition; the constant back and forth between the present and the past took away from the main narrative line… the one that interested me the most; Rigg and his game (NOTE: Was his wife kidnapped or not? Wasn’t clear or emphasized on enough to jack up the stakes). And with Amanda and Jigsaw “gone”; I wasn’t as invested in the twists or the half cocked mystery that were gunned out. Funnily enough the peeps behind the film weren’t either since the latter elements were played down in favor of the kills and Jigsaw’s past. It’s almost like they knew they were playing with a weaker “cerebral” hand than the previous films so they went under the wire with it.

Now I won’t go into the whole suspension of disbelief thing cause the film was all about that jive and I went with it, in the name of having a groovy time. But this ttiny qualm stuck with me: what was up with that one trap with a plot hole tagged to its runp? One victim could’ve easily been saved from harm, if our hero did the right thing (cut her hair dude, rip it with your hands if you have to, better that than her being scalped). But that wouldn’t have been as much fun I guess. That annoyed me for some reason. Finally, when the ending kicked in and Charlie Clouser’s now staple musical cue arose; I yawned. Yes there was a twist and yes somebody said “Game Over”. Too bad the surprise was ho hum to say the least and the only thing I got from the “Game Over” line was that I agreed…GAME OVER on this franchise… on a creative level anyways.

So when the timer ran out of tick-tock and the trap vice-gripped my balls… was I entertained by SAW IV? Yes I was. All of the necessary ingredients were in the house and the pace was clipped enough for me to never get bored or hurt. But the magic was gone for me – they were just punching in their card with this one and I don’t blame them; there’s nothing left to do with these films BUT punch in that freaking card and call it a life. Maybe Jigsaw should start killing peeps in their dreams in Part 5; because this severed head has been bled dry. THE END? I doubt it…
GORE
We get a grisly autopsy scene, knives carving a face, rods in flesh, eye being popped, rods in wrists, body ripped apart, head squashed...and more! Not the wince inducer that was Part 3 but you will see blood!
ACTING
Lyriq Bent (Rigg) had the looks, chops and charm. Too bad he would disappear from the film for too long - he's who I was interested in. Tobin Bell (Jigsaw) owned it once again, giving layers to what could be a very one-dimensional part. Also, I just love to watch the guy do his shit onscreen. There's something unique about him. I always boogied to Costas Mandylor (Hoffman); he's a fine actor that's not used enough. He shined here...when he wasn't sitting in a chair with a gag in his mouth i.e. 85% of the time. Scott Patterson (Agent Strahm) did what he had to do well for the most part, he overplayed it a bit too much now and then for my liking. How many times can a dude sling a table across the room? COME ON! Tables are our friends!
T & A
We're treated to some light cleavage (yawn) and the ladies get Lyriq Bent showing off his Gold Gym upper body.
DIRECTING
Darren Lynn Bousman knows this game all too well by now, having directed Part 2 and 3. The zany camera shots, the clever scene transitions, the potent milking of the trap’s momentum and the random boo scares all worked it to the bone. At the same time; again, something was missing, not sure what…something.
SOUNDTRACK
For some reason Charlie Clouser's score felt too low key this time around and it carried little impact....yes...even during the final scene. No goose bumps from me on this round.
BOTTOM LINE
SAW IV or SAW IV A New Beginning as I like to call it, felt like what it was; a film that was made in the name of dough…not because there was anything left to say narrative wise. I mean some dude wearing a hockey mask chopping up dumb teens can come back endlessly cause that’s all he is. A dude in a goalie mask hacking teens. The SAW films on the end are smarter than that; thus it’s harder to keep them going while retaining the smarts and the edge. Best way I could put it is this: you know how some people stay in romantic relationships even though it’s over in their hearts? They just go through the motions, do what they always did but without that flicker, that meaning, that genuineness. Well that’s SAW IV for ya. It’s over, yet it’s still going on and it shows. NOTE: SAW IV did 32 Million this weekend so you can bet your sister's ass that there will be a SAW V.
BULL'S EYE
Donnie Wahlberg's character wasn't in the original script. But his time freed up and he was written in during production.

This was the first SAW to have the involvement of writer Leigh Whannell tagged to it.

Lyriq Bent is Canadian and we love him for it ; )

VISIT THE OFFICIAL SAW IV SITE HERE

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9:32PM on 10/24/2010

Good, decent if uninsipred sequel.

"Saw 4" along with "Saw 3" are the least satifyings sequels of the series. But it doesn`t mean, they are bad expect for some taste.

Darren Lynn Bousman returned to directed this one, it is certainly less gory than "Saw 2" and "Saw 3". But the movie has some good traps as usual and you get to know "Jigsaw/John Kramer" character better before he became "Jigsaw" in flashbacks.

For all it`s flaws, it is still worth a look.
"Saw 4" along with "Saw 3" are the least satifyings sequels of the series. But it doesn`t mean, they are bad expect for some taste.

Darren Lynn Bousman returned to directed this one, it is certainly less gory than "Saw 2" and "Saw 3". But the movie has some good traps as usual and you get to know "Jigsaw/John Kramer" character better before he became "Jigsaw" in flashbacks.

For all it`s flaws, it is still worth a look.
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4:21PM on 01/21/2009
For me, Saw was done after the first one. They should have never made another. They're trying to hard to keep this series alive and all they are doing now is making gory horror films under the Saw name. Also did anyone else find there was almost too much going on to figure out? It kinda pissed me off when I had to sit and think "ok who was that? Was he from there? What's he doing now? Why? Arrgggg!"
For me, Saw was done after the first one. They should have never made another. They're trying to hard to keep this series alive and all they are doing now is making gory horror films under the Saw name. Also did anyone else find there was almost too much going on to figure out? It kinda pissed me off when I had to sit and think "ok who was that? Was he from there? What's he doing now? Why? Arrgggg!"
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+0
3:11AM on 03/09/2008

Some spoilers... but never mind, the SAW series is spoiled anyway

For me, Saw was done after... well, Saw. It was a great standalone movie. Sequelisation was inevitable, and Part 2 and 3 weren't too bad, but by Part 4 it really devalues the impact of the original... especially when you have all this lame exposition to explain exactly "How Jigsaw Became Jigsaw", to tell you his whole life story and justify why he kills... am I the only one who thinks Jigsaw, the Texas Chainsaw family and other horror villains should be allowed a little bit of mystery or
For me, Saw was done after... well, Saw. It was a great standalone movie. Sequelisation was inevitable, and Part 2 and 3 weren't too bad, but by Part 4 it really devalues the impact of the original... especially when you have all this lame exposition to explain exactly "How Jigsaw Became Jigsaw", to tell you his whole life story and justify why he kills... am I the only one who thinks Jigsaw, the Texas Chainsaw family and other horror villains should be allowed a little bit of mystery or ambiguity?

Also, with Jigsaw gone... erm, well his chosen apprentice Shawnee Smith wouldn't have been much of a substitute. And now some random cop takes over? At this rate Part 5 will no doubt reveal that the new Jigsaw is actually the kid locked up at the end of Part 3... and by Part 6 it'll be a random extra from High School Musical. It's embarassing.

By now there's just too much dumbness for me... The tests stopped making sense a long time ago. Donnie Wahlberg's test was over in Part 2, so why was he kept alive as a prisoner and then f*cked over? Doesn't really fit in with Jigsaw's deal of giving victims a "choice". And I know he was supposed to be a genius, but he must also have supernatural mind powers, since some of his traps rely on specific people doing very specific things in a specific way at exact times... suspension of disbelief can be stretched a bit too far.

I guess we had to have a new horror franchise since Freddy, Michael and Jason are no more... clearly Saw is that horror cash cow for the decade, and like those series, some of the sequels will be reasonably entertaining... but like those series, they also devalue the stories and the characters each time, so that by the 5th movie you'll be forgetting that the first one was actually a good and memorable film.

Darren Lynn Bousman is reasonably good at filming people being butchered by wacky traps. I guess it's not a technically bad movie... but I spent the whole time thinking "Why am I watching this?" I'll ask myself the same question in Saw 5... the one question I won't be asking is "Is this the last one?"... It's a franchise, there won't be a last one until they're completely done scraping shavings off the bottom of the barrel... for someone who's seen it happen to the Alien, Freddy Krueger and plenty of other good original ideas, this is deja vu all over again...
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11:54PM on 01/01/2008

Game Over

Like many, I believed that the 3rd Saw ended the franchise on a good note. Although I did have a sliver of hope for this movie, I still had a feeling that I would be let down with the fourth installment.

Turns out that Saw 4 was a terrible addition to a successful trilogy. The twist was predictable, the characters were not memorable, and there was no bathroom scene. To put it simply, the Saw franchise is dead. They should have ended with 3.

The only redeeming factor in Saw 4 is that
Like many, I believed that the 3rd Saw ended the franchise on a good note. Although I did have a sliver of hope for this movie, I still had a feeling that I would be let down with the fourth installment.

Turns out that Saw 4 was a terrible addition to a successful trilogy. The twist was predictable, the characters were not memorable, and there was no bathroom scene. To put it simply, the Saw franchise is dead. They should have ended with 3.

The only redeeming factor in Saw 4 is that Donnie Wahlberg's character gets a cool death scene. (he was probably getting tired of the Saw franchise too:)
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+0
12:33PM on 11/14/2007

saw my head off i have a head ache

this saw was definatly the most commercial saw yet but also the most flawed, it was at times so fast paced it was confusing evan durring times where knowing was important it was also a bit overstyleized with some of the transitions and lighting as compared to the previous saw films and the ending pissed me off cause it managed to somewhat confuse me for about ten minutes after leaving while remaining completly dirivitive of the other saw endings with the game over line id say 6 out of 10 is in
this saw was definatly the most commercial saw yet but also the most flawed, it was at times so fast paced it was confusing evan durring times where knowing was important it was also a bit overstyleized with some of the transitions and lighting as compared to the previous saw films and the ending pissed me off cause it managed to somewhat confuse me for about ten minutes after leaving while remaining completly dirivitive of the other saw endings with the game over line id say 6 out of 10 is in order cuz riggs was a raw charictor and the traps still stayed pretty cool
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6:53PM on 11/05/2007

Saw and Order

SAW IV was the first in the series that I didn't like. It's more of a cop thriller with gore than a horror movie. The previous two were drifting in that direction, and with the revelation of who the "new" Jigsaw is, I only see that trend continuing, making me much less interested in future sequels. (And to paraphrase SAW II, Oh yes, there will be sequels.)

There are a lot of loose ends in IV: What happened to the SWAT commander's wife? Why attatch the alternate ending w/ obvious sequel
SAW IV was the first in the series that I didn't like. It's more of a cop thriller with gore than a horror movie. The previous two were drifting in that direction, and with the revelation of who the "new" Jigsaw is, I only see that trend continuing, making me much less interested in future sequels. (And to paraphrase SAW II, Oh yes, there will be sequels.)

There are a lot of loose ends in IV: What happened to the SWAT commander's wife? Why attatch the alternate ending w/ obvious sequel hook to the SAW III Director's Cut, and then do nothing with it in IV? Also, for a movie that the viewer is supposed to figure out along with the protagonist, the typical SAW fast-edit jump-cutting is annoying and confusing.

I think it's time to get a new creative team for the franchise and get back to basics. The current director should go work on CSI or something.
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12:09PM on 10/29/2007

PLayed Out

I honestly guessed the "twist" within the first 15 minutes, but I feel like it was extremely obvious given that WE ALL KNOW there will be a twist. I caught myself saying "Get on with it" during the final scene... it was WAAAAY too played out... actually, this whole movie was just played out. Worst Saw movie (and I HATED Saw II).

I really wasn't feeling this one. and they over use the saw theme, i'm getting sick of that now too. Should have stopped at III bros.
I honestly guessed the "twist" within the first 15 minutes, but I feel like it was extremely obvious given that WE ALL KNOW there will be a twist. I caught myself saying "Get on with it" during the final scene... it was WAAAAY too played out... actually, this whole movie was just played out. Worst Saw movie (and I HATED Saw II).

I really wasn't feeling this one. and they over use the saw theme, i'm getting sick of that now too. Should have stopped at III bros.
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10:04AM on 10/29/2007
I'm giving Saw IV a 3 because I believe it was much better than the 3rd. The 3rd was way too disjointed with too many storylines going on, I never really cared for any of the characters. Saw IV, while weak on story I feel did the best they good to bring everything back into play and leave a nice little cliffhanger. I like this idea because for the first 3 films we never knew if there was gonna be another one, but now that we know a couple more are being made they used it in the movie and gave
I'm giving Saw IV a 3 because I believe it was much better than the 3rd. The 3rd was way too disjointed with too many storylines going on, I never really cared for any of the characters. Saw IV, while weak on story I feel did the best they good to bring everything back into play and leave a nice little cliffhanger. I like this idea because for the first 3 films we never knew if there was gonna be another one, but now that we know a couple more are being made they used it in the movie and gave us a neat little story to show us at the end that it was really the beginning. Neat stuff. I'll see V. Another thing is I gre up watching all the Friday the 13th's and Nightmare on Elm Streets and I feel Saw is the horror series of my generation and I've been waiting for one. Some will be awful, some will rock...but it's all fun never the less.
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9:24AM on 10/29/2007

What was missing?

-No bathroom
-No Amanda
-No Jigsaw (except flashbacks)
-No use of a Saw in the end
-Poor "twist"
-No patiance
-No real "scares."

Saw is done. This was unnecesary.
-No bathroom
-No Amanda
-No Jigsaw (except flashbacks)
-No use of a Saw in the end
-Poor "twist"
-No patiance
-No real "scares."

Saw is done. This was unnecesary.
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8:36AM on 10/29/2007

Saw Triology

I give the Saw trilogy 1/10. One of the most overrated pieces of crap to hit the big screen. I won't bother with part IV on the strength of your review.
I give the Saw trilogy 1/10. One of the most overrated pieces of crap to hit the big screen. I won't bother with part IV on the strength of your review.
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