Box art for Saw V

Saw V

horror


In the fifth installment of the SAW franchise, Detective Hoffman is seemingly the last person alive to carry on the Jigsaw legacy. But when his secret is threatened, Hoffman must go on the hunt to eliminate all loose ends.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    12%
  • Audience Score
    53%

common sense

NOT FOR KIDS 0
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
Language
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Sex
3 out of 5
Violence
5 out of 5

Dullest film in series is still brutal and bloody.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this "torture porn" horror movie is full of graphic, grisly violence that combines sadistic terror with state-of-the-art makeup and effects. Lots characters are killed in lots of ways, all very graphically and all shown on screen. There are flashbacks to deaths and violence from earlier films in the Saw series and extensive use of crime scene photographs showing dead bodies. There's also some strong language (including "f--k"), but the majority of the film involves sadistic brutality crafted by the film's villain as a series of "games" -- like a sequence in which characters trapped in a room with a bomb must volunteer to place their arms in a box with a saw so their blood will fill a jar; when filled, the jar will trigger the door that leads to safety. That's just one example; there are many, many more.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about why people are drawn to violent and sadistic films. What is their appeal? Also, is there an artistic difference between a well-made gory film and a badly made one? Is there a moral or ethical difference? Families can also discuss the ongoing popularity of the Saw series -- are the producers just giving people what they want, or bleeding a cash cow?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    12%
    reviews counted: 15
    see all Saw V reviews
  • Audience

    53%

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Woefully ponderous, convoluted and improbable.

- Ben Rayner, Toronto Star, Monday, October 27, 2008

Rotten: Saw V is a terrible combination: grisly and tedious. Let's just call it bloody dull.

- Claudia Puig, USA Today, Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rotten: The torture devices, once so fiendishly adapted to each offender, have become generic excuses to spatter gore. The script is insultingly lazy, and inept direction from newcomer David Hackl hardly helps.

- Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, Friday, October 24, 2008

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Not too engaging. It's primarily a crime thriller with gorey deathtraps thrown in. I liked the group trap situation reminiscent of Saw II. It's somewhat interesting to flashback to the earlier Saw movies and see how some of the traps were set up. It's also nice moving the story forward into the current timeline. More questions are raised about a box and a letter. I didn't guess the twist ending, but it didn't have much of an impact. Detective Hoffman and Agent Strahm look and act much alike, causing a bit of confusion. I like being behind the scenes of the trap-operator for a change. This movie gets better on re-watching, but still the weakest Saw movie.

- YosemiteSamFan, Sunday, October 25, 2009

4 stars

In what is only the fifth film of the Saw series released over its five year Halloween run at the box office, this latest installation suffers from the same detrimental qualities that made number four slightly disappointing for fans and casual audiences alike. Making his directorial debut here, all eyes are cast upon David Hackl to see if he can either bring something new, or at least keep the momentum going for the popular franchise. The good news for some is that Saw V feels natural and consistent to its recent predecessors helmed by Bousman, yet for many others this won't be something to get excited about. Insofar as the movie itself goes; this is mostly typical Saw material throughout, going through the motions almost. This of course will please those looking for a continuation of the previous instalments, but it will undoubtedly feel too stagnant and jaded to interest anyone else. Nevertheless, for his first feature film at the reins, Hackl proves he can live up to Bousman's style that has been engrained in the series thus far, creating yet another engaging and loyal sequel that will be sure to cater to those craving more twisted games. For many fans and casual watchers of the series, Saw figuratively died when lead character and focus for the film Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) eventually succumbed to his cancer in film number three. Yet just as instalment IV managed to incorporate the mastermind into its story, as does V in the same manner; through flashbacks. Playing a game of two sides and narratives that eventually collide, Saw V first and foremost continues on where we left from IV, detailing the continuation of Jigsaw's work through forensics expert Hoffman and how he eventually has to tie up all loose ends regarding the deaths of those in III and IV. This narrative, although a little tiresome in its approach of filling in every detail and hole in previous features, nevertheless provides as the real meat of the script. Characters are again rather shallow, and motives are less than clear, yet much of this goes out the window when Mr. Bell graces the screen with his presence. As he has proved time and time again, it is within the character of Jigsaw that Saw's real heart lays, and with plenty of reminiscing going on here in regards to numbers I-IV, there's enough material and characterisation work here to satisfy hardcore fans of the series. On the other side of the pitch however is a much less character/dialogue driven narrative which focuses solely on another unlucky five as they work their way through the latest of Jigsaws traps, this time set up by successor Hoffman. For those who attend screenings of the latest Saw movies only to watch people get their comeuppance through a series of bloody and grisly tests, then this will be where your thirst is quenched. Taking on a tone that is strikingly similar to instalment two, the challenges presented here are graphic and extremely cerebral, shot in the same berserk ways so far explored in the series (although, the blending scene segment style incorporated in IV is gone) which add to the movie's intense ability to draw you in. A consistently forceful element of the series, cinematographer David A. Armstrong here follows the movie's mantra of "don't fix what isn't broke", and the film's sense of coherency and embodiment of the script's themes works just as well here as it did in previous features. Sure enough, Saw wouldn't be Saw without its morally challenging undercurrent squirming underneath all the corpses and violence, and in this regard V does well to incorporate the same subtext. Of course as has been the case with all the sequels thus far, the message isn't quite as clear here as it was in the original, and the ideas always seem to be justifying the gore rather than the other -more appropriate- way around, but there's enough here to stop the whole ordeal boiling down to a silly slasher flick with no fibre to it at all. Needless to say there are many audiences out there who outwardly oppose everything the Saw series stands for, be it involving the gore, the message, or just the tacky horror-movie-sequel feel in general. Yet as I have been witness to many the genre has to offer so far this year I can safely say that while Saw V is by no means a masterpiece nor as significant as its first production, it still beats out most of the competition by quite some distance. In the end, the entire ordeal feels more like an add-on; a tid-bit of flavour designed to tie up the loose ends left dangling from all the other features, and in this respect V will feel a little underwhelming; even to rabid fans of the series. And yet, it's the fans that will make up most of Saw V's audience. I recommend V, but only to fans, and only because there's hope that VI (which the door is left wide open to here) might get the ball rolling again and begin to tell a new story. So by all means, if you can appreciate the series' unmatched ability to make you squirm, to have you question your moral code, and to fascinate you with its lurid, engrossing world made of cogs, puzzle pieces and of course, saws, then you can't go wrong here. Saw V is everything that fans of the series as a whole will want, but a lack of progression in narrative and its disregard for relevancy to anyone outside of its core audience inevitably cuts it short; not enough for anyone else, but fans should enjoy it for the most part.

- stopitgoaway, Tuesday, October 27, 2009

3 stars

I thought this was better than Saw 4 and one of the better ones overall. The fourth was a bit confusing with the timeline overlapping much of the third film, even two of the actors looked similar! This reveals even more going right back, although very briefly, from the first and through all the previous films to shed a bit more light on what happened and why. You really need to have seen the other films in order and maybe refresh your memory a bit before hand by watching the last one again before this. Not quite as grusome and gory overall as the previous films but still plenty for gore fans. Hope it isn't dragged out too much longer though!

- Deano78, Sunday, November 1, 2009