Saw V (2008)

(On DVD, April 2009) I can’t say that I’ve followed this series closely (I’ve seen the third and fourth installment in bits and pieces, just enough to keep up with the storyline), but this fifth entry is easily the least satisfying yet. While the series has always been a contrived exercise in self-referential carnography, the third and fourth volumes at least had the decency of some intricate plotting, along with occasional flourishes of cinematography (such as the clever scene transitions in Saw IV) and rough morality. This fifth entry, on the other hand, is more nihilistic than sadistic, and does little to enhance the series: Everyone even remotely sympathetic dies horribly (I predict that no one in this series will survive it), and there’s no point to it all. The traps have finally become a substitute for plotting, and the appeal of Jigsaw as a lead character feels more overdone than ever. Yet Saw VI is nearing post-production…

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