Saw IV (2007)

(Netflix Streaming, November 2015) I had previously seen bits and pieces of Saw IV, but watching it from beginning to end so soon after seeing Saw III only highlighted what I’d gathered from my cursory first look, albeit with a stronger caveat.  First, the good: The integration of Saw III and IV is clever, misleading viewers just well enough to be interesting.  The grimy industrial atmosphere of the series is finely upheld (if that’s your kind of thing –I’ve found that a little of it is enough to last me a long time) and so are the usual ticks and tricks: the music that blares the moment something is happening, the camera that goes wild as if to mask the gaping logical gaps of the story… and so on.  As I’ve said: One Saw film per year or two is enough to satisfy: more than that, and the holes start to show.  It doesn’t help that this fourth volume is less satisfying than the previous ones: The mean-spiritedness of the series (via its elaborate traps, casual disregard for human dignity and flashy gore) is far less tempered by any kind of redemption.  This is partially addressed in the story (original villain Jigsaw’s legacy is being repurposed by other, more nihilistic imitators) but let’s not fool ourselves: At the fourth volume, this is also the series creators reacting to what the series fans are asking for: sadistic blood-soaked deaths, meat puppets being torn apart and rusty warehouse decadence.  As for me, it feels as if I had seen enough by the previous installments: This one seems more than redundant.

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