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Film / Saw V

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WARNING: All spoilers from previous films in the Saw franchise are unmarked here. Read on or go backmake your choice.

Saw V is the fifth film in the Saw horror film series, released in 2008 and directed by David Hackl, who had previously worked as the production designer for II, III and IV, as well as a second-unit director for the latter two films.

Following Jigsaw's death, Detective Mark Hoffman has revealed himself as one of the notorious killer's apprentices. After saving a young girl and seemingly escaping one of his traps, he is publicly deemed a hero and credited with closing the Jigsaw case for good. However, after a brief but effective encounter with Hoffman, FBI Agent Peter Strahm becomes driven to pursue Hoffman and eventually out him for who he truly is.

At the same time, with Jigsaw's threat that he will not go untested in the back of his mind, Hoffman seeks to continue his legacy and maintain his anonymity by any means necessary. The film also delves a bit into Hoffman's backstory, explaining how he became Jigsaw's accomplice.


Meanwhile, five people find themselves in an unknown location as the unwilling participants of Jigsaw's newest game, where he implores them to work together to survive.

Preceded by Saw IV. Followed by Saw VI.

"You won't trope how it ends":

  • Asshole Victim: Seth brutally murdered his girlfriend and received nowhere near the adequate punishment for it. That is, until Hoffman gets to him.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Hoffman gets away with everything and manages to throw the FBI off his trail, while Strahm, one of the only people who knows he's the new Jigsaw, dies in an extremely gruesome manner.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Seth murdered his girlfriend, who also happened to be Hoffman's sister.
  • Blatant Lies: Seth claims the murder he committed was an accident, but a flashback shows that his girlfriend's throat was slit. Yeah, he "accidentally" slit her throat.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Blade Table splits Mallick and Brit's arms in half almost down to the elbow.
    • In the midst of being crushed, Strahm suffers a serious compound fracture, with one of his arm bones erupting outward.
  • Captain Obvious: Strahm spends much of his screen time telling the audience what he sees and stating things that are already quite apparent.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Strahm receives what's widely considered to be one of the most brutal deaths in the entire series: being crushed to death between closing walls, and slowly enough that we can see most every bone in his body being flattened.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Strahm once he finds out Hoffman is an apprentice of Jigsaw. He winds up crushed to death.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Strahm survives the previous film and becomes the protagonist here, leading the viewer to believe that he might be the hero of the second trilogy and be the one to bring down Hoffman. Instead, he gets brutally killed at the end.
  • Dirty Coward: In the Pendulum Trap, Seth whines, yells for help, says it was an accident, and has trouble even completing the task of crushing his hands.
  • Drowning Pit: Strahm has his head locked into a watertight box that fills with water and will eventually drown him. He only escapes by giving himself an emergency tracheotomy with a ball-point pen.
  • Electric Torture: The third room involves a bath tub and five electrodes that need to be connected, but the wires the electrodes are on are too short to just be placed in the water. Brit kills Luba and uses her body to connect the electrodes, but at the end, she figures out that if they had worked together, they could have each taken an electrode and put one foot in the tub. It certainly would have given them a shock, but it wouldn't have killed them.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Peewee, a German shepherd, barks ferociously at Hoffman in a flashback shortly after he kills his sister's murderer in a fake Jigsaw trap.
  • Fatal Flaw: Selfishness. Every individual member of the "Fatal Five" only thinks about how they can survive the tests and doesn't think about saving anyone besides themselves. Because of this, only two of them survive, instead of all five of them.
  • Final Boy: Of the Fatal Five, Mallick.
  • Final Girl: Of the Fatal Five, Brit.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Jigsaw does this with a teacup while interrogating Mark Hoffman.
  • Genre Savvy: The Fatal Five are this to some degree. Everyone's heard of Jigsaw and knows how his game works, and explicitly knows that you have to follow his directions to the word. That said, they still fail to grasp some of the subtext behind the words, so there's still a body count.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: How Seth ends up dying in the Pendulum Trap.
  • Idle Rich: Mallick claims that he used his parents' money to finance his drug habit.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: Strahm gets his head locked up in a presumably inescapable trap that fills up with water in order to drown him. What does he do? He digs out a pen from his pocket and (while most likely not having any skill in advanced medical practice) performs a tracheotomy with it. A fucking pen.
  • Iron Lady: Brit is the senior vice president of a real estate development company, and will do sketchy things to get her work done her way.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: How John Kramer in a flashback views Hoffman's inescapable Pendulum Trap he put the murderer of his sister in.
    John: They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I find it somewhat distasteful. Taking credit for work that's not mine, especially inferior work.
  • Kill It with Fire: Mallick set a building with people living in it on fire, all to get a fix.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: When his sister is killed by Seth and Seth is later let off on a technicality, Hoffman avenges her death by killing the man in such a way that it would appear to be another Jigsaw killing.
  • Lighter and Softer: After the excruciating violence displayed in Saw III and Saw IV, Saw V noticeably dials back the gore a few notches. Many of the deaths are dished out in mere seconds rather than dragged out to a cringe-inducing snail's pace, reducing the graphic violence to the level of Saw and Saw II. Even the bloodiest sequences don't keep the camera panned on the grim details for too long. This decision may have been inspired by the Moral Guardians decrying the series as Torture Porn a few installments earlier, but after Saw V, the violence unapologetically spikes back up again. The film also has one of the lowest kill counts in the series; only six people die, one being an Asshole Victim and another killed off-screen. The Fatal Five has a rather impressive 40% survival rate, rather good odds for a horror film.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Charles is blown to pieces in the Hanging Jar room.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Mallick is clearly distraught by the arson he committed, angrily lashing out at Brit after he learns she organized the scheme.
    • Judging by the look on her face when Mallick angrily asks her if she knew about the eight people living in the warehouse when she decided to have it burned down to take the property, Brit seems to have realized the gravity of what she's done.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nice job shoving Hoffman into the glass box, Strahm!
  • Off on a Technicality: Seth was originally sentenced to life in prison, but was released after only five years due to an unexplained legal technicality.
  • Off with Her Head!: Ashley gets her head sliced off in the Fatal Five's first trap.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Probably the only time you hear John get angry and raise his voice is when he's blackmailing Hoffman, when the two briefly argue over the death of the man who killed Hoffman's sister.
    Hoffman: She was my only family. He didn't deserve a chance. He was an ANIMAL!
    Hoffman: You didn't see the blood! You didn't see what he FUCKING DID TO HER!
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: As a Knight Templar Big Brother, Hoffman avenges his sister's death by killing her boyfriend.
  • Pendulum of Death: Seth Baxter wakes up in a room chained to a table, with two vices on either side of it. Above him is a large, bladed pendulum that begins to swing after his tape finishes playing. Seth has sixty seconds to push buttons in the back of the vices that will crush his hands in order to stop the pendulum from reaching his body. Seth inserts his hands, but quickly pulls them out in fear. Trying again, he succeeds in crushing his hands and the pendulum ceases swinging for a few moments, but after a short pause, the pendulum reactivates and descends far enough to begin cutting into his abdomen, slicing him in half, confirming that the trap was inescapable.
  • Power of Trust: Although the test the Fatal Five go through seems like a survival of the fittest competition at first, all of them could have survived if they cooperated as revealed later. However, through Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, only Mallick and Brit make it to the end, with Brit making it clear she would have likely killed Mallick if she had to.
  • Pragmatic Hero: In the electric bathub, Brit kills Luba instead of Mallick because he would be less likely to turn against her.
  • Put on a Bus: The ending of Saw III revealed that Jeff's daughter was still trapped somewhere and Jeff would have to go through an entire new game in order to rescue her, and this rescue would be the MacGuffin that would drive the next few films. After her father had a bridge dropped on him at the end of the previous installment, she is found and rescued by the police ten minutes into this movie and never heard from again.
  • The Reveal: Two here.
    • Jigsaw recruited Hoffman after Hoffman killed his sister's murderer with an inescapable Jigsaw trap.
    • The point of the game was teamwork and all five victims could've gotten out alive if they hadn't turned on each other. In the first room, the keys are all identical and they simply could've handed them to one another to unlock their collars. In the second, the tunnels are big enough to hold two people (this one's especially idiotic considering they didn't even bother to look in them first, instead instantly fighting for the keys to the locks). Third, as mentioned above, all they had to to was touch the electrodes all at once and get a minor shock to open the door. Finally, had all participants survived to the last room, they would've had to give only two pints of blood each in the machine to pass the game.
  • Shown Their Work: Before filming the third room (the conductor room) in the sewer trap, the crew did check out the physics involved to make sure the electrical engineering involved in the trap would actually work.
  • Squashed Flat: Strahm. Graphically.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Strahm was previously introduced in IV, and dies at the end of this movie.
    • Rigg was shot at the end of IV, but was otherwise alive. He is declared dead at the beginning of this movie.
    • David Tapp, whose fate was unclear at the end of the first movie, is confirmed to be dead in this one.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Strahm, you REALLY should've listened to Jigsaw's warning of continuing on. He winds up put in the Water Cube trap, but miraculously manages to survive. He doesn't learn his lesson in the end, however, because he doesn't bother listening to the rest of the recording, and ends up crushed to death for it.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: The final trap. Not only does Strahm fail to escape it, but it rather graphically shows the perils of trying to "brace yourself" to stop the walls as the bones splinter out of his limbs.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Seth's actions led to Hoffman becoming Jigsaw's accomplice, and killing many, many people in future installments.
  • Villain Has a Point: Seth's last words are used pointing out the fact that he did what he was told to do to pass his test and that he should have been allowed to live afterward. As Jigsaw later tells Hoffman, everybody deserves a fair chance, even murderers like Seth.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Ashley is killed minutes into the Fatal Five's introduction, and we barely learn anything about her other than her role in the arson.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Strahm ambushes and fights Hoffman in the glass coffin room where Strahm overpowers and beats Hoffman before sealing him in the glass coffin. He gloats about how he got Hoffman, until the room they were in seals itself shut. When Strahm demands how to unlock the door from the trapped Hoffman, he mockingly points to the tape recorder, which plays the rest of the message he failed to listen to. Strahm just locked Hoffman in the one safe area in the room while he's left to be crushed to death. So who got who here?
  • Wife-Basher Basher: It's revealed that Seth Baxter, a Domestic Abuser who killed his girlfriend, was Hoffman's first murder victim, and said girlfriend was Hoffman's sister.
  • Xanatos Gambit: What Hoffman turns out to have been enacting throughout the storyline. The outcome is what he had hoped for, with Strahm getting himself killed, and the FBI believing him to be Jigsaw's accomplice, throwing them off the scent of Hoffman himself. However, even if Strahm had followed his instructions and survived the final trap, the FBI would have still thought he was Jigsaw's accomplice, meaning he would have been either arrested, forced into hiding, or possibly even Hoffman might have been able to blackmail him into actually becoming an accomplice. And if things had somehow gone really wrong and resulted in Hoffman being killed by his own trap, then it would have looked as if Strahm had killed him to cover up his identity, making him doubly screwed.


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