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Film / Saw V

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Warning: Spoiler in synopsis.

Saw V (2008) is a film in the Saw horror series.

Mark Hoffman is now the current Jigsaw which was a title passed onto him by the original. He uses the events to make himself look like a hero while continuing Jigsaw's legacy. But FBI Agent Peter Strahm suspects him after surviving a trap, and the game of cat and mouse begins. In the midst of this, five people find themselves waking up in an unknown location as the unwilling participants of Jigsaw's current game where he implores them to work together to survive.


This film provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Final Boy: Mallick
  • Final Girl: Brit
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Kramer: 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.
  • 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.
  • Off with His Head!: Ashley gets her head sliced off in the Five's first trap.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 because he doesn't bother listening to the rest of the recording, and he winds 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.
  • 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?


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