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MOVIE REVIEW

End this franchise, please

A craftless touch and graphic violence make 'Saw IV' a disgusting addition to the series.

October 27, 2007|Scott Schueller | Chicago Tribune

The original "Saw" opened anonymously in 2004 and became an unexpected box-office juggernaut, thanks to the writing/directing team of Leigh Whannell and James Wan's original story, graphic violence and edgy feel.

Success breeds sequels and, three iterations later, Lionsgate brings us "Saw IV," a film as edgy as a rubber knife.

"Saw IV" finds SWAT Commander Rigg (Lyriq Bent) as the most recent puppet of posthumous villain Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). Delivering his message from the autopsy table, Jigsaw forces Rigg through a number of tough decisions to save his wife and himself.

Since the original "Saw," cancer patient Jigsaw has tortured his victims to teach them to enjoy life and let go of the vices that cloud their happiness, and as Rigg's story unfolds, so does the explanation of how Jigsaw continues to pull these strings despite his "Saw III" demise.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman has been at the helm of the franchise since "Saw II," and his attention here focuses solely on moving the story along, leaving no room for notable performances or for the characters to reason or surprise us with their next moves.

FBI Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson, much better as Luke in "Gilmore Girls") walks in and inexplicably dissects every crime scene, and Rigg's trailing of clues is as predictable as a golf course you've played a hundred times.

If the terrible craft of Bousman's film doesn't turn your stomach, the borderline pornographic violence will. It's disconcerting to imagine anyone enjoying the vile filth splashing the screen.

If you like your films disgusting, deplorable and demoralizing rather than smart, scary and suspenseful, go ahead and feed the coffers of "Saw IV's" makers.

If you don't, please don't give the studio a reason to make "Saw V." Please.

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"Saw IV." MPAA rating: R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture throughout, and for language. Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes. In general release.

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