Rainer's Review of Saw IV
After three at least decent entries (Especially part one and three were decent, stomach-turning, fun), Saw IV is more of a downhill ride qualitatively speaking.
Convolution is king, and the Saw formula starts to get tiresome. Innovation is not what makes the fourth entry at least mildly entertaining. It's more that you'll still like it if you tune in for a gory butcher-fest which it ultimately is. Only with lesser mind games to set them up. Sad but true, what I always enjoyed most about the Saw films are the sick mind games Jigsaw plays with his victims. These make the torture scenes even more effective but in Saw IV we merely get sickness comparable to the former franchise entries.
Saw also, and that must be praised in a way, never takes the easy way and tries to come up with new genuine ways of killing the victims and connecting all the characters in some way. The plots are complicated and you barely can figure them out in advance (maybe you won't figure them out at all). But there's one little problem - for folks like me who have watched parts of the franchise over a period of 5 or 6 years it's almost impossible to remember all the side characters and subplots, so before or even while I'm watching it I have to read up on some of the plot lines in the previous installments (the flashbacks are not really helpful).
Writing gets worse anyways. Saw IV is probably the first of the films, that really suffers from being accidentally funny. The final twist, we've seen before and the plot seems formulaic - it's always the same game eventually.
I think they missed out on some possible scenarios here which is a pity because with some genuine creativity the Saw franchise could really continue on the level of the earlier entries. After three pretty unique psychological splatter movies, Saw IV is more of a cop-splatter movie.
Still, I'm continuing my quest for eventually seeing all the films of the series (as a duty to analyze and understand pop culture of the early 2000s). Saw and American Pie are for bad or for good, the two film franchises that define my generation (sadly?!?).