“Saw” is easily the most convoluted series of films going, in or out of the horror movie ghetto. Not only do you have to know what’s gone on in parts 1-4 to make much sense of the plot here, the film internally leaps around from past to present with little warning of impending changes. A dead guy in one scene is alive in the next. You’ve moved into a flashback, but you have to figure that out for yourself.
Picking up where “IV” left off, the Jigsaw Killer’s new accomplice continues facing people with horrendous traps, forcing them to make impossible choices. Jigsaw’s point is that life is precious and those who have taken it lightly should be taught a lesson. He thinks it sounds reasonable, but he’s loonier than a sack full of caffeinated squirrels.
The movie is not just a Sadistic stroll; there is a plot, and a mystery to be solved. Returning cop Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and FBI agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) are playing cat and mouse. One thinks the other is the accomplice, and the chase does end in a surprise you probably won’t see coming. I didn’t and was pleasantly surprised. Both actors are good, and their final confrontation is a real chiller.
This one is directed by first-timer David Hackl, who doesn’t do anything new, but doesn’t screw up anything old. I’m still enjoying the double layer of suspense, leaving “Saw V” feeling nicely flummoxed. If you can stand the gore, I bet you will, too.