With a comic book and video game release, as well as the pursuit of other Saw projects, the horror franchise had completely taken over the mainstream by the time Saw V was released in 2008.
It marked the first time since the second Saw instalment that Darren Lynn Bousman hadn't sat in the director's chair, but Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan did return to write the screenplay following their work on Saw IV. David Hackl served as director in this instance.
After seeing Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) revealed as the accomplice and successor to the late Jigsaw Killer, John Kramer (Tobin Bell), audiences were excited to see in which direction the narrative would go next.
Saw V delivered some brilliant plot points; here we revisit exactly what went down in the picture…
How does Saw V begin?
Reverting to the traditional opener, we find a man called Seth Baxter (Joris Jarsky) in what appears to be a Jigsaw trap. Strapped down to a table, a large pendulum blade is suspended above him, motionless… for now.
We learn from Baxter's Jigsaw message that he is a convicted murderer, sentenced to life in prison but released after just five years, due to a technicality.
He is told that in order to escape this trap, he must insert his hands into the vices either side of him, pressing a button which will activate the mechanics and crush his bones "to dust”. Whilst making his decision, the blade above him will begin to swing and slowly move downwards, eventually reaching his abdomen and slicing right through him.
Despite accomplishing the task at hand (quite literally), the motor for the pendulum blade fails to stop, slicing out Baxter’s insides and splattering them on the plastic sheets that have been set up around him. As he is killed, an unknown person watches on from a room next door via a peephole.
Back to where we left things off…
We shift back to the Gideon meatpacking factory, where we last saw FBI Special Agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson) locked in the same room as Kramer’s corpse, along with those of Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), Jeff Denlon (Angus Macfadyen) and Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh).
Quickly looking for a means of escape after being locked in by Detective Hoffman, he finds a hidden door with a tape recorder right behind it. The message tells him to stay in the room and wait to be saved, as it could be his sanctuary rather than his grave. He ignores this advice, moving cautiously before the hallway before being subdued by a pig-masked attacker.
When he wakes up, he finds himself trapped with his head locked into a glass cube which begins to fill with water. Though it looks to be inescapable, Agent Strahm’s quick-thinking sees him grab a pen out of his pocket, before he performs a tracheostomy on himself so that he can breathe through his neck, on the outside of the box.
As the police arrive at the plant, Detective Hoffman runs from the building with the daughter of the Denlons in his arms, appearing to be the hero and the sole survivor. So, when he sees Agent Strahm carried out on a stretcher, he is shocked to say the very least…
The evolution of Kramer’s ex-wife, Jill Tuck
After seeing her break down and explain the loss of her unborn child in the previous Saw films, many thought that we wouldn’t be seeing any more of Kramer’s ex-wife, Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) moving forward. We do get to see more of the character however, as she attends a meeting with her ex’s executor.
There, she is given a large black lockbox, for which she has the key on a chain around her neck. She opens the case inside the office, but quickly closes it and moves to leave the room, before answering questions about its contents.
A big promotion for ‘hero’ Hoffman
Despite the loose end in the form of Agent Strahm, Detective Hoffman looks to have gotten away with murder. The Chief of Police calls a conference to announce the end of the Jigsaw murders, before promoting Hoffman to Detective Lieutenant for his work.
Though he’s celebratory at first, when he returns to his desk he finds a note which reads, “I know who you are”. He’s then told that Special Agent Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis) died following her injuries sustained by an exploding Jigsaw puppet. It’s something he takes to Agent Strahm, who is still in the hospital, hoping to smooth things over and show some concern.
Whilst there however, Agent Strahm tells him that her last words had been "Detective Hoffman", resulting in an argument and Hoffman leaving. When Strahm is later visited by Special Agent Dan Erickson (Mark Rolston), he is told that he's now been taken off the Jigsaw case.
Meanwhile, we see Detective Hoffman head to an unknown location, where he watches monitors that showcase his next game and five victims, along with a miniature model of the scenario on the desk.
It’s time to play a game
At this point, we are taken into the room with the five new ‘players’, each of whom wake up to find a collar around their necks and V-shaped blades behind them at neck-level. The collars and therefore the group are all connected through a cord.
A Jigsaw video begins to play, which explains the reasoning for them being chosen for the upcoming ‘tests’ they’ll face. They’re told that they all selfishly wasted the opportunities that have been given to them since birth and, that if they’re unable to get the keys from the boxes in front of them to release their collars, they will be decapitated.
They’re also told that if they all just stand around, a 15-minute timer will eventually set off the nail bombs scattered around the room, killing all of them.
When the 60-second timer begins to count down, thanks to a man known as Mallick Scott (Greg Bryk) rushing towards the boxes, everybody’s paranoia goes into overdrive and they do all they can to reach their keys.
Four of them are successful, but the former firefighter, Ashley Kazon (Laura Gordon) is too late, dragged back towards the blade where she loses her head and her life.
The survivors make their way into the next room, where a series of glass jars are placed above them, with more nail bombs placed at the walls around the room. There are also small chambers which can be unlocked with keys inside the jars, but only three will fit the locks.
This leads to journalist Charles (Carlo Rota) attacking Mallick with a bat which has been left in the room, smacking him repeatedly and telling the women that somebody has to die; there are four people and only three keys. He then smashes the jars, allowing both Brit (Julie Benz) and Luba Gibbs (Meagan Good) to get their hands on a working key.
Just as Charles finds his own key however, Luba attacks him, giving Mallick the opportunity to take advantage, grabbing the key for himself and sliding into one of the safe holes before the bombs go off and kill Charles.
In the third room, the remaining members of the group dig into their collective histories to try and work out exactly how they are connected. Mallick admits that he was the cause of eight people dying, but states he never wanted it to happen. Luba meanwhile, says she has taken bribes during her time working for the Department of City Planning in exchange for granting building permission. Brit is revealed as the VP of a real estate company, where she tears down older buildings to build new ones, causing many to lose their homes.
At this point, the trio are told that that they have to connect five electrical cords to the water of a bathtub in the middle of the room. Closing the circuit will open the next door. This leads to Luba demanding Mallick get in the tub and, as Brit looks to be joining her, she instead kills Brit, before the pair use her body to open the door and escape to the final room.
The final test
In this last room, the two remaining participants find a large machine with five holes on each side, with a circular blade in each of the holes. A tape reveals they have to give a blood sacrifice of 10 pints, which will result in the final door being opened. As they prepare, Brit realises that the five of them could've survived the entire game. One key would have worked for every collar in the first room, whilst the holes in the second were big enough to fit two people inside. The third room would then have allowed each of the five to take a minor electrical shock to open this final door, meaning they'd only have to give two pints of blood each.
With it now being clear that they would have to give five pints apiece, they realise that they’re going to have to do more than just cut their hands if they’re to be successful. Though they do manage to fill the beaker and escape, it’s not without sustaining life-changing injuries.
What about Detective Hoffman and Agent Strahm?
Whilst the game is ongoing, Agent Strahm decides to go against the rules set by his advisor, instead going on the hunt having been convinced that Detective Hoffman is the real Jigsaw apprentice.
Reviewing all of the case files, he learns that Baxter - who we saw die in the first trap of this movie - was the person who murdered Detective Hoffman’s sister. Hoping to find some solid proof of his connection to Jigsaw, the FBI agent revisits some of the old crime scenes.
Through this, we are shown flashbacks that give us a unique look at how Kramer and Hoffman worked together on some of the most famous traps we’ve seen over the years. Eventually, we discover that Hoffman had set up the trap that killed Baxter before he’d even met Kramer, leading to the real Jigsaw kidnapping him and trashing his “shoddy” work. Blackmailing him with the truth about Baxter’s death, Kramer initiates Hoffman into his own twisted world.
It is through Detective Hoffman that Kramer was able to always be one step ahead of the authorities; he was even responsible for planting the evidence that led to the suspicions of Doctor Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) being the Jigsaw Killer all the way back in the original movie.
Now fully supportive of the cause, Detective Hoffman seems to be perhaps even more maniacal and terrifying than Kramer ever was. He proves this once more when we reach our horrifying conclusion…
What happens at the end of the movie?
Knowing that he could be in trouble if Agent Strahm manages to tell Erickson about everything he has found, Detective Hoffman misdirects suspicion onto Strahm himself. He sends Jill Tuck to Erickson's office, where she tells him she thinks she's being followed by Strahm. When Erickson leaves, Hoffman uses the phone he's stolen from Strahm to call him, before immediately hanging up and turning the device off.
Erickson orders a track on the mobile, which is taken quickly by Hoffman to the lair we saw him observing his latest game on, earlier in the film. There, he plants the phone and so, when the authorities swoop in, they come to the conclusion that Agent Strahm must have been the Jigsaw accomplice all along.
Agent Strahm meanwhile finds the renovated house from the second movie, along with a secret passageway which leads to an underground tunnel system and eventually, a room with a large glass coffin which contains broken shards, as well as a cassette tape.
He begins to play the audio, which congratulates him on putting all of the pieces together and discovering the truth, before instructing him to get in the coffin, as it will be the only way to save himself.
Hearing Detective Hoffman approaching, he stops the tape and upon his arrival, the two engage in a scuffle. Eventually getting what he believes to be the upper hand, Agent Strahm shoves Hoffman into the coffin and locks the lid in place. Seconds later however, the door of the room slams shut.
Demanding to know how to open the coffin up, Detective Hoffman simply smiles a sly grin, pointing towards the tape. Agent Strahm presses play once more, as the audio tells him that he will indeed die in this room and be framed as Jigsaw’s successor if he doesn’t follow its instructions.
At the same time, the glass coffin begins to descend into the floor, as the walls slowly close in. Detective Hoffman smiles as he sees the agent crushed to death, blood pouring down onto the casing.
Then, we hit the credits.
Spiral: From the Book of Saw comes to cinemas across the UK on Monday, May 17th, 2021.
- Saw revisited: Looking back at the film that changed the horror genre forever
- Saw II revisited: The twists that shaped the future of the franchise
- Saw III revisited: A test within a test... within a test
- Saw IV revisited: A new Jigsaw Killer rises
- Saw V revisited: The walls are closing in
- Saw VI revisited: The beginning of the end
- Saw VII aka Saw 3D aka Saw: The Final Chapter revisited
- Jigsaw revisited: The Saw franchise is brought back from the dead
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