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Saw IV is a horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, and Thomas Fenton. It was the fourth film in the Saw franchise and was released on October 25, 2007.

Plot

Following the events of Saw III, the corpse of John Kramer, the Jigsaw Killer, is examined at the morgue. During this autopsy, a wax-coated audiotape is found in his stomach. Therefore, Detective Mark Hoffman is called to the morgue to listen to the tape, which contains a message from John Kramer himself, who warns Hoffman that the games will continue and that he will be tested as well.

The scene shifts to a mausoleum, where two men named Trevor and Art Blank are chained by their necks to a winch-like device in the middle of the room. Trevor's eyes and Art's mouth have been sewn shut, making communication nearly impossible. Unable to see anything, Trevor accidentally activates the device, which starts pulling them together. In a panic, Trevor attacks Art but is ultimately killed in self-defense. Art retrieves a key attached to Trevor's chain and uses it to free himself. As he begins to scream, he rips open his mouth.

Shortly afterward, a SWAT team led by Officer Daniel Rigg and Detective Mark Hoffman raids an underground area. They find the corpse of their colleague, Detective Allison Kerry, who had been missing for four days already. After they secured the crime scene, Hoffman is introduced to the FBI special agents Peter Strahm and Lindsey Perez, who inform him that Kerry had been their informant inside the police department. Along with her last message, which said, "Open the door, and you will find me," they had received a key with a yet unknown purpose. Upon investigating Kerry's corpse, they quickly realize that the trap, which had killed her, had been inescapable and therefore suspect someone else than John Kramer behind the murder. However, they also deduce that his accomplice, Amanda Young, could not have set up the trap on her own, leading to the conclusion that there was another accomplice of Jigsaw involved in her death.

Since the disappearance of his colleague, Detective Eric Matthews, six months earlier, Officer Rigg suffered from depression. However, he is convinced that Eric is still alive and becomes obsessed with finding him. Later that night, he is attacked and subdued in his apartment. After waking up again, a videotape by Jigsaw informs him that Eric is, in fact, still alive and has 90 minutes left to save himself. The survival of Detective Hoffman, who was abducted as well, is connected to Eric's fate. However, Jigsaw warns Rigg that their survival depends on his obsession with saving them.

Moments later, Rigg finds a woman named Brenda, who is chained to a mechanical chair in his living room. Although another tape urges him to go away and leave her behind, Rigg tries to save her nonetheless and thereby accidentally activates the chair. The contraption subsequently begins to tear off her scalp. Eventually, Rigg manages to free her. However, Brenda suddenly attacks him with a knife hidden underneath the TV. After killing her in self-defense, Rigg finds a tape recorder, which had told Brenda, who worked as a pimp, to kill Rigg as he would arrest her for her crimes if she refused to do so.

While Rigg leaves the scene to find his second test, Strahm and Perez are called to his apartment. As they enter it along with a SWAT team, they find Brenda's corpse, as well as several photos on the wall. While most of them show the victims of Rigg's game, including Eric, Hoffman, and Brenda, some depict a woman named Jill Tuck, the ex-wife of John Kramer. Therefore, she is taken to the police station for interrogation.

Meanwhile, Rigg arrives at the Alexander Motel to face his second test. He finds another audio message in one of the rooms, telling him to abduct the motel proprietor, Ivan Landsness. Ivan, whom Rigg encountered upon entering the motel, is a violent serial rapist who repeatedly escaped justice. Angered by seeing videos and photos of Ivan's crimes, Rigg forces him into a prearranged trap. Ivan has to choose to either gouge his eyes out within 60 seconds or be dismembered by the contraption. As he can only bring himself to sacrifice one of his eyes, his limbs are ripped off his body.

Rigg leaves the motel after finding the next clue, which leads him to an elementary school, where Rigg had once attacked a man named Rex, whom he suspected of physically abusing his wife, Morgan, and his daughter, Jane. As he arrives at the school, he finds Morgan and Rex in one of the classrooms, chained back to back and impaled by several metal spikes. When Rigg finds them, Rex has already succumbed to his wounds as the skewers had pierced his major arteries while only inflicting non-lethal wounds on Morgan. Before Rigg's arrival, Morgan had been given a choice to die of blood loss or remove the spikes, which eventually resulted in her husband's death. Upon investigating the classroom, Rigg finds a clue to Eric Matthews' and Mark Hoffman's location and a message that tells him to go home. Therefore, Rigg sets off the fire alert to make sure that Morgan was found while he left the school to go to the location of his final test.

Shortly afterward, the police, accompanied by Strahm and Perez, arrive at the school in time to save Morgan. They find out that Brenda, Ivan, and Rex had committed various crimes but were successfully defended by the same lawyer, Art Blank, who is also the lawyer of Jill Tuck. As they further investigate the school, they find a mechanical ventriloquist puppet, commonly used by Jigsaw to communicate with his victims, in the principal's office. Another audio tape tells Perez that her partner "will soon take the life of an innocent man" and warns her that her "next move is critical." Ignoring the warning, she takes a closer look at the puppet. Moments later, the puppet's face explodes, severely injuring her face and neck with shrapnel. As she is taken to the hospital, she gives Strahm the key sent to them by Detective Kerry.

Furious, Strahm returns to the police station, where he angrily interrogates Jill. Pressured by him, she finally tells him about her and John's past. When they were still married, Jill was pregnant with a boy, Gideon. However, she lost the child due to a miscarriage when Cecil Adams, one of her patients at her recovery clinic for drug addicts, attempted to rob her. Following this tragedy, John grew apart from Jill, resulting in their divorce. When he received his cancer diagnosis shortly afterward and survived an attempted suicide, John decided to spend his remaining days testing other people's will to live, hoping to make them appreciate their lives. His first test subject was Cecil, whom he abducted and strapped to a chair. Cecil had to press his face into several knives to escape the trap. Otherwise, he would eventually bleed to death due to two blades cutting his wrists. As Cecil attempted to free himself, the chair suddenly collapsed. As he tried to attack John, the latter evaded his assault, causing Cecil to fall into a cage filled with barbed wire, where he ultimately died. Upon listening to Jill's story, Strahm realizes that her son, Gideon, had the same name as John's first building as a civil engineer, the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, and concludes that this was the place of Rigg's final test.

Meanwhile, Rigg has arrived at the abandoned plant and finally reaches the room where Eric and Hoffman are trapped alongside Art Blank. Both detectives are standing at the opposite ends of a giant seesaw. Eric stands on a melting ice block with a chain-noose around his neck while Hoffman is strapped to an electric chair. If Eric jumps off the ice block or too much of it melts away, the water will flow to Hoffman's side and cause the chair to electrocute him. Art Blank, who has one of Jigsaw's devices strapped to his back, is forced to oversee the game until the 90-minute-timer for Rigg's game expires. Afterward, he can press a button and release all three of them. However, if the entrance door is opened before the time runs out, Eric's head will be crushed by two large ice blocks.

As they see Rigg through the door's window, Eric frantically tells him not to open the door. To prevent him from entering, he shoots him with a gun given to him by Art earlier. Even though he is shot in the chest, Rigg breaks through the door nonetheless and witnesses Eric's death. Believing that Art is responsible for the game, Rigg shoots him in the head when the latter reaches for his bag. Art, however, was merely grabbing at a tape recorder with a final message for Rigg. The tape tells him that he had failed his test as it was not his task to save Eric but rather to let him save himself. Just as Rigg realizes his mistake, Hoffman frees himself from the electric chair and reveals himself to be Jigsaw's accomplice. He ends the game and leaves the room while Rigg lies on the floor and succumbs to his gunshot wound.

Only moments after Rigg, Strahm had also reached the building. During his search for Rigg, he discovers another room and opens it with the key given to him by Perez. Inside the room, he finds the corpses of Jigsaw and Amanda Young. It is revealed that the events of Saw IV took place at the same time as Saw III, except for the opening scene at the morgue. As Strahm enters the room, Jeff Denlon, one of the third film's main protagonists, aims his gun at him and demands to know the whereabouts of his abducted daughter, Corbett. Strahm kills him in self-defense, fulfilling Jigsaw's prediction that he would kill an innocent man. Moments later, Hoffman reaches the room and locks him up inside along with the corpses of Jigsaw, Amanda, Jeff, and the latter's wife, Dr. Lynn Denlon. The scene shifts back to John Kramer's autopsy once more, where Hoffman listens to the tape found in his stomach.

Cast

Production

The script of Saw IV was written by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, and Thomas Fenton, making it the first film in the series not written by Leigh Whannell. Nonetheless, he was credited as the film's executive producer alongside James Wan. Saw IV was also the last film in the series directed by Darren Lynn Bousman until Spiral: From the Book of Saw in 2019, despite his original plans to stop after the second film.

Like its predecessor, Saw IV was granted a budget of $10 million. The principal photography took place in Toronto from April 16, 2007, to May 3, 2007, while the post-production began on May 19. As in Saw II and Saw III, many transitions from one set to another were shot on the spot instead of using digital effects.

Release

Saw IV was eventually released in Australia on October 25, 2007, and one day later, on October 26, 2007, in the United States and Canada. As with Saw III, Darren Lynn Bousman and producer Mark Burg had problems receiving an "R" rating from the MPAA and had to alter the film. The only other option was to release the film with an NC-17 rating, forcing them to cut the final version to obtain the "R" rating. Lionsgate also held the fourth annual "Give Til It Hurts" blood drive for the Red Cross, collecting nearly 38,000 pints of blood.

On January 22, 2008, the Unrated Director's Cut, which contained a slightly altered ending and several extended torture scenes, was released in America and the UK on March 3, 2008. Additionally, an "Extreme Edition" was released exclusively in the UK before the release of Saw V in October 2008.

Reception

Despite slightly lower box-office revenues than the third film, Saw IV was a financial success. It earned $63,300,095 in the US and $134,528,909 worldwide. Critics of the film were mostly negative. It received a rating of 17% from Rotten Tomatoes, based on 75 reviews, while Metacritic gave it a score of 36 out of 100, based on 16 critics. The consensus was that Saw IV was the weakest entry in the series at that time, with its plot being redundant, incoherent, and illogical. At the same time, the excessive depiction of violence was also criticized.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack of Saw IV was composed by Charlie Clouser, who had already been responsible for the soundtrack of the previous films. It was released on October 23, 2007, by Artists' Addiction Records. The song "I.V." by X Japan, which played during the credits, was not included on the soundtrack album.

Original Score

1. Autopsy

2. Just Begun

3. Blind/Mute

4. SWAT Hall

5. Karen

6. Cherish

7. Research

8. It Says...

9. Newspaper

10. Plastic

11. Hello, Rigg

12. Hair Puller (A)

13. Prints

14. Hair Puller (B)

15. Hello, Brenda

16. Icebox

17. Hair Scene

18. SWAT Body

19. Jill Cold

20. Help Them

21. Shivering

22. Room 261

23. Rigg Pig

24. Mantra

25. Workshop

26. One Step

27. Bed Ripper

28. Teacher

29. Pregnant

30. She Stays

31. Step Back

32. It's Art

33. School Daze

34. Speared

35. Pulling

36. Save Yourself

37. New Game

38. Hello, Perez

39. Recommend

40. Partners

41. Lesson

42. The Tool

43. Knife Face

44. Smash Clock

45. Gideon

46. Better Hope

47. Let Go

Complete Score

1. Autopsy (Mix 1)

2. Autopsy (Mix 2)

3. Just Begun (Mix 1)

4. Just Begun (Mix 2)

5. Just Begun (Mix 3)

6. Just Begun (Mix 4)

7. Blind/Mute

8. SWAT Hall

9. Karen

10. Cherish

11. Research

12. It Says...

13. Newspaper

14. Plastic

15. Hello, Rigg

16. Hair Puller (A)

17. Prints

18. Prints (Alternate)

19. Hair Puller (B)

20. Hello, Brenda

21. Icebox

22. Hair Scene

23. SWAT Body

24. Jill Cold

25. Help Them (Mix 1)

26. Help Them (Mix 2)

27. Shivering (Mix 1)

28. Shivering (Mix 2)

29. Shivering (Alternate)

30. Room 261

31. Rigg Pig (Mix 1)

32. Rigg Pig (Mix 2)

33. Mantra

34. Workshop

35. One Step

36. Bed Ripper

37. Teacher

38. Pregnant (Mix 1)

39. Pregnant (Mix 2)

40. She Stays

41. Step Back

42. Step Back (Alternate)

43. It's Art (Mix 1)

44. It's Art (Mix 2)

45. It's Art (Mix 3)

46. It's Art (Mix 4)

47. School Daze

48. Speared

49. Pulling

50. Save Yourself

51. New Game

52. New Game (Alternate)

53. Hello, Perez

54. Recommend

55. Partners

56. Lesson

57. The Tool (Mix 1)

58. The Tool (Mix 2)

59. Knife Face

60. Smash Clock

61. Gideon

62. Better Hope

63. Let Go

Additional Tracks

1. Payroll (John O Mix) - Nitzer Ebb

2. Collapse - Saosin

3. Shame - Drowning Pool

4. Tomorrow - Sixx:A.M.

5. Misery Loves Its Company - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

6. Eternal Rest - Avenged Sevenfold

7. Life Is Good - Ministry

8. Werewolf - Every Time I Die

9. Trapped - Soulidium

10. Better Think Again - Submersed

11. On The Offensive - From Autumn To Ashes

12. Spasmolytic (Deftones Remix-Habitual Mix) - Skinny Puppy

13. Beatcrusher - Dope Stars Inc.

14. Dead Is The New Alive (Manipulator Mix by Dope Stars Inc.) - Emilie Autumn

15. Do You Want to Play a Game - Oxygen

16. Crossing the Rubicon - The Human Abstract

17. Dread Prevailed - The Red Chord

18. Thrash is Back - Fueled By Fire

19. I Believe (In Blood) - Nachtmahr

Trivia

  • The nurse that helped Jill Tuck during her miscarriage is Deborah, the same nurse that talked to Lynn Denlon before she was kidnapped in Saw III. Many other characters from previous films reappeared in flashbacks, including Paul Leahy, Donnie Greco, Michael Marks, Addison Corday, Gus Colyard, and Troy.
  • Initially, the events of Saw and Saw IV were supposed to play out simultaneously. Therefore, Saw IV previously included a scene of Peter Strahm finding and entering the iconic bathroom, moments after Adam Stanheight was left to die there. Adam would have attempted to shoot Strahm out of fear, causing Strahm to shoot and kill him in self-defense.
  • During a scene in Jill's clinic, Derek, a teenager, is seen in the background watching a fight between Cecil Adams and Gus Colyard. Derek is played by Devon Bostick, who later returned to the series as Brent Abbott in Saw VI.
  • Saw IV is the only film in the series where producer Oren Koules is credited for his cameo appearance as Donnie Greco. However, the credits only list him as "The Man."

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