Saw IV

  • Review Date: January 20, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Another Halloween, another gory torturefest. Yuck.
  • Review Date: January 20, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Serial killers get victims to kill other victims in pursuit of "cherishing life," but really, it's all cruel, self-absorbed games.

Violence

The film is packed with gory violence, beginning with Jigsaw/John's autopsy (sawing through skull, slicing through chest, and breaking rib cage open, all with yucky sound effects, in close-up with much blood). Violent acts throughout the film feature hatchets, chains, hanging contraptions, grinding gears, knives, guns, fists, and all manner of piercing traps and cutting gizmos. A man appears with eyes sewn shut, another with mouth sewn shut (bloody effort to open it). Rat eats a corpse. Photos of bloody victims and torturer. Husband and wife are pinned together with rods that she pulls out (bloody and excruciating). An exploding puppet sends shards into a woman's face. A pregnant woman is slammed by a door and miscarries (bloody). Climax involves violence and tension; multiple characters are murdered.

Sex

John's body appears on a morgue table, naked (nonsexual), with at least two views of his penis (both at some distance). Rigg appears in his boxers (shirtless) as he searches his apartment for an intruder. A woman being tortured shows cleavage. In a flashback, John is solicited by a prostitute; he tells her to go home.

Language

Very frequent use of "f--k," plus occasional uses of "s--t," "c--ksucker," "hell," "a--hole," "damn," and "son of a bitch."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In a flashback, Jill works in an addicts' clinic -- the clients show the effects of substance abuse, though not actual use; one smokes a cigarette.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fourth bloody Saw movie isn't remotely meant for kids (even though horror-loving teens will probably be interested), and it's hardly worth the time of the series' fans, either. The gory, torture-centric formula is familiar: Villain Jigsaw arranges elaborate "games" by which victims either survive by killing someone else or abusing themselves to near-death, or they die. Frequent over-the-top violence includes stabbing, shooting, hanging, fighting, slicing, and more. A pregnant woman suffers a bloody miscarriage. There's some nonsexual male nudity, a shot or two of cleavage, and reference to prostitution. Also expect the usual bad language, including lots of uses of "f--k."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Jigsaw(Tobin Bell)'s bloodfest continues from beyond the grave in SAW IV. (The killer's life actually ended as the fourth film begins.) This time around, the primary sufferer SWAT team leader Rigg (Lyriq Bent), last seen supporting Kerry (Dina Meyer). She also shows up dead, spurring Riggs to try to save his other, long-missing partner, Eric (Donnie Wahlberg), back one more time to endure unspeakable torment. Rigg's intense desire to help is exactly what he must unlearn, according to Jigsaw, who leaves behind complex instructions that will lead either to Rigg's reinvigorated appreciation of his neglected wife (Ingrid Hart) or his own end. Rigg's "education" involves one grisly torture scene after another, witnessed both by him and the FBI agents -- Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Perez (Athena Karkanis) -- who declare the Jigsaw case theirs. While Strahm brings all kinds of file knowledge and Perez is intuitive (like girl cops tend to be in the movies), they're both surprised to learn Jigsaw's history from his ex-wife, Jill (Betsy Russell), who spends her interrogation room time looking alternately aghast and bored. The agents press her predictably, she gives up the big secret and then ... nothing much. The murder and mayhem proceed as Jigsaw has ordained, with all his victims behaving in selfish, fearful, pathetic ways. Except for Rigg, who tries again and again to do the right thing (in his mind) but never meets Jigsaw's standards. And so he suffers, with the rest of us.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SAW IV doesn't bring much originality to the bloody scrap table of the series' previous three installments. As fans no doubt recall from Saw III, his imminent death from cancer impelled him to torture a surgeon into providing him bloody closure. And although she's also dead -- like too many other players to mention -- she makes a brief appearance in this installment, because for some reason all plotty points lead to Jigsaw's death. Again.

Even if you consider the ex-wife's backstory about Jigsaw/John as additional information, it's certainly not news. Like many villains before him, John turns out to have been wronged rather randomly, an act of terrible violence that he absorbs into his worldview as a design he'll spend the rest of his life correcting -- or, perhaps more accurately, elaborating. Viewers might want to wash their hands of the entire Saw business and instead seek out other, more bearable cat-and-mousey thrillers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of "torture porn." Why does this cynical subgenre of horror movies continue to succeed with viewers? Do you think it will ever go too far (and who defines what "too far" is, anyway?)? How is the Saw franchise itself now a kind of "game"? Is it different from the games perpetrated by Jigsaw? And does he become a more sympathetic character when you learn his backstory? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 26, 2007
DVD release date:January 22, 2008
Cast:Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Tobin Bell
Director:Darren Lynn Bousman
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Horror
Run time:108 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture throughout, and for language.

This review of Saw IV was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bysupergram April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

A VERY SICK MOVIE

IGUESS YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE WANT TO WATCH THESE TYPES OF THING'S ,AND I HAVE YET TO WATCH IT,BUT MY SON HAS AND MY GRANDSON AND FROM THERE TELLING ME ABOUT IT ,IT IS VERY DISGUSTING AND COULD BE VERY TRAMATIC TO A CHILD OF A YOUNG AGE. I DON'T CARE TO WATCH SUCH GROSS THING'S,THERE IS ENOUGH VIOLENCE IN OUR LIVES,IN THIS WORLD.
Teen, 14 years old Written bydiimpsz April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
dis movie was so shyt
Teen, 15 years old Written byDKRUMBLE725 March 10, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Dissapointment, but still good

This film was dissapointing because it wasn't as good as Saw 2 (see my Saw 3 review title too see why) but it was better than 3. There is just as much gore as the others, language is essentially the same, but in this movie there is a short scene of a man raping a lady who he later murdered.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass