Saw IV

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Saw IV
Promotional poster
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Produced by Mark Burg
Oren Koules
Gregg Hoffman
Screenplay by Patrick Melton
Marcus Dunstan
Story by Thomas Fenton
Patrick Melton
Marcus Dunstan
Starring Tobin Bell
Costas Mandylor
Scott Patterson
Betsy Russell
Lyriq Bent
Music by Charlie Clouser
Cinematography David Armstrong
Edited by Kevin Greutert
Distributed by Lionsgate Films
Release dates
  • October 25, 2007 (2007-10-25) (Australia)
  • October 26, 2007 (2007-10-26) (US and Canada)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
Country Canada
United States
Language English
Budget $10 million
Box office $139.3 million[2]

Saw IV is a 2007 Canadian-American[3] horror film and the fourth installment of the Saw franchise. It was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by newcomers Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, and Thomas Fenton. It stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Lyriq Bent, Justin Louis, and Donnie Wahlberg. The film was released in North America on October 26, 2007.

The film continues the story of the Jigsaw Killer's obsession with teaching people the value of their lives. Despite Jigsaw being killed in the last installment, the film focuses on his ability to manipulate people into continuing his work. The story follows Lieutenant Daniel Rigg being put through a series of tests in order to try and let go of his obsession with saving everyone, whilst at the same time attempting to save his partner.


During John Kramer's autopsy, a wax-coated microcassette is found in his stomach. Detective Mark Hoffman is called in to hear the tape, and learns that he will still be tested and the games will continue. In a mausoleum, two men awaken chained at the neck to a winch. One's eyes are sewn shut, as is the other's mouth, making communication impossible. In a panic, the blinded man activates the winch and attacks the muted man, who kills him and frees himself with the key from his collar.

Lieutenant Daniel Rigg's SWAT team discovers Allison Kerry's body four days after her death. Hoffman warns Rigg for breaking through an unsecured door to reach her. The scene is also investigated by Kerry's contacts, FBI Agents Peter Strahm and Lindsey Perez, who received a key and message from her. Strahm states that Kerry was killed by an unknown accomplice, noting Kramer's and Amanda Young's physical limitations, and becomes suspicious of Rigg, who has developed an obsession with saving people following Eric Matthews' disappearance. That night, Rigg is attacked in his home and wakes up in his bathroom. A videotape shows him that Matthews is alive and has ninety minutes to save himself, with Hoffman's life also at risk. Meanwhile, he must undergo his own tests to face and overcome his obsession. The detectives are soon shown to be set at each end of a large seesaw: Matthews is held atop an ice block by a chain noose and Hoffman is strapped to a chair with electrodes at his feet. If Matthews slips or jumps, both will die. A man later arrives to oversee the game.

Rigg's first test involves a pimp, Brenda, who is bound to a chair in his living room. He is urged to walk away, but he accidentally starts the trap by removing her gag, which slowly tears her scalp. He frees her, but kills her in self-defense when she attacks him with a knife, having been told by tape that Rigg would arrest her if she didn't kill him. The agents investigate the scene and find a clue that leads to Jill Tuck, Kramer's ex-wife, who is brought to the station for questioning. Though tight-lipped, she reveals that Kramer was a civil engineer involved with property development, while she ran a clinic to help drug addicts. They were expecting a son, named Gideon after his first project, but she miscarried after seven months when Cecil Adams, an addict, slammed a door into her stomach while robbing her clinic. More flashbacks reveal how Cecil later became the subject of Jigsaw's very first test and was killed.

For his next test, Rigg enters a motel and is instructed to abduct the owner, Ivan Landsness, and put him in a prearranged trap in one of the rooms. After finding photo and video evidence that Landsness is a serial rapist, Rigg furiously forces him into the trap and leaves after handing him two controllers. Landsness must blind both of his eyes with blades, but he blinds only one eye before the timer expires and is dismembered. The agents learn that the room was rented out to a lawyer named Art Blank, who vanished two weeks ago. Blank, the survivor of the mausoleum trap, is revealed to be the man overseeing the game when he prevents Matthews from jumping and gives him a gun.

The third test leads Rigg to a school where he once assaulted a man, Rex, accused of domestic abuse. He and his wife, Morgan, awaken locked in a harness and impaled by spikes, which pass through vital points in his body but non-vital points of hers. By the time Rigg arrives, Rex has died and Morgan has removed all but one spike and passed out from shock. She awakens and Rigg gives her the key to her harness and tells her to free herself. He finds the location of his final test and pulls the fire alarm as he leaves. The agents learn at the scene that all three victims, and Jill, were Blank's clients. They find a puppet with a tape recorder in another room and a cryptic message is played for Perez before the puppet's face explodes, critically injuring her. Strahm has her hospitalized and furiously resumes questioning Jill, now convinced Blank is the accomplice. He connects her story and a prior clue to the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, the location of Rigg's final test.

Strahm arrives after Rigg and ends up on the path to the sickroom. He unlocks it with Kerry's key and finds Jeff, whom he shoots in self-defense when Jeff pulls a gun on him. Meanwhile, Blank pulls out a device which can be used to free them when the timer expires. If he uses it before then, a pair of pincers will sever his spine. Rigg finds them and is shot by Matthews as he breaks into the room with one second left, releasing two overhead ice blocks which swing down and crush Matthews' head, killing him. Hoffman's chair is also lowered into water and is apparently electrocuted. Rigg shoots and kills Art Blank, believing him responsible for the game. Art manages to activate a tape recorder beforehand and learns that his interference caused Matthews' death. Hoffman, whom was never in danger and is really the actual accomplice, releases himself from the chair and leaves a stunned Rigg to bleed to death. He seals Strahm in the sickroom before leaving the plant. The scene then cuts to Kramer's autopsy, which took place after the events of the film.


For more details on the cast and characters, see List of Saw cast members and List of Saw characters.


Saw IV's writers were Thomas Fenton, Marcus Dunstan, and Patrick Melton.[4] There was also a hunt for a director before it was officially stated that Darren Lynn Bousman would direct the fourth installment, with creators and executive producers James Wan and Leigh Whannell also returning.[5][6] principal photography took from April 16, 2007[7] to May 3, 2007.[8] The filming location was Toronto, Ontario,[9] the same place both Saw II[10] and Saw III[11] were filmed. Post-production period began on May 19.[12]

In an interview with Bousman, he stated that the last work on Saw IV would happen in August to be able to have prints made.[6] At Comic Con 2007, it was revealed by Bousman and producer Mark Burg that the MPAA had given the film an NC-17 rating. They would have to figure out whether or not to cut the film to achieve an R rating or release it as an NC-17 film,[13] the former of which they accomplished.[14]

Lionsgate held its fourth annual "Give Til It Hurts" blood drive for the Red Cross.[15]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $63,300,095 in the United States and an additional $71,228,814 internationally, bringing the theatrical total to $134,528,909.[16] It is Lionsgate's sixth highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada.[17]


Critical reception to Saw IV was negative. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 17% of critics gave the film a positive review, based upon 75 reviews, with an average score of 3.7 out of 10.[18] On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 36 out of 100, based on 16 reviews.[19] Scott Schueller from the Los Angeles Times called it "a film as edgy as a rubber knife" and said that "if the terrible craft of Bousman's film doesn't turn your stomach, the borderline pornographic violence will. It's disconcerting to imagine anyone enjoying the vile filth splashing the screen."[20] Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter said "the famously inventive torture sequences here seem depleted of imagination", but added that "it hasn't yet jumped the shark like such predecessors as the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th movies eventually did."[21] Peter Hartlaub from The San Francisco Chronicle called it "the Syriana of slasher films, so complicated and circuitous that your only hope of understanding everything is to eat lots of fish the night before and then watch each of the previous films, in order, right before you enter the theater."[22] James Berardinelli wrote that "Saw IV functions as a drawn-out, tedious epilogue to a series that began with an energetic bang three years ago with Saw, then progressively lost momentum, coherence, and intelligence with each successive annual installment. Saw IV is nothing short of a money-grab. Despite a couple of loose ends (that are tied up unsatisfactorily here), Saw III finished the story."[23]

A less negative review came from Scott Weinberg from Fearnet, who said that while it "is almost certainly the weakest of the series where stuff like plot, logic, and chills are concerned... there's still more than enough here to keep the fans intrigued, entertained, and squirming in their seats" and added that the "Saw-makers are to be commended for actually putting forth this sort of effort. I grew up in an era that offered little more than quick-cash, stand-alone horror sequels like Halloween 5 and Friday the 13th Part 7 — so the fact that these producers actually give a damn about narrative continuity (right down to the smallest detail) is fairly impressive."[24] said that "with Saw IV, the pieces have all come together and [it's] the best of the lot."[25] Jamie Russell from the BBC called it "deeply unsettling; just like a horror movie should be."[26] Chris Hewitt from St. Paul Pioneer Press claimed that "Saw IV is a fluid film, as neatly constructed as the deadly puzzles Jigsaw creates to snare his victims." Film School Rejects said that "One of the things that is most intriguing to me about the Saw movies is how much I actually have enjoyed them" and claimed that "As far as fourth installments in a series, Saw IV is quite impressive." Linda Cook from Quad-City Times gave it a positive review also and said "The twists and turns are deadly, the 'lessons' are taught once again, and we have the perfect setup for Saw V."[27]


Award Category Result
Empire Awards Best Horror Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards Best Horror TV Spot Won
Best Horror Poster Nominated
Best Teaser Poster Nominated
Best Thriller Poster Nominated
Best Thriller TV Spot Nominated

Home media[edit]

The Unrated Director's Cut was released on January 22, 2008 in America and March 3, 2008 in the UK, on DVD and Blu-ray. The "Extreme Edition", which was released in the UK only, before the release of Saw V in October 2008[28][29] features a 95-minute running time of the film.

Extreme Limited Edition[edit]

This edition was only released in the United Kingdom.[28]

  • Exclusive automated spinning Saw with a sound clip packaging
  • A copy of the Saw: Rebirth comic
  • Two audio commentaries (one with director Darren Lynn Bousman and actor Lyriq Bent; the other featuring the producers)
  • Video diary of Darren Lynn Bousman
  • Traps of Saw IV
  • Props of Saw IV
  • Music Video "I.V." by X Japan


Main article: Saw IV (soundtrack)

The soundtrack was released on October 23, 2007 by WEA/Warner Bros. Records.


  1. ^ "SAW IV (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 
  3. ^ "BFI Film & TV Database - Saw IV". British Film Institute. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ Actual writer for Saw IV revealed
  5. ^ Bousman Returns to Direct Saw IV., 2007-02-20.
  6. ^ a b Darren Lynn Bousman Interview, SAW 4. Movies Online. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  7. ^ Date set for filming
  8. ^ "Production in Ontario 2007" (pdf). Ontario Media Development Corporation. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ Location set for the filming of Saw IV
  10. ^ Saw II filming location MovieWeb retrieved 2005-27-10.
  11. ^ Saw III filming location MovieWeb retrieved 2006-04-17.
  12. ^ IMDb post-production period
  13. ^ Saw IV Too Much for Comic-Con Retrieved on 2007-08-07
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "American Red Cross Partners With Lionsgate on SAW IV Blood Drive". Red Cross. August 6, 2007. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Saw IV (2007) - Box Office". The Numbers. Retrieved 2009-11-02. 
  17. ^ "Lionsgate All Time Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-11-09. 
  19. ^ "Saw IV (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  20. ^ "Movie review: 'Saw IV'". Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  21. ^ "Saw IV". Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  22. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (2007-10-29). "Review: The hunt for the Jigsaw Killer continues in 'Saw IV'". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  23. ^ "Saw IV". Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  24. ^ "Saw IV". Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  25. ^ "Saw IV". Retrieved November 10, 2007. 
  26. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Retrieved November 10, 2007. 
  27. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  28. ^ a b Coolest DVD Packing Ever For UK 'Saw IV' Release
  29. ^ SAW IV DVD Extreme Limited Edition - WHAT DOES THE DVD DO? on YouTube

External links[edit]