Saw IV

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Saw IV
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDarren Lynn Bousman
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byCharlie Clouser
CinematographyDavid A. Armstrong
Edited byKevin Greutert
Brett Sullivan
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • October 26, 2007 (2007-10-26) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • Canada
Budget$10 million
Box office$139.4 million[2]

Saw IV is a 2007 horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman from a screenplay by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and a story by Melton, Dunstan, and Thomas Fenton. It is the fourth installment in the Saw film series, the third directed by Bousman. The film stars Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, and Lyriq Bent. Set concurrently with the events of Saw III, the plot follows Daniel Rigg, a police officer obsessed with rescuing the Jigsaw Killer's victims, who finds himself the focus of Jigsaw's latest series of tests, in which he must rescue his partners, Eric Matthews and Mark Hoffman, while learning to overcome his obsession. The film also explores John Kramer's legacy and his ability to manipulate people into continuing his work after his death, while providing more of his backstory and an additional explanation as to why he became Jigsaw.

Saw IV was the first film in the franchise to not be written by Leigh Whannell. It was released by Lionsgate in the United States on October 26, 2007, and received generally negative reviews from critics. Despite this, the film was a box office success, grossing $139 million worldwide. A sequel, titled Saw V, was released in 2008.


A wax-covered microcassette is found in John Kramer's stomach during his autopsy, which contains a posthumous message from John that informs Detective Mark Hoffman that he will be tested. Elsewhere, two men – one with his eyes sewn shut, the other with his mouth sewn shut – awaken in a mausoleum, chained at the neck to a winch that begins reeling them in. The muted man is forced to kill the blinded man to get a key from his collar and free himself.

Following Detective Allison Kerry's death in a Jigsaw "game", a SWAT team led by Hoffman and Officer Daniel Rigg and Kerry's FBI contacts Peter Strahm and Lindsey Perez arrive at the crime scene. Noting the physical limitations of John and his apprentice, Amanda Young, Strahm speculates that a third accomplice was involved and becomes suspicious of Rigg. That night, Rigg, who has become obsessed with rescuing Jigsaw's victims since Detective Eric Matthews' disappearance, is attacked in his home and later awakens to find a video from Jigsaw. The video reveals that Eric is still alive (having been saved and held captive by Jigsaw for six months after he was left for dead by Amanda), and that the only way to rescue him and Hoffman, who has also been kidnapped, is for Rigg to pass a series of trials that will teach him to let go of his obsession. If Rigg fails to pass his tests in 90 minutes, Eric and Hoffman will be killed.

Rigg finds a madam named Brenda bound to a chair in his living room and accidentally activates a trap, which partially tears her scalp off. He frees Brenda but she attacks him to evade arrest for her crimes, forcing Rigg to kill her in self-defense. Rigg is then instructed to abduct motel owner and serial rapist Ivan Landsness. He forces Ivan into a trap, which requires Ivan to blind both of his eyes to escape. Ivan only blinds one of his eyes, and the trap dismembers him. Next, Rigg is led to a school where he once investigated the abuse of a young student, committed by her father. He finds the student's parents are impaled with metal spikes: the father, Rex, has already died from blood loss, while his also abused wife Morgan remained alive at his expense by pulling the spikes from both of their bodies. Rigg gives her a key to free herself, then turns on a fire alarm and goes to the location of his final test.

Investigating Rigg's apartment, the agents find a clue that leads them to Jill Tuck, John's ex-wife, who reveals that she miscarried her son Gideon when Cecil Adams, a drug addict, slammed a door into her stomach while robbing her rehab clinic. The loss of their son enraged John and destroyed their marriage. At the motel, the agents learn that the room Ivan was killed in had been rented out to lawyer Art Blank, John's former business partner, and the survivor of the mausoleum trap. Art is revealed to be the man overseeing the current game when he hands Eric a gun. At the school, Strahm and Perez find a puppet, whose face explodes and sends shrapnel into Perez's face. While Perez is hospitalized, Strahm questions Jill and learns that John ended his work with Art after falling into depression, and that Cecil became the first victim of John's games. Strahm connects her story and a prior clue to discover the location of Rigg's final test: the Gideon Meatpacking Plant.

Strahm arrives after Rigg, but ends up following Jeff Denlon, who is trying to pass his own game. He finds Jeff in a sickroom with the corpses of John, Amanda, and his wife Lynn, and kills him in self-defense after Jeff points his gun at him. Meanwhile, Art pulls out a device that will free him, Eric, and Hoffman once the 90 minute timer expires; if used before then, a pair of pincers will sever his spine. Realizing Rigg's game is for him to wait until they are able to save themselves, Eric shoots Rigg as he is about to enter the room. Rigg opens the door nonetheless, triggering a mechanism that releases two ice blocks to crush Eric's head, and seemingly electrocutes Hoffman. After killing Art in self-defense, Rigg picks up the tape recorder he had on his person, which reveals that Eric would have lived if not for Rigg's obsession to save everyone. Hoffman then frees himself and leaves Rigg, who realizes that Hoffman was the actual third accomplice all along, to die from his gun wound, before sealing the door of the sickroom with Strahm still inside.

The film ends with Hoffman at the morgue; thus revealing that John's autopsy took place after the events of the film.



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

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.[5] At Comic Con Intermeational 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,[12] the former of which they accomplished.[13]

Lionsgate held its fourth annual “Give Til It Hurts” blood drive for the Red Cross.[14]


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.[15] It is Lionsgate's sixth highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception to Saw IV was negative. Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 20% based on 81 reviews, with an average score of 3.8/10.[17] The site's consensus states: “Saw IV is more disturbing than compelling, with material already seen in the prior installments.” On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 36 out of 100, based on 16 reviews, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews".[18]

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.”[19] 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.”[20] 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.”[21] 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.”[22]

A less negative review came from Jamie Russell from the BBC, who called it "deeply unsettling; just like a horror movie should be."[23] Linda Cook from Quad-City Times gave it a positive review and said "The twists and turns are deadly, the 'lessons' are taught once again, and we have the perfect setup for Saw V."[24]

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. An "Extreme Edition" was released in the United Kingdom only, before the release of Saw V in October 2008,[25][26] and features a 95-minute running time of the film. This version of the film matches the unrated version released in the United States[27] (since the BBFC have to classify every film by law, the term 'unrated' is not permitted on UK home video releases).

Extreme Limited Edition[edit]

This edition was only released in the United Kingdom.[25]

  • 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


The soundtrack was released on October 23, 2007 by WEA/Warner Bros. Records. The film's theme song "I.V." was written by Yoshiki and performed by the rock group X Japan.[28]


  1. ^ "Saw IV (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 11, 2007. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  2. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 4, 2008.
  3. ^ Actual writer for Saw IV revealed Archived April 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Bousman Returns to Direct Saw IV., 2007-02-20.
  5. ^ a b Darren Lynn Bousman Interview, SAW 4. Movies Online. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  6. ^ Date set for filming
  7. ^ "Production in Ontario 2007" (pdf). Ontario Media Development Corporation. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  8. ^ Location set for the filming of Saw IV
  9. ^ Saw II filming location Archived July 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine MovieWeb retrieved 2005-27-10.
  10. ^ Saw III filming location Archived June 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine MovieWeb retrieved 2006-04-17.
  11. ^ IMDb post-production period
  12. ^ Saw IV Too Much for Comic-Con Retrieved on 2007-08-07
  13. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "American Red Cross Partners With Lionsgate on SAW IV Blood Drive". Red Cross. August 6, 2007. Archived from the original on September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "Saw IV (2007) - Box Office". The Numbers. Retrieved November 2, 2009.
  16. ^ "Lionsgate All Time Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  17. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  18. ^ "Saw IV (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  19. ^ "Movie review: 'Saw IV'". Archived from the original on November 27, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  20. ^ "Saw IV". Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  21. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (October 29, 2007). "Review: The hunt for the Jigsaw Killer continues in 'Saw IV'". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  22. ^ "Saw IV". Retrieved February 21, 2009.
  23. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  24. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Retrieved November 10, 2007.
  25. ^ a b Coolest DVD Packing Ever For UK 'Saw IV' Release
  26. ^ SAW IV DVD Extreme Limited Edition - WHAT DOES THE DVD DO? on YouTube
  27. ^ "Rewind @ - Saw IV (2007)".
  28. ^ "Legendary Japanese Rock Band X JAPAN Returns With New Song And Video". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. October 18, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2020.

External links[edit]