Padded out with multiple flashbacks to the four previous instalments, ‘Saw V’ details Hoffman’s training at the hands of the now-dead deviser of gruesome games. But another survivor of the last bloodbath, FBI agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson), suspects the heroic Hoffman of having had a hand in the killings. After all, Hoffman investigated every one of the murders, and had a personal vested interest in one of them – that of his slain sister.
Because all this boring police procedural stuff happens outside the slaughterhouse, any potential tension or suspense is dissipated. Meanwhile, inside the house of pain, it’s déjà vu all over again, as five incarcerated victims try to figure out cryptic video-taped clues, and escape fiendishly booby-trapped rooms. Yet not even these cruel engines of pain are as ingenious or horrific as those in the previous films. Any film that opens with a scene stolen from Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ has much to live up to. Suffice to say, this doesn’t.