Saw V is a 2008 horror film directed by David Hackl (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. It is the fifth installment in the Saw film series. The film stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Scott Patterson, Betsy Russell, Mark Rolston, Julie Benz, Carlo Rota, and Meagan Good. The plot follows FBI Agent Peter Strahm as he pursues Detective Mark Hoffman after discovering his identity as one of the Jigsaw Killer's apprentices. Meanwhile, with John Kramer's threat that he will not go untested looming over him, Hoffman seeks to continue John's work and frame Strahm to keep his identity secret. The film also explores Hoffman's backstory and explains how he became Jigsaw's apprentice, while continuing several story lines started in Saw IV.

Saw V
Saw V New Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Hackl
Screenplay by
Produced by
CinematographyDavid A. Armstrong
Edited byKevin Greutert
Music byCharlie Clouser
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • October 24, 2008 (2008-10-24) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
  • Canada
  • United States
Budget$10.8 million
Box office$113.9 million[2]

David Hackl served as the production designer of Saw II, Saw III, and Saw IV and second-unit director for Saw III and Saw IV before making his directorial debut with Saw V.[3] Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, the writers of the previous film, returned to write the film. Charlie Clouser, who provided the score for all previous Saw films, also returned to compose the score for the film. Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell served as executive producers.

Saw V was released by Lionsgate in the United States on October 24, 2008, and received generally negative reviews from critics. Despite this, the film was a box office success, grossing $113.9 million worldwide. A sequel, Saw VI, was released in 2009.


Convicted murderer Seth Baxter wakes up chained to a table beneath a pendulum blade. A videotape informs him that he can release himself by crushing his hands between two presses. He does so, but the blade still swings down and bisects him as someone watches through a hole in the wall.

In the present, following the events of Saw IV, FBI Agent Peter Strahm escapes from the room he was locked in by Detective Mark Hoffman. He is then attacked by a figure in a pig mask and wakes up with his head sealed in a box being quickly filled with water. Outside, Hoffman delivers Corbett, the kidnapped daughter of Jeff Denlon, to the police and claims they are the only survivors. Strahm, having survived the trap by performing a tracheotomy with his pen, is brought out alive as well, much to Hoffman's shock.

During a press conference, Hoffman is promoted to Detective Lieutenant and credited with closing the Jigsaw case. Hoffman later finds a note in his office reading "I Know Who You Are," and learns of Agent Lindsey Perez's death while taking Strahm's cell phone from the police evidence room. At the hospital, Strahm tells Hoffman that Perez's last words were "Detective Hoffman" and questions how he escaped the plant. After being put on medical leave by his boss, Dan Erickson, Strahm, suspicious of Hoffman, decides to uncover his involvement with Jigsaw and takes case files of past Jigsaw victims to research them on his own.

In an underground sewer level, five people – fire inspector Ashley, real-estate company president Brit, journalist Charles, city planner Luba, and drug addict Mallick – awaken with collars locked around their necks, connected by cables to a set of blades mounted on the wall behind them. The keys to the collars are in individual glass boxes across the room. A videotape informs them that they are all connected and that they must "do the opposite" of their instincts if they are all to survive the tests ahead of them. Everyone survives the first game but Ashley, who fails to retrieve a key and gets decapitated when the collars retract. In the second room, which is filled with explosives on a timer, Mallick, Brit, and Luba each retrieve keys to bomb shelters set in the walls, leaving Charles to die when the timer expires and the explosives detonate. In the third room, Brit kills Luba and she and Mallick connect her corpse to five cables to complete an electric circuit that unlocks the next door. In the final room, Mallick and Brit find a machine fitted with five saws and a beaker requiring ten pints of blood to open the final door. They realize that all prior tests could have been completed without casualties if they worked together, and figure out their connection: they were all involved in a building fire that killed eight people. Mallick and Brit concede a truce and each slice an arm in the saws to provide the blood needed to open the final door.

Meanwhile, Strahm learns that Hoffman killed Baxter years prior as revenge for murdering his sister, and made it look like a Jigsaw game to get away with the crime. A series of flashbacks reveal how John Kramer abducted Hoffman after the fact, and blackmailed into becoming his first apprentice and helping him set up his future "games". Strahm concludes that everyone was meant to die at the plant except for Corbett and Hoffman, who would appear as a hero. Elsewhere, Strahm's activities draw Erickson's concern, which is further fueled when John's ex-wife Jill Tuck, who received a box and a videotape from John's will, approaches him and claims Strahm is stalking her. After Hoffman tells Erickson about Strahm's theory of a second Jigsaw accomplice, Erickson tries to call him. Hoffman intercepts the call on Strahm's phone and immediately hangs up. Now suspecting that Strahm is involved, Erickson has one of his agents track the phone's signal.

Following the signal to an observation room for the sewer game, Erickson finds the phone and his own personnel file, both planted by Hoffman. He also finds the still-living Brit and Mallick and calls for medical attention, before putting an all-points bulletin on Strahm, convinced that he is Jigsaw's successor. Meanwhile, Strahm follows Hoffman to the renovated nerve gas house and finds an underground room containing a box filled with broken glass shards and a tape. In the tape, Hoffman urges Strahm to enter the box, but he stops it short and ambushes Hoffman, whom he seals in the box. Strahm believes he has finally caught Hoffman, but the door to the room suddenly shuts itself and the walls begin to close in as the box is lowered beneath the floor. Strahm finishes playing the tape, which warns him that if he does not enter the box, he will die and be framed as Jigsaw's apprentice. Safe inside the box, Hoffman watches as Strahm unsuccessfully tries to escape the room and is ultimately crushed to death.



Saw V was written by Saw IV writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan,[4][5] though Darren Lynn Bousman, who had directed all Saw films since Saw II, affirmed in July 2007 that he would not direct another sequel.[6] Thomas Fenton also joined Dunstan and Melton as writer to the film, though Marek Posival was attached to write as well at one point.[7] The film went into production after Christmas 2007.[8] Principal photography took place from March 17 to April 28, 2008 in Toronto.[9] By mid-July 2008, there had been three photos released of David Hackl at the set of Saw V.[10] The first trailer, depicting Agent Strahm's box trap, was released at Comic-Con 08 as a short clip and the trailer was also shown before The X-Files: I Want to Believe.[11][12] The website opened on August 6, 2008. On September 17, 2008, a new clip was available on the Saw V website, depicting the Pendulum Trap.


The film was released in Australia on October 23, 2008,[13] in North America and the United Kingdom on October 24, 2008,[4][13] and in New Zealand on October 30, 2008.[13]

Box officeEdit

In its opening weekend, Saw V grossed $30,053,954 in 3,060 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking number two at the box office[14] behind High School Musical 3: Senior Year.[15] It grossed $56,746,769 in the United States and Canada, and an additional $57,117,290 in other markets, for a worldwide total of $113,864,059.[16] This was the second film in the series to not be number one at the box office, the first was the first film. It is Lionsgate's tenth-highest-grossing film in the United States and Canada.[17]

Critical receptionEdit

The film received generally negative reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 13% based on 76 reviews, with a weighted average of 2.92/10. The site's consensus states "If its plot were as interesting as its torture devices, or its violence less painful than its performances, perhaps Saw V might not feel like it was running on fumes."[18] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 20 out of 100, based on 13 reviews.[19]

Elizabeth Weizman of the New York Daily News believed that the lack of Tobin Bell's Jigsaw character hurt the film: "Bell's deliciously twisted madman was the lifeline of this series and, without him, we're left watching a routine horror flick that might as well have gone straight to DVD. The series began with two major assets that set it apart: the concept of a brilliantly righteous executioner, and the actor who played him. Now, aside from Bell's brief, intermittent cameos, it has neither. So where the original Saw was diabolical fun, this fifth installment is as bloodless as the most unfortunate of Jigsaw's victims."[20] Sam Adams of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "The virtues of the individual films are almost beside the point, since it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to pick up the thread at this late date, but Saw V is a particularly dull and discombobulated affair, shot and acted with all the flair of a basic-cable procedural".[21]

Some reviews were positive, however. The British website Digital Spy rated it 3/5 stars and commended the film for its "solid acting, slick direction and suitably filthy cinematography too", while also stating it will "make far more sense to those familiar with the previous installments".[22] IGN awarded the film with 3 out of 5 stars stating that the film ties up most of the loose ends of the previous 4 installments while also having a more straightforward and less complicated storyline. They also praised the traps for being the most inventive and best that the Saw franchise has had to offer.[23]

Home mediaEdit

Unrated Director's CutEdit

During an interview at the 2008 Scream Awards, Hackl claimed that his director's cut of Saw V (released on DVD January 20, 2009[24]), would run approximately 14 minutes longer than the theatrical cut. Hackl also stated that a number of scenes in the film would be re-ordered and arranged differently than in the theatrical cut.[25] However, only a few changes were made and the extra footage was never released, running only four minutes longer than the theatrical version.

Unrated Collector's EditionEdit

An Unrated Collector's Edition is available with exclusive packaging. It features sound effects, a collector's booklet, and a spinning "saw blade". The features on the DVD itself are the same as the standard Unrated Director's Cut.[26][27]


The soundtrack was released on October 21, 2008 by Artists' Addiction Records.


  1. ^ "SAW V (18)". British Board of Film Classification. October 8, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2014.
  2. ^ "Saw V (2008)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
  3. ^ SAW V and SAW VI Director Already Signed! Archived December 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2007 – December 4.
  4. ^ a b Lions Gate Publicity lists Saw V for October 24, 2008
  5. ^ interview with Patrick Melton
  6. ^ "SAW IV: Darren Lynn Bousman Interview". Hollywood Gothique. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  7. ^ Actual writer for Saw IV revealed Archived April 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ SAW 5 Shooting This Xmas. Retrieved December 4, 2007.
  9. ^ "Production in Ontario 2008" (pdf). Ontario Media Development Corporation. Archived from the original on September 5, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Behind-the-Scenes Stills From 'Saw V'!, Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  11. ^ "'Saw V' Trailer Attached to 'X-Files' Prints".
  12. ^ SDCC '08: Saw V Panel, Watch the Teaser Trailer!, Shocktillyoudrop. Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  13. ^ a b c Hoyts Distribution Release Schedule
  14. ^ "Saw V (2008) – Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 23, 2008.
  15. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for October 24–26, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  16. ^ "Saw V (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 1, 2008.
  17. ^ "Lionsgate All Time Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  18. ^ "Saw V Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  19. ^ "Saw V (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  20. ^ Weitzman, Elizabeth (October 24, 2008). "'Saw V' gore fest just doesn't cut it". Daily News. New York.
  21. ^ 'Saw V' – Los Angeles Times
  22. ^ At The Movies – Saw V
  23. ^ Saw V Review
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Scream 08: 'Saw V' Director's Cut, What About 'Saw VII'?".
  26. ^ Unrated Collector's Edition Pic
  27. ^ Saw V (Unrated Collector's Edition)

External linksEdit