|Saw IV is a 2007 horror film and sequel to 2006’s Saw III. It was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by newcomers Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan and Thomas Fenton. The film was released in North America on October 26, 2007. The film’s North American release date followed the series’ tradition that the films be released the Friday before or on Halloween of each year.
The film continues the story of the Jigsaw Killer and his obsession with teaching people the “value of their own lives”. Despite Jigsaw being killed in the last installment, the film still focuses on his ability to manipulate people into continuing his work of trapping people into his “games”.
During John Kramer’s (Tobin Bell) autopsy, a wax-coated microcassette is found in his stomach; it is given to Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), whom it informs that he too will be tested, and that the games will continue. Elsewhere, Trevor (Kevin Rushton) and Art (Justin Louis) awaken chained at the neck to a winch; Trevor’s eyelids are sewn shut, as is Art’s mouth, rendering communication impossible. When the winch activates, Trevor panics and attacks Art, who kills him in self-defense and takes a key from his collar to free himself.
Detective Kerry’s (Dina Meyer) body is found by police four days after her disappearance; after Hoffman cautions Lt. Rigg (Lyriq Bent) for going through an unsecured door in order to reach her, he meets Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis), two FBI agents who had previously been in contact with Kerry. They inform Hoffman that a second accomplice is involved in Kerry’s murder, as Jigsaw and Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) were both physically incapable of placing her in the trap. Strahm soon becomes suspicious of Rigg, who is convinced that Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) is still alive. Rigg is later attacked in his home, awakening to discover that Matthews is indeed alive, that he and Hoffman have ninety minutes to save themselves, and that Rigg must go through a series of tests to “discover what it truly means to save a life.”
As Rigg progresses through his tests, he finds Brenda (Sarain Boylan), a female pimp whose hair is attached to a winch that tears her scalp; Ivan Landsness (Marty Adams), a serial rapist whom Rigg forces into a trap where must choose between blinding himself or being dismembered; and Rex and Morgan (Ron Lea and Janet Land), an abusive husband and his wife who are in a harness, impaled together with spikes. He is only able to save Morgan before heading for his final test. Meanwhile, Strahm and Perez investigate each test scene while also interrogating Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell), Jigsaw’s ex-wife, and soon discover that they are also targets. They also discover that a lawyer named Art Blank, who had vanished two weeks previously, had successfully defended all three victims, as well as Jill. When Perez is hospitalized after an incident involving Jigsaw’s puppet, Strahm forces Jill to recount the rest of Jigsaw’s background. She had been pregnant with a baby to be named Gideon, but miscarried after a drug addict named Cecil (Billy Otis) robbed her clinic, because he accidently slammed a door into her stomach; this and John’s subsequent depression ended their marriage. Upon surviving his suicide attempt, John began his work. He targeted Cecil first, placing him in a trap in which he had to push his face through a rack of knives to hit a switch and release himself. The trap collapsed and Cecil lunged at John, only to fall into a tangle of razor wire and die. Strahm connects Jill’s story with the Gideon Meatpacking Plant, the location of Rigg’s final test.
Strahm arrives shortly after Rigg but ends up trailing Jeff Denlon (Angus Macfadyen), who is making his way to the sickroom of the plant. He finds Jeff in the sickroom moments after John dies and kills him in self-defense when Jeff mistakes him for his daughter’s kidnapper. In another area of the plant, Rigg locates Matthews and Hoffman, who are monitored by Art; all three can be released by Art when the ninety minutes expire. Rigg, not knowing this, breaks into the room with one second left just as Matthews shoots him, and sets off the traps: two ice blocks swing down and crush Matthews’ head, killing him, and the excess water flows toward Hoffman, who’s strapped to a chair with electrodes at his feet. Rigg then kills Art, believing him responsible for the traps, and learns from Art’s tape recorder that he has failed the test by interfering; Matthews would have lived if Rigg had not tried to save him. An unharmed Hoffman releases himself, revealed to be the second accomplice, severs the monitors’ connection and leaves Rigg to die. He seals Strahm in the sickroom with the four corpses and leaves the area just as the scene cuts to Jigsaw’s autopsy, which took place after the events of the film.