|Saw V is a 2008 horror film directed by David Hackl and written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan and stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor and Scott Patterson. The film, the fifth installment in the Saw franchise, was released on October 23, 2008 in Australia and October 24 in North America.
David Hackl, who served as the production designer of Saw II, III, and IV, and second-unit director for Saw III and IV made his directorial debut with Saw V. 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.
The film focuses primarily on the events that led up to Detective Mark Hoffman becoming an apprentice of the Jigsaw Killer, as well as his efforts to prevent anyone else from learning his secret.
Seth Baxter (Joris Jarsky), a convicted murderer, awakens chained to a table beneath a pendulum blade. In order to release himself, he must crush his hands by putting them into two presses and pushing the buttons inside. He does as the video tells him, but the pendulum still swings down and violently cuts him in half. Just before he dies, he sees an eye watching him through a hole in the wall.
In a scene from the end of Saw IV, Agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson) kills Jeff Denlon (Angus Macfadyen) in self-defense. After being sealed in the sickroom, he escapes through a hidden passage, where he is captured by a figure wearing a pig mask. He awakens with his head trapped in a glass box slowly being filled with water; he survives by performing a tracheotomy on himself using a pen to keep him breathing. Outside the meatpacking plant, Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) returns Corbett Denlon (Niamh Wilson), Jeff’s daughter, to the police. He claims they are the only two survivors, only to be shocked to see Strahm carried out alive as well.
In his will, John Kramer (Tobin Bell) leaves Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) a box and a videotape, which informs her that the items in the box are of “grave importance”. She opens the box using a key around her neck, then leaves without disclosing its contents. Meanwhile, a memorial service is held for the five detectives killed in action; during the memorial, Hoffman is promoted to detective lieutenant by the chief of police. While taking Strahm’s phone, he is informed that Strahm’s partner, Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis), died from her shrapnel wounds. He meets Strahm at the hospital, where Strahm tells him that Perez’s last words were “Detective Hoffman.” Strahm is taken off of duty by his boss, Dan Erickson (Mark Rolston), and begins researching past Jigsaw victims, now obsessed with piecing together Hoffman’s involvement. Through his research, he learns that Hoffman killed Seth Baxter with the pendulum trap after Seth killed Hoffman’s sister, and that John used this information to blackmail Hoffman into working with him. The two worked together to set up most of John’s tests, most notably the razor-wire maze and the nerve gas house. Additionally, Hoffman planted the penlight that framed Lawrence Gordon and provided the files for the victims of the gas house. At the end of his quest, Strahm discovers that everyone was meant to die in the meatpacking plant except for Hoffman, who was to be the hero who closed the case.
Meanwhile, five more victims awaken in an underground trap with collars locked around their necks connecting them to mounted razor blades. The keys to their collars are in glass boxes across the room, but moving for them will set off a one-minute timer. All but Ashley Kazon (Laura Gordon) retrieve their keys, and she is decapitated when her collar retracts. In the second room, keys must be found in overhead jars in order to unlock three chambers that will protect them from bombs. Charles Saumn (Carlo Rota) attacks Mallick Scott (Greg Bryk) and takes his key, but is struck by Luba Gibbs (Meagan Good) and is killed when the bombs explode. In the third room, five cables must be connected to a full bathtub to unlock five locks on the door, though none are long enough to reach. Luba attacks Mallick to use his body to close the circuits, but Brit Steddison (Julie Benz) stabs her in the neck and they use Luba’s body instead. In the final room, the door must be opened by filling a beaker, positioned in a machine fitted with circular saws, with ten pints of blood. They notice that there are five armholes and realize that all five victims were to work together to survive in every game: In the first test, any of the five keys in the room would have unlocked all the collars; the three chambers in the second test could have easily fit two people; the five victims could have closed the circuit in the third test without receiving a lethal amount of electricity and in the final test the five victims could have provided enough blood to fill the ten pints without experiencing the degree of injury experienced if there were only two. They also realize that all five of them were connected to a building fire that killed eight people. With no other choices, they begin sawing their arms to provide the ten pints.
Hoffman plants Strahm’s phone, which is being tracked by Erickson, and Erickson’s personnel file in the fifth room, which is found by Erickson when he arrives soon after. He also finds Brit, who managed to crawl out of the fourth room when Mallick passed out from blood loss, and calls for medical assistance, then places an all-points bulletin for Strahm’s arrest, as he now believes Strahm to be Jigsaw’s second accomplice. Meanwhile, Strahm follows Hoffman to the renovated nerve gas house and makes his way to a small underground room, which contains a clear box filled with broken glass. Hoffman’s tape recorder informs Strahm that he must trust him and enter the box, but Strahm stops the tape short and ambushes Hoffman when he arrives, ultimately sealing Hoffman in the box and causing the room to seal itself. Hoffman indicates the tape, which tells Strahm that if he chooses not to, he will “simply vanish” and Hoffman’s legacy will become his own. The glass box is lowered safely into the floor as the walls close in on Strahm and crush him to death while he attempts to escape through the ceiling grid.