This installment was directed by David Hackl, who was production designer on all of the other Saws, and it stars Costas Mandylor, reprising his role as Detective Hoffman, one of Jigsaw's henchman. Hoffman has set up more traps as Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) uncovers more and more of the past that Hoffman has with Jigsaw. Along with this is a side-game that Hoffman has made, involving five people in a series of traps.
Saw V looks almost exactly the same as the other installments, which is definitely a plus, as Hackl has kept everything pretty true to the original. The film builds off of Saw IV, and in general all of the other Saws, giving us many, many unneeded flashbacks to scenes from the other movies. In fact, Saw V acts as though everyone in the audience is an idiot, flashing back to prior scenes throughout the length of the movie instead of just one concluding sequence at the end; we're also treated to voiceovers from Agent Strahm as he figures out Hoffman's involvement in the Jigsaw killings, which is pretty much unnecessary as we see it happen along with hearing it. I didn't think that we needed some of the backstory, like when we see more of a scene that happened the original Saw.
While the film thinks the viewer is stupid, Hackl has made the characters just as inane. The characters never use good judgment on how to figure out the traps, and it seems the filmmakers are pretty misanthropic, since the characters are so quick to off one another that it seems like we're all just bloodthirsty maniacs. While the five people set about figuring out the traps, they never think about how to save everyone, and it was obvious to me from the very beginning that the traps were designed so that everyone could live. The surprise that comes at the end was, unlike the tagline, very foreseeable. It's true that the traps are incredibly intense, but what really helps is that the people are dumb and the traps ridiculous.
I think director Hackl felt like, since he was the "new guy," he had to outdo the other Saws and make it as bloody as he could. While that is a staple of the Saw series, it wasn't the only thing that mattered. I think what viewers could relate to was Jigsaw was a fair guy, and he gave everyone a chance. What mentally revolts the viewer in this film is that Hoffman is not doing the traps because he wants to help people, but because he wants to hurt. It's an interesting concept that people accept the fact that Jigsaw does not murder for the sake of murdering, and that the chance that people have to live through the ordeal makes it acceptable to watch the film. In Saw V, it seemed to me, when watching the movie, it made the movie all the more exploitative that Hoffman was doing the games for all the wrong reasons. Jigsaw was a likable character, while Hoffman is maniacal in tendencies.