Saw IV Blu-ray Review
PictureWell if nothing else can be said about this latest Saw instalment, it certainly does look good on Blu-ray. Coming with a 1080p High Definition video presentation in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 1.85:1, it glistens from the outset. The detail is excellent, whether on the facial close-ups or the claustrophobic torture scenes, with no unintentional grain, no digital artefacting and no softness whatsoever. The bleached out palette, some of the more clinical or desaturated sequences all lend themselves towards a more gritty look, but this is obviously what the filmmakers intended. The colour scheme follows suit depending on the setting, with a slightly drained look to the proceedings, but for the commonplace crimson blood, and colours are presented again as intended. There's no bleeding, even in the red-dominated 'lair' of one of Jigsaw's victims, and blacks remain solid throughout, making for some excellent shadowing and superior darker sequences. Overall it is a superior video presentation for this fourth Saw film.
SoundTo accompany the movie on Blu-ray we get a decent Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX track as well as a superior DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio mix. Dialogue comes presented - whether muffled moans, screams of pain, shouts or the gruff, menacing whisper of Jigsaw's recordings - clearly and coherently, predominantly from the frontal array. The effects are mostly torture-related, the whirring of cogs and gears, machinery spluttering to life, with stabbing, slashing, tearing and ripping sounds abundant on the track. Sometimes the sounds are almost the worst bit, bones breaking, flesh being torn apart, bodies being mutilated, often through self-infliction - made worse still from the realistic aural portrayal. The score is quite a low-level, brooding, atmospheric offering, which occasionally echoes some of the quieter Batman Begins moments, also injecting some frantic random loud noises into the mix. With decent enough bass to round off the proceedings and keep the LFE happy, the soundtrack is a suitably oppressive offering to accompany the horrors that unfold on-screen.
ExtrasWe get two full length Audio Commentaries, the first provided by the Director Darren Lynn Bousman and the lead Lyriq Bent who offer very little insight into this production, aside from shallow comments towards the on-screen action. The Director comes across as less than enamoured by the prospect of doing another Saw film and this attitude carries throughout the track. The second Commentary is by Producers Oren Koules, Peter Block, Jason Constantine and Mark Burg, who clearly have a different take on the proceedings - not least because they hope it will make them money, and they hope that this cash cow is not quite dead yet. It's strange to hear this track in direct comparison to the other one, coming across as far more promotional but also at least a bit more lively and interesting.
Darren's Video Diary spends just over half an hour with the Director Darren Lynn Bousman, offering us fly-on-the-wall glimpses at the production from pre- to post-. Bousman pulls no punches about being unhappy about the whole affair, returning to do another Saw movie was clearly the last thing he wanted, and it is quite refreshing to have such an honest look at a movie's production, even if it does occasionally make the proceedings a little dour. The Traps of Saw is a Featurette that lasts a little more than a quarter of an hour, looking at all of the main torture/death traps that they employ within the movie. It's actually quite interesting to see how they constructed these devices, and the twisted ideas that went into them. The Props of Saw is a shorter, 8 minute Featurette, with the Props Master giving us a tour of the various weaponry brandished in the movie. There's one solitary Deleted Scene, that last just a minute long and is not even worth mentioning, as well as Music Video and a couple of Trailers.
VerdictSaw IV offers horror fans absolutely nothing new, perpetuating this popular franchise with yet more of the same. Still, if you like the Saw movies then you're not likely to be disappointed with this latest addition. On Blu-ray we get decent video and superior audio, as well as a nice selection of extras to keep you occupied. Fans will have to add this to their collection, but those who feel that the franchise has never really lived up to its first endeavour are unlikely to find anything to change that fact here.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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