Special Agent Straum narrowly escapes the trap set for him at the conclusion of SAW IV, leaving him with a hole in his neck and a personal vendetta against the Jigsaw copy-cat. His search brings him closer and closer to finding out the killer's true identity, but can he ID him in time to save the latest batch of victims? David Hackl keeps with the sharp editing, smooth transitions, and lightning pacing established by Darren Bousman and James Wan before him, giving this fifth film a consistent look and feel to the rest of the series. SAW V serves as a virtual prequel, intricately weaving Detective Hoffman into the events of each of the previous four films in a clever and convincing manner that is far less contrived than Agent Straum's presumptuous detective work. The main problems with the film are threefold. First, it is impossible to enjoy the film outside of the continuity of the series, as most of the characters and events are self-referential to the previous entries. Second, it takes an enormous leap of faith to believe that Straum could piece together the plot so easily, even with planted clues left behind by both Hoffman and Jigsaw. Lastly, the victims of the newest trap are forgotten entirely and seem to be inconsequential to the plot, while the script tends to focus on both Straum and Hoffman. Even with its inherent flaws, SAW V offers more great character development and background as told through the series of flashbacks, along with the bloodiest torture devices yet. It may not live up to the earlier films, but it is a worthwhile entry.