One of the most prominent themes of this movie was the use of female sexual powerlessness as a means to strike fear in the audience. There are two lengthy scenes where sexual powerlessness occurs. I will discuss one. The protagonist Riggs (Lyriq Bent) is faced with a moral dilemma. He either saves his fellow detectives or saves a prostitute. Jigsaw convinces the prostitute that if she kills Riggs then she will not have to go to jail for her crimes. When Riggs first sees her, her head is covered with a pig's head. Her entire body is in bondage. A 15 second screen shot from her high heels all the way up to the pig's head shows her breasts and thighs. Even in a horror movie, a woman in bondage and being tortured must look sexy. No where in the film are the men required to be physically and sexually objectified.
In Saw IV, both women and men are in bondage. Both women and men suffer from a huge power differential between themselves and the torturer. The difference between the males and female is not the magnitude of the torture, but rather, how the tortured respond to pain and powerlessness. All of the men in the film attempt to fight their way out of being tortured. The female character begs for help. The way that men react to powerlessness and the way women respond is entirely different. The writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan characterize men in the film to fight for their rights even though they are "in the wrong" until the bitter end. There is an endearing quality to a person who fights for their lives until the very end ... even if they are the antagonists. The prostitute was not written to have a fighter's spirit. She was characterized as being self-defeating and desperate.