As sure as God made little green bobbing apples, we’ll get a Saw film at Halloween. It’s a tradition we at BestForFilm actually quite like – sorta comforting, like a Saturday duvet, or a bath filled with kittens. Stick those two together and you’d have a corker of a Jigsaw trap, incidentally. You should all know the score by now – a series of devilish traps that provide a bunch of feckless trapees with moral chin-scratchers such as “Is kneecapping myself with this poisoned crowbar worth the price of a Mars Bar? What would Jesus do?
Back to basics
Anyone with a passing knowledge of the franchise will know that things have gone beyond the formula of the first few movies. The original Jigsaw killer has rung down the curtain to join the choir invisible, now replaced by recurring character Mark Hoffman (first seen in Saw III), currently trying to divert suspicion away from his homicidal leanings. But the classic Saw schtick of torturing of unlikable protagonists is still alive and kicking, this time given a bit of a topical spin: Hoffman’s sociopathic sights are set on bankers and unscrupulous city slickers.
Another day, another horrific jigsaw…
The Saw series has often fallen down when it concentrates too much on devious, gross-out set pieces, and while they’re in abundance in VI they somehow feel less gratuitous than before. There’s principally two reasons for this: Firstly, any rational, right thinking homo sapien would welcome – nay, encorage! – the psychological smiting of corporate shits that engineered the economic meltdown. The credit crunch climate has already distanced us from centre-stage money-grubber William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), and there’s a definite sense of appealing to the audience’s revenge fantasies as he’s forced to suffer trial after trial. For once, there’s no question as to whether the Jigsaw Killer’s games are justified.
Secondly, there’s the continuing cat-and-mouse games of Hoffman and the franchise’s other recurring characters, including the original killer’s ex-wife (Betsy Russell) and previously-thought-dead FBI Agent Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis). Anyone who’s been following the films will welcome the return of these familiar faces, and it’s the continuing storyline tying these people together that really gives the film its momentum, and makes it feel like more than salacious, man-on-man inhumanity.
Saw VI is a clear improvement on the last couple of films in the series, providing an engaging (if slightly hammy) continuation of the Saw saga for die-hard fans and an enjoyably stomach-churning thrill ride for anyone who simply fancies some grim Halloween entertainment. Let’s just hope next year’s continues the trend, eh?
Audio Commentary with Producer Mark Burg and Executive Producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine
Audio Commentary with Director Kevin Greutert and Writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton
The Traps of Saw VI
A Killer Maze – Making Saw: Game Over