Thursday, October 23, 2014

Saw VI (Kevin Greutert, 2009) Review

Yes, at this point Saw has run its course. There is nothing else they can do to inspire originality or recapture what made the first ones memorable...or so I thought. After the lacklustre Saw IV and Saw V, I was certain there was nothing worthwhile left and yet here we are at Saw VI, the one that would make the original creators proud. Let's find out how and why. 

(More spoilers apparently. These films love starting with spoilers for the previous ones!) Agent Strahm has met his grisly demise and Hoffman (Costas Mandycor) comes out on top as the true successor to Jigsaw. As per usual, a new victim is trust into yet another set of trails to test is worth as a human being. This is Will Easton () who has to fight his way through deranged test subjects within a certain time limit to save his girlfriend all while keeping himself alive. Meanwhile, Jigsaw's wife Jill (Betsy Russell) sets out to exact his dying wish that may leave Hoffman out of commission.

Saw VI is definitely a step up from the previous iterations. An engaging and well performed protagonist you feel for,  a full realised new villain to take over Jigsaw, one of the best cliffhangers and twists, and some of the most inventive traps in the series. I'm not sure what they did but the writers really turned it around (maybe that's what the carousel traps represents). The way this film is made is also great. One scene in particular makes fantastic use of sound combined with cinematography and cutting to really change the pace of the scene instantly at a reveal for the characters (the audience already knows at this point).

Really, the only flaw is that it's a Saw film. That name just strikes a reaction in people of disgust and makes them instantly want to push them away. It's affiliation to the franchise takes it down a notch since you still have to sit through the exposition that we already know at this point. It retreads reveals from the previous film and doesn't really have any of its own. We know there will be a great twist and cliffhanger (the twist is a bit more subtle in comparison to previous films but its still there) as well as the driving force for the protagonist being one of the best in the series, but the fact that its Saw means that many people will be turned off. Saw VI is sandwiched between mediocrity (Saw V) and crap (Saw: The Final Chapter...spoilers for that review I guess) and that's a shame because this is truly one of the best in the series.

Saw VI is the best out of the ones released after the initial trilogy. While the original is still surperior, there is a lot going for Saw VI. The protagonist is one of the best in the series, Hoffman is at his best here thanks to a well made and edited scene that is own of the franchise highlights, the traps are some of the best that don't go too far and stick with the more gritty theme of the originals rather than just violent for the sake of violent. This is the standard that the whole franchise should've been at but sadly the others fall short. Saw VI may win people back to the idea of Saw but IV, V and The Final Chapter will push them away. 

A much needed jump in quality that recaptures what made the original Saw films so good. Most of the elements are there for a good horror film but only the name and formula keeps it from being the best.

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