Thursday, October 7, 2010

Saw VI

Directed by Kevin Greutert.
2009. Rated R, 92 minutes.
Tobin Bell
Costas Mandylor
Betsy Russell
Mark Rolston
Peter Outerbridge
Athena Karkanis
Shawnee Smith
Samantha Lemole

Yeah!!! The crowning jewel of the torture porn empire gives us installment number six. Just in case you’ve no clue what the series is about, let me help. Jigsaw (Bell) is a twisted soul who borrows much from the philosophy of John Doe of the movie Seven. Jigsaw finds people he feels are evil or take life for granted, kidnaps them and puts them in “games” that are nearly impossible to survive in order to teach them a lesson. Of those that do manage to make it out with their lives are usually maimed for their efforts. He’s also stricken with an undeniably fatal form of cancer and has actually been dead for the last couple movies. However, being the Tupac of cinematic nutjobs, he keeps posthumously releasing previously unused material, commanding others to do his bidding from beyond the grave.

At the risk of spoiling the previous entry, I have to tell you that Detective Hoffman (Mandylor) is now administering the games and carrying out Jig’s pre-death orders. Much to Hoffman’s chagrin, he has to work with Jill (Russell), the old man’s widow. Even worse, his co-workers seem painfully close to figuring this whole thing out.

This time around, the person Jigsaw decides is in need of a lesson is William Easton (Outerbridge). He’s one of the top dogs at a health insurance company. He also takes great pride and joy in denying as many claims as possible. Of course, this acquits both the government and corporate America in the fight over health care to some degree but, let’s move on.

Unlike most franchises that are fortunate, or unfortunate enough to make it to part six, the story is still fascinating. Better yet, it is a definite improvement over part five. Though it strains a bit and relies heavily on the use of flashbacks, the saga is still developing in an interesting manner. True, the flashbacks are a gimmicky way to keep the main character, and a few others involved, and they’ve added the never-really-slick trick of bringing someone back from the dead (not Jigsaw, thankfully). Still, both are done well and add to the proceedings. The prerequisite twist at the end also works and there are actually two of them. The one involving the insurance man is the much better of the two, but the other is solid. The latter is also more important to continuing the franchise. Yes, Saw VII…ahem…Saw 3D will hit theaters, shortly.

Then, there are the games. They are still the inventive, nasty and downright heinous affairs we’ve come to love. For instance, the game that opens the movie takes a quite literal interpretation of sacrificing a pound of flesh. Blood and guts is the calling card of the series and this version does not disappoint. It is certainly not for the squeamish.

Saw VI delivers what a Saw movie is supposed to. Just by doing that, it places the series among the greatest horror franchises of all time. By the time they reached this point, the Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Child’s Play franchises had become parodies of themselves, comedies built around a string of murders. The Halloween movies were just plain dreadful. And I haven’t even mentioned such dreck as Leprechaun and Police Academy. Wait, what? Police Academy 6: City Under Seige wasn’t a horror flick? Says you.

Anyhoo, each movie in the Saw series is still linked to the one before it, where the movies in those other franchises became stand alone entries that just happen to feature the same villain with the same M.O. It’s still well written, at least for the genre. It still gives us a twist we might not see coming. And believe it, or not, it can still make us cringe at the decisions characters are forced to make in the face of their own mortality as well what happens to them if they make the wrong choice.

The Opposite View: Bob Grimm, Tuscon Weekly

What the Internet Says: 6.2/10 on (10/7/10), 42% on, 30/100 on

MY SCORE: 6.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment