(18) 90 min
The Saw series is as fixed in the calendar as Halloween itself (they have had a movie out every October since the series started back in 2004), and surprisingly Saw VI is the best instalment for a good while (certainly trumping the last two chapters). Part V in particular had become mired in its own mythology but part VI finally gives the Saw faithful something to sink their teeth into and Tobin Bell once again owns the roll of Jigsaw, a true horror icon.
As per usual it opens with a kicker of a trap, setting the tone for the rest of the action. The special FX work throughout the Saw series is some of the best in the industry and the traps are fiendish and well executed, providing the requisite gore we’ve come to expect. But it’s their cruel logic and Jigsaw’s twisted morality, he targets those who don’t appreciate their lives to teach them the true value of life, that gives the ‘games’ an edge beyond just bloody letting and ultra-violence.
It’s business as usual but there’s a more coherent thread drawing all the elements together compared to previous outings, the main victim being a the CO of a health insurance company (played by Peter Outerbridge) who had dealings with a pre-Jigsaw John Kramer (Bell). While the ongoing intrigue involving Jigsaw’s acolytes (particularly Costas Mandylor as Hoffman) is solidly developed.
While it’s easy to dismiss the Saw franchise as the granddaddy of the so called ‘torture porn’ subgenre, Saw VI offers more depth than the sixth instalment of any comparable long running horror series (such as Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street) and with VII (in 3D) and VIII already confirmed it looks like the puzzle will be playing out for several years to come.