After seeing how confused and convoluted the Saw franchise had gotten after the lacklustre effort that was Saw V, I didn’t think it was possible for them squeeze another one. Clearly, I underestimated the writers, who not only managed to pump out another 91 minutes of torture porn and link it to the rest of the series, but also made it surprisingly good. Well, relatively speaking anyway.
Saw VI picks up where the last one took off, and like most film franchises that have lasted this long, assume some level of prior knowledge. There are some flashbacks, but for the most part you’re left to rely on your memory to recall what the heck happened in the last two or three films. And if your memory is anything like mine, you’re likely going to be struggling to make the ‘jigsaw’ pieces fit.
Thankfully, Saw VI has a plot of its own, so it doesn’t really matter if the central storyline running through the franchise doesn’t click. Needless to say, there’s the mysterious, torturous ‘game’ with a number of unwilling (albeit deserving) participants caught up in a series of moral dilemmas, ingenious but gruesome contraptions, the obligatory plot twist, and of course, copious amounts of blood and guts.
That said, while the whole affair was rather predictable, Saw VI somehow managed to stay afloat. It would have been very easy for the film to have crashed and burned, but first-time director Kevin Greutert and regular Saw franchise writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan made the film much more intelligent and suspenseful than one would have expected. However, that doesn’t change the fact that you still know what to expect, and that’s what ultimately prevents Saw VI from being anything more than an above average episode of a declining franchise.
So, where does that leave my review of the movie? At the end of the day, Saw VI was more of the same old stuff we’ve been seeing since the very first one back in 2004. If you’ve seen the others in the series, you’ll likely be numb by now and the film just won’t have the same impact. On the other hand, if this is your first of the franchise, you won’t have a clue about the elaborate back story. Either way, it’s neither particularly good nor particularly bad.
2.5 out of 5 stars!
[PS: judging from the ending, I suppose we can expect a Saw VII next year…]