Director: Kevin Greutert
Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, William Easton, Samantha Lemole
This review by Ashleigh Walmsley
In 2004, writer and director Leigh Whannell and James Wan created Jigsaw, the inexplicable ‘saviour’ of all those who’ve taken their lives for granted. Little did they know, this creation would become one of films most memorable, and successful horror icons, spawning five sequels, a rollercoaster and merchandise to fulfil a horror fan’s wet dream. Five years down the line, and we have ‘Saw VI’ – helmed by editor-turned-director Kevin Greutert.
Picking up where the fifth left, ‘Saw VI’ follows Detective Hoffman (Mandylor), now rid of Special Agent Strahm and the only supposed successor to Jigsaw’s legacy, setting up – once again – a trap which will test the lives of certain hopefuls, all the while dealing with the FBI who, unbeknownst to him, have grown suspicious.
Being a fairly big fan of horror films – ranging from those raw classics released in the 70’s to the undeniably unoriginal dumbed-down remakes we’ve grown so accustomed to -, I’ve followed the ‘Saw’ franchise from the very beginning. I’ve watched it go from strength-to-strength-to-mediocre, and then hit the stumbling block, forcing the franchise to turn into a nonsensical array of brutal sequences, with almost no plot development – leaving the never-ending wrath of Jigsaw unexplained. The fifth was, undoubtedly, one of the most pointless horror films I’ve ever had a chance to come across. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a typical ‘Saw’ film. So I, like many fans of the franchise, had lost all hope for the sixth entry, and to my surprise, it actually turned out rather good.
Despite it’s rather implausible premise, ‘Saw VI’ tackles Jigsaw’s latest ‘outing’ with a firm grip, opening the film with a memorable and sincerely sick sequence, and doesn’t let go until the final act where not all, but a partial piece of the plot from films one to four is explained. As Detective Hoffman deals with the FBI, we’re left with the poor souls stuck in the traps they’ve been left in, which – brilliantly – are some of the most creative and demented of the series (The Carousel Trap, especially, taking a more personal approach). Similar to the previous entries, the sequences involving Jigsaw’s cleverly thought traps are fantastically shot, building the intensity with every scream, all thanks to director Greutert. His clear enthusiasm, and understanding, of the franchise without a doubt helped ‘Saw VI’ – unlike David Hackl who, to me, had the potential to ruin it with the fifth entry.
I was also very surprised at the fairly unknown actors who starred. Costas Mandylor, William Easton, Samantha Lemole, and, of course, Tobin Bell (Despite his character, Jigsaw, having died three films ago). Despite suffering from a sometimes-undeveloped script, they each carried the film well. There’s even a surprise cameo by a ‘Saw’ favourite.
By no means am I saying the film is perfect, it’s not at all. But coming from how ‘Saw V’ left of, ‘Saw VI’ is a vast improvement. Returning to it’s original roots, Kevin Greutert has given us an entry into the series so promising that I’m surprisingly glad a seventh has been announced – and in eye-popping 3D! Lets hope Dr. Gordon makes an appearance in the, so-called, final chapter.