Saw VI (2009)

Saw VIReviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Shawnee Smith, Shauna MacDonald, Devon Bostick

Directed by Kevin Gruetert

Somewhere within the Saw universe’s ridiculously convoluted back story is a film showing how the dying “Jigsaw Killer” John Kramer (Tobin Bell) won the lottery, set up corporate offices, and hired legions of worker elves to build a “torture district” the size of Disneyland. It would be a helluva lot more entertaining than watching his uber-secret second protégé (Mandylor, Mandylor, Costas Mandylor) tiptoe around the events of the previous films, which was all that the abysmal Saw V really had to offer.

But if you can suspend your disbelief and get over the standard “cover-our-tracks flashbacks,” Saw VI will satisfy all your blood cravings. Not only does this entry get the series back on track, it’s also the most engaging and well crafted entry to date. No kidding.

With slick, confident direction by series editor Kevin Greutert and a clever script by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, Saw VI plays out like Michael Moore’s House of Horrors. Targeting the controversial U.S. health care system, Jigsaw’s game incorporates all the players of the greedy insurance company that denied him the coverage that would have spared his life from cancer. It’s a provocative concept, especially for the sixth entry in a deteriorating franchise, but the gamble pays off in the end. This slant makes Saw’s signature traps and moral dilemmas more twisted and topical than ever before.

Saw VIReviewing a Saw film is always difficult since going into any detail about the tricks and twists would be criminal (and that’s what these movies live for). But within the first few minutes, it’s clear Greutert’s skills as an editor give this series the focus it needed from the very beginning. Everything about Saw VI feels more organic and cohesive than all the previous entries (although casual viewers may still find themselves lost during a couple of revelations) with traps that are some of the most brutal and inventive of the series.

Of course, Tobin Bell delivers another knock-out performance, but it’s Mandylor – who is finally given something to do this go-around – who in the end earns his wings as a threatening new successor to Jigsaw.

Even when it becomes a slave to the franchise’s ever-convoluted continuity, Saw VI is able to stand on its own as a wild and brutal thrill ride. Hats off to the creative team for finally injecting some much needed life-blood into a franchise we’ve all but written off.

Game over? Not by a long shot.


4 out of 5

Can’t wait to sing “Mandylor … Mandylor … COSTAS MANDYLOR!”?
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  • Rottenjesus

    Anyone want to take bets on when we hear the news that SAW VIII is already being written?

  • LifeMi

    Just got back from seeing it. I thought it was unquestionably better than the other sequels and I came very close to actually liking it. In the end, though, it just didn’t make the cut; right when I thought I was getting into it, the lack of character development ripped me back out of it and I am so fucking sick of all the flashback crap to previous films, although the scenes between William and Jigsaw are very good. It’s got its moments and Mandylor is quite good, but it just falls short of being a good movie. Oh well.

  • Gus Bjork

    I’m no Saw fan but I’m somewhat tickled about health care insurers being put into survival traps.

  • The Unknown Murderer

    So some of YOU are responsible for keeping this film series alive! I was wondering who’d been watching these movies.

    Not me. I stopped at two. But I’m a Friday fan, so I can’t complain.

  • Nomad

    Didn’t like it at all. Tedious drama dominates a giant portion of the movie, the topical health care angle is extremely forced, the “traps” are uninspired and there is no one to root for at all, save some innocents that are locked into the traps as well.

    • arandomthought

      mind giving us a review as well? 2 opposing reviews would be nice:D

    • nonserviam03

      Hmm… I’m willing to bet the next DFF will be rather entertaining.

  • nonserviam03

    God damn it. I was hoping I could just skip this one in theaters. I guess now I need to see it.

  • Didn’t See It Coming

    Shit, now I have to watch Saw V…

  • DavidFullam

    Damn, this must really break the 4th wall.

  • MagusMaleficus

    Woah, fuck me… Guess I’m going to see this bitch this weekend.

  • pepper

    I am glad to hear this, too. I had a vested interest in this one because I faithfully watched Scream Queens (because of James Gunn) and was really happy to see Tanedra win. The series kind of lost me lately and I was hoping for some redemption!

  • PelusaMG

    I had a sneaky suspicion that this might be one of the better sequels…

  • arandomthought

    Good to hear, I may actually see this one in theatres.