SAW 6 Review. [Way to Save the Series]

Posted by Peter Hall - October 23rd 2009 @ 3:16 pm

Directed by Kevin Greutert, 2009
Written by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton


I am not a consistent fan of the SAW series.  I love that it is a franchise, I love that it has filled the Halloween event film void that went vacant for far too long, but as far as quality goes, part 3 was the last of the entries that I enjoyed.  Part 4 had me likening the intertwining plots and bullshit twists to a Klein bottle, a hypothetical mathematical construct that works on paper, but cannot exist in the real world.  And Part 5 found me writing the least professional review I’ve ever put my name on.  And yet I am now forgiving of those two films, because SAW 6 isn’t only good, it’s good enough to make the mistakes learned on those two worth it.

It’s not just a matter of being pleasantly surprised by low expectations, either.  Gone are the ludicrous plot devices, the endless retconing that kept re-writing the Jigsaw mythos, the need to build towards some hackneyed twist.  What remains is a tightly wound story that keeps the Jigsaw tradition alive without the need to jump through holes in space and time just to keep Tobin Bell in the picture.  Sure, the gore is still there and Jigsaw still does show up in flashbacks, but the script Dunstan and Melton have written is the most restrained, linear, goal-driven backbone the series has ever had.  And though director Kevin Greutert, who has edited every single one of the prior SAW entries, has kept the staple spinning camera and boiler room lighting, his film also has more mature aspirations towards showing the ‘big picture’ of each trap, building tension by anticipation; as opposed to the last few films that were overflowing with surprises to the point of absurdity.

Basically, if you had written the series off, as I had, you’re going to be shocked at how solid of a film SAW 6 is.  The script may be a little too topical for some, as this time around the story follows the journey of a man, William (Peter Outerbridge), who devised a formula for an insurance company to project possible earnings depending on an applicant’s probability to live long enough to pay them a tidy profit, rejecting coverage to those who don’t fit that bill.  Jigsaw, who has spent 5 films explaining his twisted philosophy that life should never be taken for granted, has a bit of a problem with this, so he has arranged for William and his complacent staff to make the same kind of life-or-death decisions for each other that they make for complete strangers.

Considering Dunstan/Melton’s script would have been written right before the recent health care reform debate reared its hydra-head highest, it actually doesn’t come off as preachy as one might think reading that synopsis.  Save for a sentence or two, there’s no grand accusations that the ‘system’ needs radical changing and that Jigsaw should be Obama’s Torture Reform Czar; rather that the system is merely run by people and some of those people willfully cripple access to health care for profit, passing death sentences to other human beings in the process.  This setup finally allows the series to get back to focusing on Jigsaw’s original motivation of forcing people to come face-to-face with the moral dilemma they’ve been too glutinous to confront in the past.  That the series has moved on from helpless heroin junkies to greedy office works while still maintaining the same ideology is quite impressive.

For gorehounds the moral quandries of SAW 6 are not nearly as impressive as the gruesome setups, which are some of the best in the series thus far.  One still needs to suspend disbelief that any individual (or individuals) could meticulously engineer such intricate traps that never, ever fail to go off with perfect timing, but the kills this time around are all appropriate for the mood of the rest of the movie.  Self-mutilation has always been a requisite of the series, but this is the first time that sacrifice plays more of an important part than simply cutting yourself up to get a surgically implanted key or bleeding yourself out into a jug like some kind of twisted game of Double Dare.

Even Costas Mandylor, who has been a big part of the series for a while now, isn’t quite as flat as he used to be.  The contrast between himself and Jigsaw has never been so dynamic, which gives the series a new layer I always felt it was lacking in the past.  But the show this time around doesn’t belong to Mandylor or even Bell, but Peter Outerbridge as the insurance man dying to change.  He is a man on a terrible mission, perfectly striking the balance between greed in the beginning and raw desperation by the end.  All the other victims are solid, even if most are only ever required to look like they don’t want to lose a limb, but Outerbridge is easily given the best material to work with.  And he’s shaped the best “protagonist” the series has had since Angus Macfadyen in part 3.

Speaking of the previous entries, despite how good of a film SAW 6 is, the others are certainly a required watch before going into it.  While the film doesn’t crash between timelines, it does constantly reference things and characters that have been peppered throughout the franchise, so one needs to be at least passingly familiar with them to avoid total sensory overload.  Unfortunately that means enduring the complete mess that is 5, but at least SAW 6 is worth it.  If Dunstan and Melton are allowed to keep the script as restrained as they’ve now proven they can, I think SAW 6 is going to mark a very welcome turning point for the series.  At the very least, it no longer has me dreading the idea of going back to this well 2 or 3 more times.

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rss 47 comments
  1. October 23rd, 2009 | 4:27 pm | #1

    Wow…I still haven’t seen V. But you liked VI? That’s just shocking.

  2. saw chick
    October 23rd, 2009 | 10:28 pm | #2

    Saw 6 was a let down. I really hope they don’t end the series on that piece of shit.

  3. Noob
    October 24th, 2009 | 1:09 am | #3

    saw chick you are a stupid dumb-ass bitch. apparently you don’t care too much for the saw films because saw VI is by far the best since part III. Anybody with a fucking brain will tell you that much. V was the letdown, and VI was the entry that brought the series back up.

  4. thabest17
    October 24th, 2009 | 2:10 am | #4

    Saw 6 was great! I enjoyed it a lot and am I die hard fan. But I jus had 1 question 2 other fans. Do we not enjoy intellectual well put 2gether mystery type Saw fashion frm ALL the previous Saw’s anymore? Saw 6 seemed like it was made for new comers 2 the series. A lot of flashbacks took up valuable movie time with scenes we all shud b familier with already. No super big twists. 2 easy 2 follow. But I love saw n gneral. Gr8 movie

  5. October 24th, 2009 | 1:52 pm | #5

    “Saw 6 semmed like it was made for new comers 2 the series.”

    I’m new to the series, having only seen 1 & 2, and I felt more than a little lost at times.

  6. holly
    October 24th, 2009 | 5:25 pm | #6

    Hey Noob! I respect your oppinion but you should realize that calling saw chick a “stupid dumb-ass bitch” is not only disrespecting her oppinion but also disrespecting the saw films seeing as you’re clearly displaying selfishness and narccism as you seem to care only about your own thoughts. Lucky saw was just a movie, perhaps you would have otherwise found yourself in one of jigsaws traps. The value of life includes the value of others lives and oppinions.

  7. October 24th, 2009 | 5:29 pm | #7

    Peter, please close these comments. Thank you.

  8. Cody
    October 25th, 2009 | 1:33 am | #8

    I second Brian’s motion.

  9. liam.c
    October 25th, 2009 | 9:13 am | #9

    saw 5 wasnt bad yo find out how evry thing happened in the other films as a gore fan i think that trap with the blended pigs was a tad over kill on gore me and my mum are of on thurs to see the sixth one but were watchen all the others to recap on all the carrecters

  10. Grim1020
    October 25th, 2009 | 9:22 pm | #10

    Actualy I liked saw 1,3,4,and 5 and hated 2. My only problem with the saw is that they keep the great story bogged down in the torture porn catagory. Saw should not have to be compared to the POS that is the Hostle(oh I can’t wait to be blasted by some person who thinks their idea is right and mine is wrong)

  11. Matt J.
    October 26th, 2009 | 10:03 am | #11

    I agree Grim…I loved the 1st one…2 was ok…I have’nt watched one since 3. I felt they concentrated on the torture too much and lost the story. But i’ll have to check out 6…i’ll NetFlix it of course.

  12. Ripp
    October 26th, 2009 | 1:02 pm | #12

    This site hasn’t seen more action since the LoG – Wrath review.

  13. liquid712
    October 26th, 2009 | 6:52 pm | #13

    Any one’s can get me the subs from the movie? or the script?

  14. liquid712
    October 26th, 2009 | 6:54 pm | #14

    Please send it to: voyensk8@hotmail.com

    I’ve already watch the movie but I didn’t heard very well what they said…

  15. lucky
    October 27th, 2009 | 7:04 am | #15

    the sixth sucked, and so did 4 and 5.and i dont want to hear that getting rid of the twists are a good thing. two things make up saw, and that is the elaborate traps, and thoose nevre racking twists with that music.i give it a 4/10.

  16. October 27th, 2009 | 9:42 am | #16

    All of the Saw films had something worthwhile in them. VI isn’t the best of the lot but it’s a decent film.

    I try not to watch a film with too many expectations and just appreciate it for what it is.

  17. October 27th, 2009 | 6:18 pm | #17

    Are you guys BEEEEEEEP’n kidding me? So many haters !! It is… so very clearly, way better than 4 and 5… you can decide yourself where it belongs amongst 2 and 3. Surprised so many of you don’t like it… yet you liked some of the other sequels… frikkn odd! It’s a cam version, but I watched it online… I threw a few links up on my site to watch it streaming. Some things are free. com Only without the spaces… I like this site…good review man.

  18. peter
    October 28th, 2009 | 1:58 am | #18

    this saw-6 is a joke!!! these holloywood film makers try to promote OBAMACARE…As we all seen they bashed the insurance companies…as OBAMA did…

  19. lucky
    October 28th, 2009 | 6:49 am | #19

    this is a example of what happens when a prodocer dies and some douche comes along and tries to run a legacy. yes i will agree, that saw six has the best traps that i have ever seen, expect for the merry go round thing. i actuallay got bored there. but traps are not the only thing the public looks for when they see saw, they look for the cunning of john kramer, aka jigsaw, they look for that little tick that makes you go, holy shit, i didnt see that coming! that is what makes saw saw and not some pice of shit m night shamlyin grap. oh and what do you guys think of jigsaw vs Dr.lecter in a chess match?

  20. October 28th, 2009 | 7:38 am | #20

    #18, You’re an idiot.

  21. lucky
    October 28th, 2009 | 2:08 pm | #21

    thank you peter hall

  22. Ryan
    October 28th, 2009 | 3:51 pm | #22

    I did enjoy saw 6 cus there was a twist at the end…with the family trapped in the cage wasnt the family of the insurance guy but the family of a client who the insurance guy basically let die…..that why its better then saw 5..cause in saw 5 is was well well too predictable with how straum died

  23. Liz
    October 29th, 2009 | 4:25 pm | #23

    SAW VI was awesome. I loved it- the traps and kills were great. I think it was just as good as the first.

  24. dr_llvll
    October 31st, 2009 | 2:15 am | #24

    OH MY GOD GO WATcH it its as good as saw 1
    what a great ending with all the mysteries solved it all makes sense im blown away

  25. andyoOoCOVoOo
    October 31st, 2009 | 12:58 pm | #25

    im on the way to watch saw 6…. looking forward to it after reading the review and all you lovely comments!!!!

  26. October 31st, 2009 | 8:44 pm | #26

    im completely confused did the dude die at the end?

  27. Sponx
    October 31st, 2009 | 10:25 pm | #27

    Saw 6 was in fact a huge let down, and I really don’t see how they are going to continue this franchise if they continue on the route they are going now.

    I was a huge fan of 1, 2, and 3, and maybe some of 4.. But 5 and 6 are going down hill. They killed the whole principle of making your life meaningful.. Now its just a bunch of gore and worthless killings.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  28. James
    November 4th, 2009 | 11:49 am | #28

    I thought Saw VI was fantastic. It is the 2nd best in the series for me after Saw III. I will admit IV and V could have been a tad bit better, but I still thought those were great movies as well. I can’t wait for VII and VIII! :)

  29. Rene C.
    November 4th, 2009 | 11:15 pm | #29

    As a Saw nut, I was very hurt by how badly Saw V was (especially that cheesy intro SAW V logo!!). I felt like if VI was better than V, it was already win!

    But it was wayyy better than V. And II. And IV. Hell its as good as Saw III and I ….I think. Great ending!! A lot of the scenes were very tense!

    Although not the most surprising ending in the series, it was fast, but exciting! I loved it! I was sure Hoffy was a goner!

  30. sani
    November 9th, 2009 | 12:58 pm | #30

    very interesting movie. a worth watch.

  31. MovieMaster
    November 10th, 2009 | 3:43 am | #31

    saw 6 waz decent at best in no way is it making da series better wat the writers dont realize is to make a gud saw movie all it takes is goin bak to the simplicity dat waz da first movie and makin us the audience question wat would we do in a situation like dat i mean really all the first movie waz were 2 guys chained to a room wit a surprise twist no1 saw comin … classic now saw people r 2 obsessed wit traps n dont realize all they need is a gud story

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  33. micco
    November 28th, 2009 | 5:54 am | #33

    like an addict waiting for the next doze of saw!!! 6 was best yet 1 and 3 and i was sure that hoffman has come to end of his road..but hell no!!mind blowing story.jill was a little suprise…

  34. November 28th, 2009 | 1:55 pm | #34

    Anyone feel like the writers are just bulking up the franchise’s storyline, for example, “oh, by the way, this happened, then this, then this” in each film. I don’t know whether it’s because I leave a big gap between watching each film or what, but I find the continual ‘bulking-up’ of the flashbacks in the series slighlty confusing. HOWEVER, when it shows that the writers planned the thing like 3 films beforehand THEN that shows thought and care. Saying that, I bloody love Saw!

  35. Bob J.E.
    December 1st, 2009 | 3:49 am | #35

    Saw VI is my favorite since the first two (Saw 1 will always be my favorite!)Saw V seems to get bashed a lot but I liked it. My worst one so far would be Saw III; it was all victims and torture scenarios and no following the police investigations/revealing new back story like the others. I think each film has been an improvement over the last since III. IV was good, if a bit complicated. VI was definitely satisfying though,and I wouldn’t mind seeing one or two more SAW films, as long as they’re good. :)
    Peace out, Saw fans!

  36. adi
    December 2nd, 2009 | 10:20 am | #36

    hey u comments maker especially noob i will fuck u very soon if you next time watch this holly shit movie again ! fucccccccccccccccckkkk uuuuuuuuuuuu

  37. bob
    December 16th, 2009 | 8:04 am | #37

    lucky’s crazy watch out

  38. bob
    December 16th, 2009 | 8:43 am | #38

    so i like pie

  39. mtgirl12
    December 22nd, 2009 | 3:20 pm | #39

    I am a saw fan and i would say that the 6th movie was by far the worst in the series. The plot answered some questions which i liked and I did like that Hoffman was finally a victum in a game, but the major game played in the movie was too predictble, with no twist like each other movie and went against what saw’s original plans were. He wanted people to save their own lives and learn to appriciate life, but in this movie most of the victums had the descision whether to live or die decided by someone else and none of the surviving victums would have learned a new appriciation for life, but merely felt lucky. I also feel like in the end when hoffman survives the trap it seemed like a desperate attempt for the writers to hang on to the series to make more money by producing a 7th movie. All questions have been answered in this movie and there is no need for a 7th. They should quit while their ahead

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  41. gina
    January 12th, 2010 | 7:02 pm | #41

    Best of all 6. Glad it was made- definitely buying the dvd

  42. zach
    January 18th, 2010 | 1:48 am | #42

    these are small things that u need to have in a saw movie
    1.the awesome music
    2.a guy who doesnt kno how to work a camera so he just does random shots
    3.traps obviously
    4.a shit load of videos
    5.a bigger shit load of tapes
    6.dramactic twists
    7.a moral kind of thing at the end
    and stupid people
    withought these things saw just wouldent be saw

  43. TC
    January 21st, 2010 | 1:57 pm | #43

    Zach, if you actually ever watched any of the extras from the dvds, you’d know that the camera effect they use is deliberate and they damn well do know what they are doing…

    Looking forward to picking this up on blu-ray.

  44. daz
    February 28th, 2010 | 7:34 pm | #44

    Great review i agree with all of it. I have watched all 6 now and after no.5 i was left thinking what a load of poo please no more, but just had to watch 6 as ive put to much into watching the rest. But my word was i impressed very good and story rolled along perfectly and made you think what would i do as did the first 2. It lost its way and tried to be to clever after the 2nd and just went down hill. But this went back to basics. Really enjoyed it and now after seeing the open ended bit will definately see saw7. n1 to the director for restoring faith. Shame other follow films cant get it right eventualy.

  45. Charles
    March 20th, 2010 | 2:30 pm | #45

    Saw VI did a good job of connecting back and everything. But I felt like I was watching national health care propoganda the whole time. They should stay away from politics.

  46. Crazy B
    May 7th, 2010 | 6:21 am | #46

    cum on guys stop analyzing the films y cnt u jst watch n enjoy n if u dnt , then dnt watch it k.

  47. Brian
    October 29th, 2010 | 11:55 pm | #47

    Worst saw ever not good at all very dissapointing.

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