Unreal Movie Review: Saw VI


If it’s Halloween, it’s Saw. That’s not my opening for this review, it’s the official tagline of the Saw series now, as they understand that they’ve successfully created a brand synonymous with the year’s most fun holiday. Not bad for a few drums of fake blood and a dump truck full of scrap metal.

Is there really any point in complaining that this series is still going? There’s no stopping it. It’s like bitching at the tornado whirling down your street. Instead of talking about how lame it is that it’s there, just head to your basement and wait until it’s over.

But some of us are tornado chasers, and every year we turn out to see just what madness this year’s installment will bring. Even though we usually know what to expect, the constant question of “where the hell do they go from here?” is just too pressing for us to ignore.

So where were we in this carnage-filled soap opera? Jigsaw protégé Hoffman has just killed good cop Peter Strahm and attempted to frame him for all the post-death Jigsaw killings that he himself committed. Meanwhile Jigsaw’s surprisingly young and hot wife, Jill, receives a box from her husband in his will, which tells her that she and Hoffman are to carry out his “final” game after his demise (final my ass).


“There’s a bomb in your shirt, and it will explode if you don’t take it off right now.”

But above all else, this is the year that Saw got unapologetically and unironically….political.

This movie is about health care corruption. Yes, one of the added benefits of having a movie made every year is that you get to keep up with current events, and it turns out that Jigsaw is a big fan of the single-payer system. The main player of Jigsaw’s game this season is a health insurance executive, hell bent on denying coverage for sick individuals as often as it saves him a penny. One such individual was Jigsaw, who was turned down by the man to his face for the experimental cancer treatment he needed, and well, we all know how that went.

Now, you would think that watching the news and seeing that practically even the metermaids who gave Jigsaw parking tickets when he was alive are being captured and killed, you might suspect that you were on the short list to wind up drugged and chained to something. But nope, Mr. Insurance is happy as a clam, and he and his team are busy humming away canceling policies left and right, when Jigsaw finally comes for them, in the form of Hoffman.

I may not care for the character of Hoffman too much, but goddamn does he have a work ethic. Now with Jigsaw and Amanda dead, he has to set up an entire abandoned zoo full of mechanical traps that would take a full team of day laborers at least six months to complete, and on top of that, has to kidnap no less than FOURTEEN different people to set up the game in the span of what, a weekend?


“Only a dozen more to go! Christ, can’t we outsource this part to like Colombians or something?”

So Mr. Insurance wanders through the maze, and must decide whether the people from his office he encounters along the way get to live or die, and whether or not he’s willing to sacrifice himself to save them. There are a few hard-hitting points about the corrupt state of the insurance agency here, as yes, the point is well taken that the man must now LITERALLY choose who lives or dies as they writhe in agony right in front of him, but at this point, Jigsaw has kind of lost most of his credibility. Why?

Listen to this tape made for the office janitor he has strung up for Mr. Insurance in order to prove a point:

(Jigsaw voice) “Eduardo, you are a middle-aged man who continues to smoke despite the fact that you’re fat and will probably get heart disease. You do not appreciate your life and must pass this test which conveniently has you holding your breath in order not to die.”

Alright, so that’s a rough translation, but you get the idea. Jigsaw has severely lowered the bar for what it takes to be “taught a lesson” as in addition to killing a man for smoking, he kidnaps a “reporter who writes stories of sensationalism” and a file clerk who “is a loner with no family or friends.” Really, you’re killing people over media ethics and loneliness now? Good lord man. It’s like if Dexter starting abducting and butchering jaywalkers. What? They broke the law, they had it coming!


“You dare to practice law? I sentence you to death by hotplate!”

Every year since we watched his throat slit in Saw III, we wonder just how Jigsaw is going to come back this time around, and in VI, it’s the typical heaping helping of flashbacks, with a few hallucinatory daydreams thrown in. It’s gotten to the point where quite literally 25% of the movie is clips from the other movies, and I predict that by Saw X, they’ll take an entire year off to just release an hour and a half long recap.

That being said, unlike the mostly brainless Saw V, Saw VI has a good number of the typical Saw twists and turns that makes the series (usually) worth watching. I think they killed off Jigsaw a bit too early, as I honestly don’t know how much more they can beat his dead corpse at this point, but at the time, I doubt they had a dozen sequels in mind when they did that.

Hoffman is just not a worthy villain. He’s brutal yes, as are the games he sets up, but much like every character in this series other than Jigsaw, he’s completely uninteresting and unsympathetic. And on the other side of the law, we’ve gone through so many cops, detectives and FBI agents at this point, they’re all blurring together. And since none of them ever survive more than two movies, we have to keep starting over with a fresh batch we don’t care about every two years.

I honestly have no problem with Saw movies continuing to be made. Even a bad Saw movie is better than practically any horror remake, revamp or re-imagining released these days (looking at you, Halloween and Friday the 13th), and if nothing else, it’s amazing to watch the film jump through various plot hoops to keep itself alive after all these years.

You have to realize that the Saw series is just a TV show that happens to be release on the big screen every year, rather than showing a few episodes a fall on HBO. When you look at it like that, nine total hours of Saw doesn’t seem like that much stacked up to 24 hours of True Blood or 60 hours of The Sopranos.

See you next Halloween.

2.5 out of 5 stars


“And remember to tell your Senator to vote for the public option.”

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  1. I’m glad someone finally gave “Saw” a fair shake. This article is VERY well written and I agree 90%…the other 10% is because I actually VERY MUCH enjoy The Hoffman character, he’s such an asshole and the perfect antithesis to Jigsaw. I’m glad someone besides me said Saw was a TV show on the big screen. Great article and I’ll see you next Halloween.

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