Horror Marathon: Saw VI (2009) #horror #Saw #SawVI #Franchise

Moving along with quite well with the Saw franchise and we are at the 6th movie. Its becoming wildly apparent that this is one long story that can’t be really reviewed by part however, we will try.

Lets go!

Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Director: Kevin Greutert

Cast: Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Mark Rolston, Betsy Russell, Peter Outerbridge, Shawnee Smith, Athena Karkanis

Agent Strahm is dead, and FBI agent Erickson draws nearer to Hoffman. Meanwhile, a pair of insurance executives find themselves in another game set by Jigsaw.-IMDB

NOOO!!! Scott Patterson’s Agent Strahm is dead. He was my highlight in the last two movies. At least he died pretty epicly, sort of.

I never thought that I would say this at this point in the franchise but the sixth movie breathed some life back into the franchise. However, since the last two movies, I haven’t been able to watch any of the first victims/games because its just incredibly disgusting. Gore and torture porn doesn’t normal bother me a lot but its probably the watching back to back of them that has caused a decrease tolerance. So, I was pretty nauseous in that first part because the sound effects made me also imagine what was going on and I have one outrageous imagination. And actually because of that beginning, I went into this sixth one quite bitter and angry for this opening direction. Lets just say I’m fed up of the gore which doesn’t make sense because this is what I had originally thought Saw franchise was all about.

Saw VI

To be fair, Saw VI is quite good. In terms of the direction of the story, it starts lining up with Jigsaw’s last game in his will and reveals the answer as to other person or people involved. The question at this point (and before) is always how do these people caught in the game relate to Jigsaw? How did they meet and what bad things have these people done? Jigsaw’s captives are rarely people who have done nothing and here is where this film excels. The story itself highlights Jigsaw’s mentality in spades about the morality and ethics. The backstory of everyone’s involvement is what links all the movies together but this story really brings out the why for Jigsaw’s action especially when his mantra is cherish your life and yet the guy caught in the game is stuck in making decisions to essentially use his formula on the people he knows and make him question his choices. What I did like the best was actually the way Saw VI manages to keep its tension and momentum and really keep us guessing to the end which was quite a twist. Good job on the switch in director to Kevin Greutert who seems take the gore a little too seriously still manages to balance it well enough in the psychological department to make it work.

Saw VI

While I do praise this instalment and had a good bit of enjoyment from it, which is surprising considering I was angry at it when the movie started, there are still flaws. It mostly goes down to our character making predictable choices. However, it might just fall into how well we know Jigsaw’s puzzle concepts particularly under time crunch blended with the guy in the game who does a decent performance. Or maybe, its just my expectations are so low that it didn’t matter anymore so there was more enjoyment because of that.

Overall, Saw VI does a decent job here. It makes the The Final Chapter (which we know is a lie since theres a new movie out in a week or so) a little more promising. How will they end it?

Did you watch Saw VI? 

Horror Marathon: Saw IV (2007)

And we continue…

If you look at my Letterboxd diary, you will see that it continued with quite a gap before I decided to jump back into the franchise. For obvious reasons if you’ve read the review for 2 and 3. However, I committed to this so why not? It can’t really get worse than how odd the story got for previous franchises I’ve covered. After Saw III though, where could it go? Thats the main question I have.

Lets check it out!

Saw IV (2007)

saw IV

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Lyriq Bent, Athena Karkanis

Despite Jigsaw’s death, and in order to save the lives of two of his colleagues, Lieutenant Rigg is forced to take part in a new game, which promises to test him to the limit. – IMDB

Saw III ended with the death of our villain here. In fact, the entire ending is the type of dumb BS ending that I can’t stand so you can see how I wasn’t eager to jump back into the franchise.

Its getting increasingly hard to hash out these reviews. Saw feels like with each entry that they are very similar in concept. I do get that its the mentality of Jigsaw. In the fourth one, it seems like he isn’t only trying to find someone to pick up his task and his big elaborate plans but we see a much deeper look into how Jigsaw became who he was as the FBI sent it, Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) and Agent Perez (Athena Karkanis) follow the clues to try to track down Agent Riggs who has been sent on his own mission to save Eric Matthews who turns out to be alive. This angle is a good one to be fair. Jigsaw was a mystery and its nice to see John Kramer, the human version before he became this crazy killer. The way this one ends, its pretty certain that there will be a follow-up as we already know there is, unlike how the third ended and you wondered whether it was just a trilogy and meant to end there.

Saw 4

Saw IV dropped down a little the disgusting scenes. It still had some pretty cruel traps however, this was a test for Lieutenant Riggs (played by Lyriq Bent) who we’ve seen in the last two movies and it was his test. At the same time, it makes us wonder who is now behind this mess since Jigsaw is pretty much dead or else you know, the events of the ending of the last one wouldn’t have happened. Regardless, the test did make sense for Riggs and particularly for his parts, and the whole finding Matthews and that really does come together. Even who has now picked up the reigns after Jigsaw is pretty obvious if you look at the clues that the movie puts out in front of you. Its pretty in your face although it does have those scenes that mesh itself together so it can also be waved as just a scene shift continuity thing (or whatever you call it). Plus, the ending of that trap was pretty awesome in the sense that I never expected that is how it would turn out in terms of Riggs and his test and saving Matthews.

The new players of the franchise, since the last Saw had a few exit, is Agent Strahm and Agent Perez (as I mentioned above). After Gilmore Girls, it seems Scott Patterson went ahead and joined into the Saw franchise for a little bit. This is his entry point. I love Scott Patterson because of his character Luke in Gilmore Girls however, in some hints when Agent Strahm gets angry and frustrated, its really still Luke just in a different context. And that is what makes it pretty awesome for me because the best parts of the movie was when he was talking to Jill Tuck (played by Betsy Russell) who is the ex-wife of John Kramer, aka Jigsaw and we dive into their past. Those parts helped give Jigsaw context and it was what added a foundation making Jigsaw actually more human as despite the extreme he took it, there was a reason behind this. Its smart to bring new players to a franchise and expand on the backstory.

Overall, I can’t say that I’m particularly a huge fan of Saw IV. It had its solid moments that truly did redeem itself. I do say that Saw franchise has this pattern and its starting to make it hard to watch a ton in advance before I review because it just meshes all together. I think that makes a point of how it lacks originality as other than making new intricate traps and new tests, its really formulaic. The new characters breathe some new life to it and its in these characters and dialogue where it shines. Saw IV is a tiny step back up from Saw III. Its kind of near the Saw II rating (at least that is my score for Letterboxd). Three more movies to go in the franchise (or 4 if I see the upcoming Jigsaw out depending on schedule) and there is somewhat of a redemption in this one for myself so at least I’m a little more eager to see Saw V.

Have you seen Saw IV?

Horror Marathon: Saw III (2006)

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadian friends! 🙂

We continue our horror marathon with the next Saw entry, Saw III. At this point of the franchise, I went into this not exactly sure where it will go. The second one was lackluster and the first was really good. However, this is still at the helms of the sequel’s director so lets just say expectations weren’t particularly high.  Let’s just jump right in!

Saw III (2006)

Saw III

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, Dina Meyer, Lyriq Bent

Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor named Lynn denlon to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen named Jeff through a brutal test. Lynn has to keep jigsaw alive until Jeff completes the test or else Lynn will die – IMDB

Saw III takes a turn with a really different vibe. At this point, if you haven’t read the last two, this one is going to have certain spoilers relating to the flow of the story. In the previous one, we’ve learned that Jigsaw has an apprentice in the one girl that has escaped in the first one, Amanda Young. Jigsaw is on his death bed and both him and Amanda are trying to keep him alive in this last elaborate trap/redemption for a man who has lost his child and lives in mourning. However, Saw III takes a different approach as it has very much a more gory and disgusting choice in its scenes than the first two. There are some truly gut-wrenching scenes in particular one death scene. Saw III so far is the weakest of the three so far in the franchise and that comes with somewhat of a lackluster build-up even if its ending tries very hard to be clever to link back events and characters to make it find its worth.

Saw III

Saw III, like the previous ones, takes us on two primary storylines. One is of Jeff and the other of the psychological battle of the doctor kidnapped to try to make sure Jigsaw survives. Since I enjoy these Jigsaw bits more and through his conversation, understanding his character a little more, this part is the stronger part, however, it does feel so pointless at parts because it focuses on Amanda Young who seems to have this toxic relationship with Jigsaw (but then, Jigsaw is a pretty toxic character with some warped sense of life), whereas she seems to be a very extreme character leading her to some of the tense moments while seeing how she is also weak. In fact, Shawnee Smith does a decent job at this character. The fault might be in the writing being slightly convoluted in showcasing her character as Amanda Young.

Saw III

On the other hand, Jeff’s storyline leads us to most of the gory parts as he needs to face one obstacle after the next. These obstacles are truly a psychological battle as Jigsaw tests his stubbornness of holding onto his grief and not letting go to continue to see what he has and be grateful for those things. It all seems like such an obstacle because in the first one, there is  a connection for the people he’s captured. This one, we wonder why he’s captured him. I mean, Jigsaw is a pretty intricate man. He picks his victims with purpose. Instead, here we see a lot of pieces lined together from the opening scenes and such to picking Jeff. Of course, Jeff is a character that is battling with his own emotions however, it feels so dull to keep watching him go through one person to the next that could have been responsible for his child’s death not having justice or treated correctly, etc.

To be fair, Saw III does pull the story together at the end. Just like the second one, the ending is its strength however, it hardly justifies the very lackluster beginning and middle sections that only try to make us wonder in dumb dialogue and gory and disgusting moments. Saw III is one that I didn’t enjoy a lot. It had a clever ending and for that, it did take me by surprise slightly although at a certain part, I had started piecing everything together. However, it is my least favorite till now.

That’s for for this review! Did you see Saw III?
Saw III makes worry about where the next one will go. At least there’s Scott Patterson, right?