The saw franchise is proving to be quite a survivor. A strong first part that was succeeded by sequels that became less interesting with a new installment the Saw franchise still rakes in enough money to warrant another sequel the following year. What is most surprising is that the Saw franchise sticks to its formula tighter than others in the horror genre did. Even Friday the 13th had more development in the six movies than the saw franchise which basically delves deeper in Jigsaw’s last months before he died every movie. This one is no different and has somebody else take Jigsaw’s place after Amanda unsuccessfully tried: Detective Hoffman.
Saw starts off basically the same as all the other Saw movies, with a couple of victims stuck in a Jigsaw trap. This time a couple of people who lend money to people who will be unable to pay it back in the end and who’s property they will be claiming. Jigsaw apparently was very skilled in predicting economics as this movie is set in 2004 while open season on credit-creepos started in late 2008. For those wondering where I got the 2004 from: all the Saw movies are linked to each other in a very small time-space. Most of them just before or after Jigsaw’s death, so when Saw VII will reach the screen it will take place in 2005 most probably. Saw a contemporary piece, who would have thought that?
Did I tell you the opening-scene refers to Shakespeare? The whole pound of flesh thing comes straight from The Merchant Of Venice. Somehow horror-movies that try to be more than what they are always refer to great historic figures and their writings. The A Nightmare On Elm Street movies used a quote by people like Nietzsche more than once.
After the opening the writers take on another accepted evil: insurance companies, or to be more precise health care insurance. The people that have denied Jigsaw treatment for his cancer find themselves all to be victims to his sadistic games. Their boss and guy who gave Jigsaw the news personally that they won’t be funding his treatment stars in this game which will end in a lot of bloodshed.
The problem with the Saw movies is that the more sequels are released the harder it is for them to stand alone. The movies are becoming more and more intertwined and a lot of Saw VI consists out of flashbacks from earlier movies. While the first two movies could very well stand alone, the events after that are constantly recurring as this movie refers back to installments III to V on multiple occasions.
While the original Saw actually had few gruesome scenes the sequels depend on them in a way. The opening scene alone had people amputating their own arm or cutting away at their belly. What disturbs me is that they do this basically immediately after Jigsaw spoke his message. In the original Dr. Gordon started sawing off his foot after hours of being locked up and being aware that his wife and child were about to be killed. That does something to a man (or woman), you don’t chop your arm off within a minute after someone has left you a message that you will die… but hey, maybe that’s me because extreme situations call for extreme actions!
The rest of the movie is rather tame for Saw standards. People get killed but and there are the traps but the violence isn’t as graphic and gruesome as one might expect. Saw probably hit an all time high (or low depending on your opinion) with the sawing in two of one’s hand in the previous movie (or was it Saw IV, I just can’s tell them apart no more) and this movie definitely takes it a notch down, except for the opening.
If you like the Saw franchise this movie will not disappoint. If you don’t, well chances are you won’t be reading this text anyway. It has the same look, it still has Jigsaw, it has traps, it has kills, it has everything we got from the previous 5 movies and nothing more.