Hello, all, and welcome back to my retrospective of the Saw franchise. Today sees the final installment that we'll need to watch from home before Saw 3D hits theaters this weekend. And it's a pretty crazy installment.
And I mean that in more than one sense.
So... spoiler alert!
There will be spoilers for extremely plot-sensitive details from the previous Saw movies. If you have not seen the previous five installments of the franchise, turn back now and watch them before reading the review. You can't say I didn't warn you when your franchise is spoiled.
With that said, let's go into today's movie...
William Easton (Peter Outerbridge) is the head of a health insurance company that Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) went to when he was being treated for his cancer. William denied Jigsaw said coverage for a revolutionary new cancer treatment. Now that he is dead, Jigsaw throws William into the midst of a game of his own where he must put his own faulty healthcare policies to the test. All this goes on while we take a look at Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and Amanda (Shawnee Smith) while Jigsaw's ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell) becomes involved in Jigsaw's will in a way she doesn't want.
Okay, so let's get started.
Well, the choice of having a health insurance man there brings to point an especially big anvil for this movie; namely, that health care in America is ineffective. It honestly gets to the point where it feels a little anvillicious sometimes, and it can distract from the overall plot of the movie as a result. This does not bode well, although I can see why the message is there given that it was first released in the middle of a gigantic health care debate that was raging at this time last year.
Fortunately, everything else is back in action. The games in this installment almost all guarantee that someone's gonna get fucked up badly given that it makes one person choose between other people and who should die and who should live, much in lieu of the health care message. The gore is extremely well done, though it still does distract a little bit from the tension being built throughout.
But unlike the previous installments, we get to see what is going through William's head as he makes these decisions on who lives and who dies. The characters are given backstories and other things to help flesh them out as victims of something greater, and it gives us reasons to care about the characters. It also goes into enough detail to give us William's motivations as to why he spares the people he spares. All this helps us get a return glimpse into the suffering that the franchise started out with, and as such the movie doesn't feel like it falls in line with the torture porn reputation the other movies had.
It's this return to form that makes Saw VI one of the better installments of the series. The healthcare message is distracting and the gore can be as unsettling as ever, but apart from that it's a return to form that manages to elevate this installment above the others.
If you want to go see it, go see it. If you don't want to go see it, don't.
Okay, so... Heading into the weekend, my thoughts?
Well... it's starting to get a little more convoluted from here on out, but I get the feeling that the next installment will see very decreased input from Jigsaw and a lot more involvement from Hoffman's side of things. See, it was revealed in this installment that Hoffman was more of an asshole than initially believed; he blackmailed Amanda into doing her actions from Saw III (which I hold against the movie since it partly retcons a lot of the thematic development present in that installment), and he's just a jerk. I imagine the traps will only get more intense at the end of the franchise as a result, so... We'll see what happens plotwise.
All I can say, though, is this: thank God they decided to condense the last two installments into one. Yeah, there were originally supposed to be two installments after this. Thank goodness Paranormal Activity came in and said "uh, no, we're not gonna let you get away with that". To be perfectly honest, the decision to condense Saw VII and Saw VIII makes quite a bit of sense from a story view; I think it's a very ill-informed decision to stretch the resolution of this whole thing out across two movies; it's probably better to pack it into one movie, as it can stretch the pacing way too thin for a lot of people's tastes.
As for the traps? Some of them look absolutely insane from what we see of the trailers. I'll be hard-pressed to admit it, but one of the things I've really liked about this franchise is its ingenuity in its traps. Not what they do to people, mind you, but what they mean. It's something I've been noticing quite a bit as the franchise has gone on, so I'll talk about it once I've seen the whole franchise.
As for the 3D? Well, I'll be willing to give this one a chance for that, seeing how this installment was apparently filmed in 3D instead of using that idiotic post-production process. This is a bit of a relief, although I will still try to see if I can't see this installment in 2D.
But other than that? I'm looking forward to seeing how this franchise ends.
This is Herr Wozzeck Reviews, at the sunset of the Sixth Day of Sawdom. I'll see you guys next time, and I hope you'll join me on the Seventh Day of Sawdom when I review Saw 3D.