Thursday, November 5, 2009

Psycho-Logical: Saw 6 Movie Review

By Joshua Bottomley

Unless you have been chained in rusty shackles and suspended upside down in an asbestos riddled warehouse for the past five years, then you are undoubtedly aware of the Saw film franchise. Judging by the box office receipts you, or someone you know, has witnessed at least one of the five previous intestine spilling installments. If you stopped watching the series because you couldn’t stomach seeing someone else’s stomach on screen then, please go check out the closest family friendly fare, but if you are or ever were a fan of the Saw films, I highly recommend revisiting Jigsaw and his toolbox of torture.

Twisted Pictures hits a home run with Saw 6. The terrible scripts, and laughable acting of the last two films gave those flicks a feeling of camp that should not be present in movies that are trying to be dark, gritty and visceral. But Saw 6 turns that on its severed head. The new characters maintain a great balance between institutionally normal and fatally frantic, and the reoccurring cast seems more at home inside their skin than ever before. The script is solid and also has a twist ending that was more satisfying than the barbed wire noose, which was totally badass.

Besides the fantastic ways in which the victims of Jigsaw’s traps are inevitably dispatched, the overarching plot of the entire series is arguably even more intriguing. What started as one small experiment in mind control and emotional anguish has unraveled into a complex web of blood and sacrifice, and the bits of back story revealed in this sixth feature are as tasty ever. The flashbacks also give the audience a chance to see more of Tobin Bell at work, a man who has become the first horror icon of the new millennium as the mad genius Jigsaw.

Along with the back story, the present day plot involves a health insurance agent that uses loopholes in the law to forfeit his client’s claims, dooming the terminally ill to death. This doesn’t sit well with the justice obsessed Jigsaw, and a game is laid out for the pencil pusher that involves brutality so over the top it makes the audience nervously chuckle in an “Oh my God I can’t believe that just happened” kind of way.

If you haven’t seen a Saw movie before you will definitely be lost by how the story weaves in and out between past and present, but it gives the new audience a reason to watch all the other films and piece together the puzzle that Jigsaw has laid out.

Visually the movie shines. Former Saw editor Kevin Greutert, is now in the director’s chair and he brings a fresh perspective to the images but retains the feel of the series, maintaining its continuity, keeping it in the same world. The special effects look more real than ever, frighteningly so. And the soothing sound of blades cutting into flesh followed by guttural screams in 5.1 surround sound in a symphony of snuff is absolutely nauseating, but in a good way.

Saw 6 is a great time at the movies. The film expands on the saga’s original premise and it also bulks up on the bloodshed. Not only a 90-minute torture simulation, Saw 6 is a lesson in criminal justice, insurance plans and human anatomy. It does not paint a pretty picture, but like mom always said, “It’s whats on the inside that counts.” With Saw 6, you get to see what those insides look like too.

Go see Saw 6 and keep the game alive this Halloween.

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