Saw is a franchise that has given new meaning to the term “milking it”, With the myriad of directors that have traded off the franchise I figured there had to be something wrong with the direction they were taking it in. The first Saw was a promising movie. It had brains behind its actions and just enough concentrated gore to satisfy the bloodthirsty horror fans. Saw II is perhaps, in my opinion, the most bizarre of the films. I don’t really know what to make sense of it just because there was more gore, but there wasn’t any real character development. As the franchise went on, it seemed to fluctuate. Some movies, like Saw V were burdened with plot, whereas others revelled in their bloody origins.
With Saw VI, there seems to be a happy median found. There’s definitely a lot of exposition, in fact Saw VI is probably the best at catching you up with the franchise without boring you to death, but it never bogs it down. Whereas in most instances in the other films, the gore was something that was celebrated and enjoyed. In this film, the body count is almost torturous. It’s agonizing watching this man decide who gets to live or die. However, there’s an added element to that that adds weight to the film. The man in question, William, is an insurance man.
Just when I thought that Saw was beginning to lose its edge, director Kevin Greutert injects a spark of life into it by making it something actually meaningful. As the US continues to debate over universalized health care and the health care system in general, Saw VI surprisingly enough takes a stand. While it’s unclear whether this movie was ever meant to be charged with this political meaning, it’s hard to imagine that this was inadvertent.
Now whether the film does a good job of engaging the audience in this political discussion is an entirely different story. Just like so many of the other Saw movies before it, this movie does falter as it tries to stand on its own. The examination of the perpetrators backstory is very thorough and at times, that distracts from how the events are unfolding. Nevertheless, with this added dimension of the protagonist being an insurance man and literally in charge of who lives or who dies gives weight to the deaths in the film. It satisfies the bloodlust of horror fans, but at the same time, manages to make that sort of enjoyment shameful.
As per Saw tradition, there is a twist at the end of the film which does little to add or detract from the film. It provides a strong finish for the film, but to be honest, isn’t really necessary. However, without giving it away, I will tell you that it adds insult to injury on the healthcare debate. Nevertheless, while I went into this film expecting very little more than gore and awful acting, I was pleasantly surprised. Saw seems to have found its voice and its soul again with Saw VI, it’s just a shame that it took this long.