Horror Movie Review: Saw VI (2009)

If you though the franchise had been preachy before, hold on to your flesh and bones because Saw VI is the worst of the bunch. A tedious movie that goes back to basics in regards to the traps but is nothing but an exhaustive rethread of everything we’ve seen before.

The lowest-grossing film of the franchise, it seemed as though audiences had finally gotten tired of Saw. Can you blame them though? This is the sixth film in the series in six years and by this stage ‘torture-porn’ had outstayed its welcome. We’d had two Hostel movies, Wolf Creek, The Devil’s Rejects and more.

You can read our reviews of the franchise to this point below.

2004 – Saw
2005 – Saw II
2006 – Saw III
2007 – Saw IV
2008 – Saw V

Get out your Saw bingo cards, it’s time to play a game.

Opening trap? Tick! Characters who have done bad things in life? Tick! Forced to do something devastating to their body to survive? Tick!

With that out of the way, the film begins properly by showing us the ending of Saw V again. Agent Strahm is crushed as Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) watches on from his glass coffin.

Once Strahm is dead, Hoffman finds his hand survived and decides to use it to frame Strahm for the latest round of Jigsaw crimes. It seems to work as agent Erickson (Mark Rolston) finds Strahm’s fingerprints and lets Hoffman know that agent Peraz (Athena Karkanis) is still alive.

They are working together believing Strahm to still be alive and aiming to apprehend him for the crimes he is believed to have committed. However, as they continue to dig they begin to discover inconsistencies and Hoffman begins to suspect they know who he is.

The biggest and most complicated game is beginning, one that goes all the way back to the first movie and will see Jigsaw’s legacy complete. Of course, while all the ‘police’ stuff is going on, an insurance executive (Peter Outerbridge) wakes up in his own game. His links to John Kramer has landed him here and to escape he will have to decide the fate of the people he works with.

It’s his game that is the Saw throwback per-se, one man moving from trap to trap having to mutilate himself to save others but often coming up short in the end. Unlike many of the previous films, some of the traps involved here are gleefully simple too. A shotgun roundabout, a particular tension heavy event is one well worth mentioning.

The issue is with just how preachy the message is. This man is held responsible for denying sick people health coverage and his employees are held accountable alongside him. The aim here is to show just flawed the insurance/health system is in the US, which is fine. Except this is a Saw film and this kind of stance is just ham-fisted. It’s not subtle either as in a flashback, we see John Kramer delivering one of his rambling speeches about the ills of the system.

It makes the events that befall all these people seem too extreme, even for a Saw film. They’re part of the broken system, the entirety of the US medical system might as well be put in Jigsaw traps then.

The Hoffman side of the story isn’t any better either. We get a rehash of him having to cover his tracks as his colleagues and superiors get closer to his true identity but it never comes to an enjoyable conclusion. Instead it’s a battle of wits between him and John Kramer’s ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell) who is now a major player involved with her ex-husband’s work from an early stage.

This is a stretch and even though Saw VI does the usual; flashing back to reveal more, it feels far less natural here.

The Saw franchise had been taking its good will for granted over the last few films and by this stage, it is almost all gone. That it still failed to wrap up the story once and for all is perhaps the most infuriating thing of all.


  • Carl Fisher

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