The Collegian
Friday, August 14, 2020

Featured Flick: Saw VI

I mentioned the "Saw" franchise during my last critique, and as fate - and Halloween - would have it, another "Saw" movie came out last week. I waited until Saturday to see it because, well, there wasn't anything else worth watching. You couldn't drag me to the Michael Jackson thing and I definitely wasn't watching "Astro Boy" or "Cirque du Freak: the Vampire's Assistant." So that left "Saw." "Saw" on Halloween? Well, I guess it worked.

I've never been a "Saw" fanatic. The first one impressed me. Good plot, good anti-hero, good idea. The next couple sequels were like serial-killer-desensitizing tools - the gore managed to shock, not awe, and they filled in the backstory that was never really important to begin with. Then I stopped watching. John Kramer was dead, and so the creepy puppet retired to an unlit basement where it could ride its squeaky tricycle for the rest of its puppet life. But I knew better - not even the main character's death could cripple a cash cow like "Saw."

The movie wasn't horrible. Another apprentice carried out another "game" from Kramer's "Posthumous Kill Planner," this time involving a morally corrupt health insurance company. The first horrific puzzle of the film was actually pretty funny, as was the boiling lawyer scene.

But this film had some fundamental flaws that left me with really awkward unanswered questions. Who is this new guy who's setting up the games? Who are these blondes who can't act? How many abandoned, unguarded zoo complexes are there? Why are all the minorities dying? What mother lets her son pull the hydrofluoric acid switch? When did Jigsaw become the Perfect Health Nazi?

OK, so maybe I should have kept up with all of the sequels if I was going to review one. But even the creators of this movie knew there had been too many because about one-sixth of "Saw VI" was made up of flashbacks to the crappy sequels I missed, which made me happy I had missed them. Then, of course, I had to marvel at that 1980s horror movie mentality: killing off almost all of the nonwhite characters. Seriously, I think an Indian woman survived. But the contraption she was strapped to was spinning too fast to see clearly.

And when did Jigsaw start killing people who forgot to jog or ate too many hamburgers? He used to inspire people to live by forcing them to reach into a cage filled with poisonous spiders, to grab the key slowly degrading in acid that unlocked the box in the stomach of the angry bear attached to the flamethrowers roasting their spouse alive. Now he kills grandmothers who haven't taken their calcium pills this month. Oh, and he invents mazes to kill 90 percent of the participants and gives only one or two people the chance to survive. So much for knowing the value of life and inspiring the will to live that will get us through the tough times.

Also, this film lacks the intriguing twist that made us all pay $10 to watch "Saw" in the first place. During the early films, we watched people whom we might have wanted to survive try to escape their locked Iron Maidens that were strapped to a lowering conveyor belt that led to a tree shredder balanced on a bouncy ball over a room full of escaped death row convicts who got to live if they killed you. In this one, you don't really care if anyone dies because they're all crooked mortgage brokers, insurance-denying agents and lawyers. I was more worried about the audience in the theater laughing like hyenas when people playing "Ring Around the Rosie" got their brains blown out than I was about the main character's survival.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at jordan.trippeer@richmond.edu

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