Sunday, October 29, 2017

Movie Review: Saw VI

Jigsaw returns for the sixth time to further the horror story and continue the gruesome conquest of punishing those the killer deems guilty in terrible ways. Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) carries on the legacy of John Kramer (Tobin Bell) but he has to work harder to cover his tracks. Dan Erikson (Mark Rolston) leads the FBI investigation though he has a misguided belief that a former agent is guilty. He kept it a secret that Agent Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis) had survived a Jigsaw attack back in the fourth film. John's ex-wife Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) holds on to a box of Kramer's last wishes but hands over the folders inside when Hoffman demands them. This installment is about Jigsaw continuing his revenge even after he has died.

William Easton (Peter Outerbridge) is the focus of this film's terrifying puzzle. He is attacked in his office and wakes up attached to a breathing machine. His decisions at the health insurance company have resulted in people dying so his first task is to hold his breath against a chronic smoker or whoever breaths will have their abdomen squeezed. William makes it out of this test but has to continue forward or explosive bracelets and anklets will explode his limbs. He also must continue forward because his family is held in a cage with a tank of acid above it. It looks like an abandoned zoo and his next step is in a glass observatory. He must choose between his older secretary with her family or a lonely intern. He chooses the intern to die by releasing a chain that makes the young man hang by barbed wire. His third task is to help a lawyer through a maze by stopping steam jets but in the process, he'll get burned. He helps the lawyer through but balks when she tries to cut a key out of his side. A device goes off ripping open her skull. 

Hoffman has to continue to carry out Jigsaw wishes and assist in the investigation, which is closing in on the true identity of the killer. Flashbacks show how Hoffman helped Kramer to lift the bodies and prepare for his death. Kramer begged William Easton to allow him to take an experimental treatment but the insurance executive refused to pay for this cure that is outside the bounds of the policy. Pamela Jenkins (Samantha Lemole) is an investigative journalist who wrote a book on John Kramer's life. She tries to interview his wife Jill but is turned away and attacked in the hallway only to wake up in a cage with acid hanging above her. William's final task is a carousel of his six best policy readers who have a shotgun aimed at one of them when it stops. William must choose two save two of them and let the rest die. He makes his decision and moves tot he final cage.

The family of a man who William turned down for money is in one cage while Pamela Jenkins, William's sister is in the other. The wife can't decide but the man's son pulls the lever which shoots down needles into his back that inject acid. Hoffman is nearly caught by Agent Perez and Erikson but kills them both and returns to his monitors of the awful trap. Jill kept one last envelope and carries out the instructions to add one last test for Hoffman. The cop turned serial killer manages to dull the effects of the trap and only rips off apart of his cheek. Hoffman had foiled some of Jigsaw's plans because of his knowledge of what Amanda had done to Kramer's wife. The sixth film, like the others, ends abruptly.

Saw VI did not have quite an impressive twist as many of the others as the series appears to be running out of steam. It has always been a bit unbelievable that the traps were so intricate yet worked flawlessly and Hoffman staying ahead of the investigation and walking away from gruesome crimes so easily. The film continues the revenge of John Kramer and does not let up on the high level of gore. Jigsaw still has two more movies in the tank already released and this series may go on forever as long as the writers can come up with another deranged character to keep creating these awful puzzles. The unique part of this film was that it had some cultural commentary about predatory lenders and insurance companies. While the quality has steadily declined, the story is terrifying enough to keep the franchise going.  

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