Finally saw all the 'Saw' films prior to seeing 'Jigsaw' (as part of my wanting to see as many 2017 films as possible this year, during a quieter and less intensive period). Heard a lot about the films, good and bad, but wanted to see them for myself to know what to expect. The films as an overall series are a very mixed bag. The original 'Saw' had a great premise and while it was problematic it was still pretty good and one of the best in the series. 'Saw II' was one of the few sequels to be just as good and while flawed in its own way it had most of what made the first work. Sadly the novelty wore off in the next three sequels (though the fourth did have elements of what made the first two films work), the fifth especially being a let down. 'Saw VI' is one of the best of the series and the best sequel since the second. 'Saw VI' is not a great film by all means. The dialogue continues to be weak, was never a strength in the previous films and still isn't, being cheesy, half-baked, rambling and contrived. Of the performances, only a chilling Tobin Bell, with (a much better used this time round) Jigsaw continuing to fascinate in how the series does so well in setting him apart from most characters of his type, fares well. The others are saddled with characters that are either bland filler or resort to illogical decisions and are fairly perfunctory. Ridiculousness was all over the previous films too, even in the first. 'Saw VI' doesn't escape that sadly either, the credibility and logic lapses are numerous and big. However, although the editing is not exactly refined (some of it should come as a health warning for epileptics), 'Saw VI' is visually one of the most atmospheric, most elaborate and effectively claustrophobic films in the series. The music is suitably eerie and 'Saw VI' for me is the best directed since the second film, with things being tightened and steadied and things that were excessively done in instalments III-V toned down while still making impact. For what it may lack in logic, 'Saw VI' makes up for it vastly in satiric bite, suspense and atmosphere, it is more taut in pace and is far easier to follow than the third and especially fifth films. Even with the gore, though it is not as excessive, there is a pleasing return to the most inventive traps, tortures and demises since the second film. The Russian Roulette carousel sequence is wonderfully executed and for me the best individual scene since that unforgettable twist ending of the first 'Saw'. There haven't been twists this devilishly clever or bold since the first either. Unlike 'Saw V', which seemed only to exist to set this one up, 'Saw VI' actually did feel necessary despite fears. As seen with the contents of the letter from 'Saw III' being revealed much needed questions are answered, mysteries left unresolved are solved like with the box and Jigsaw's motives are clearer. The ending is easily the most satisfying one since the first 'Saw', the only sequel ending to not be obvious, incoherent or contrived, actually it's pretty disturbing and by the series' standards it makes sense. Bell continues to send chills down the spine. Overall, one of the better 'Saw' sequels and one of the best of the series. 6/10 Bethany Cox
Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Agent Strahm is dead, and FBI agent Erickson draws nearer to Hoffman. Meanwhile, a pair of insurance executives find themselves in another game set by Jigsaw.
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June 26, 2019