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The Independent Critic

Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Shawnee Smith
Kevin Greutert
Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton
Rated R
90 Mins.

 "Saw VI" Review 
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There is one thing that will surprise you about my review of "Saw VI," the largely detestable Halloween tradition from the minds of Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton and the studio folks at Lionsgate.

That one thing?

After assigning an Zero Star, "F" rating to the series' two previous films, I am actually passing "Saw VI."

Rest assured, I've not suddenly become soft nor a fan of what amounts to porn for those who prefer to see their limbs brutally twisted off rather than naked and intertwined.

"Saw VI" is more of the same, three solid films after the killer Jigsaw's death the legacy remains.

In this film, Special Agent Strahm is dead and Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) acquires the legacy of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and is forced to set into motion a game that finally, but likely not conclusively, reveals Jigsaw's ever so slightly politically correct yet dastardly intentions.

This time, Jigsaw goes after William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), the smarmy head of the insurance company that had denied the killer's request for an experimental gene therapy that may have saved his life. Then, of course, he works his way through the corporate ladder of individuals who are, arguably, rather despicable in more subtle and legal ways.

This "social relevance," while in no way justifying the film and violence it surrounds, does serve as the most cohesive story served up in the "Saw" films since the original, a film this critic offered a slight recommendation. While there's no such recommendation for "Saw VI," it also makes it difficult to actually fail the film. Gosh darn, it would appear that Dunstan/Melton actually put some energy and thought into this film.

If Michael Moore were to make a horror film, it's quite likely it would appear a lot like "Saw VI," a combination of visually arresting yet manipulative constructs wrapped around a social message likely to appeal to the masses and bring smiles to the faces of the most vehemently vengeful haters of the insurance industry.

If you're not a fan of the "Saw" series or the entire torture porn sub-genre of horror, then there's nothing in "Saw VI' to change your mind. If, on the other hand, you've faithfully found yourself in line for the other five "Saw" films then you'll likely find this film one of the more satisfying entries into the Jigsaw legacy though it would still be difficult to deny that the contraptions, formulaic killings, sound effects and entire set-up has actually become a bit tiresome.

Among the performances, only Tobin Bell is given much emotional variance and, as a result, only Tobin Bell makes any impression at all. While Costas Mandylor clearly relishes the only meaty role he's seen in years, he's no match for Bell's rather disturbing ability to normalize mass murder and, even more disturbingly, to attract a touch of sympathy despite it all.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic