Monday, November 02, 2009

Movies: Saw VI

Nearly every horror movie franchise slips into satire or self-parody. It's almost impossible to avoid - as the kills get more gruesome, as the monster or villain is resurrected innumerable times to do battle, logic and reason are eventually tossed out the window. It happens in some franchises quicker than others (look at Tobe Hooper's tongue-in-cheek take on his own work in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2"), and I'm pretty sure the "Saw" series is there with "Saw VI":



In case you haven't seen the first five movies, the "Saw" series follows serial killer Jigsaw and his compatriots as they place their victims into deadly situations where the victims must mutilate themselves to survive. Jigsaw and co. are ostensibly out to give the victims an appreciation for the value of their own lives. The first movie was blissfully simple (two guys in a room forced to saw their own feet off), but later iterations have dialed up the complexity by a couple orders of magnitude.

This latest "Saw" almost seems to make fun of the whole thing. When Evil Predatory Lender Girl is seen in the hospital after cutting off her own arm to escape a trap, the killer asks the woman if she's learned her lesson. She responds by waving the stump in the air and yelling "What am I supposed to learn from this?" The victim selection gets even more tenuous, with a janitor being hauled in for the sin of smoking cigarettes (he's understandably confused).

But then, that may be the point - to move away from the semi-realistic moralizing and to just make Jigsaw a nigh-supernatural killer who uses sadistic games to do the deed. The traps, for instance, are becoming more elaborate and more crowded. In "Saw VI," it would probably take a team of skilled artisans weeks to construct all the traps you see on-screen, and perhaps a hundred people to execute the simultaneous kidnappings of the two dozen victims that Jigsaw populates his traps with.

So, as a straight horror movie, "Saw VI" isn't very scary (or even very gruesome). But, if you're looking for a horror movie sequel, like the ones where Freddy Krueger wisecracks and Jason Voorhees impales a pregant woman through the stomach, "Saw VI" will probably give you a few macabre laughs.

Rating: 4/10 (as horror), 7/10 (as comedy)

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