A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Saw VI, like all of the "torture porn"movies in the Saw series, revolves around cruelty, gore, and diabolical deathtraps -- all smothered in horrific make-up and special effects. A person is injected with acid until they literally melt in half; a group of people are shot, one by one, at point-blank range; and so on -- the deaths are brutal, bloody, and lingered over (viewers will see exposed organs, compound fractures shoving shattered bone edges through flesh, and worse). The movie is theoretically trying to make a few points about healthcare, but any social commentary is lost amid the buckets of blood and constant strong language.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SAW VI, even though Jigsaw killer John Kramer (Tobin Bell) is dead, his work continues under the stewardship of FBI agent Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) and his ex-wife, Jill (Betsy Russell). They create an elaborate series of deathtraps to test the character of William (Peter Outerbridge), the insurance claims executive who previously terminated Kramer's coverage. As Hoffman springs the traps and tests, he's also being pursued by his peers in law enforcement -- and while Hoffman thinks he's aware of Kramer's final deadly game, he's about to get a rude awakening.
Is it any good?
This is far more well-made and inventive than it had to be, but there's no denying that time and repetition have dulled any edge the Saw films might have originally had. At this point, the Saw series has moved beyond whether or not the films are good or bad; they're more like a restaurant with a good location, released every year around Halloween to make a safe, reliable profit. Written by longtime series stewards Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton -- and directed by longtime series editor Kevin Greutert -- Saw VI leans heavily on the intricacies and back story of the previous films; viewers see moments from all five previous films in a new light based on revelations that only the very dedicated will be able to follow, much less care about.
The performances range from wooden to weak, with only Bell's studious sociopath making much of an impression; the production design's grim, grimy gloom is also effective. It's galling that we're left with another possible new direction for the series -- which is an appealing prospect only if you're a member of the board of directors at Lionsgate.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of the Saw movies. What draws audiences to movies like this?
How do the violent images in movies like this impact viewers, especially young ones? Why do you think there's been a trend toward these "torture porn" movies in recent years?
- In theaters: October 23, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: January 26, 2010
- Cast: Costas Mandylor, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell
- Director: Kevin Greutert
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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