Saw VI



Sixth film in revenge series is just as bloody as the rest.
  • Review Date: October 14, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's some lip service paid to the human will to live, but it's coated in blood. A critique of health care and for-profit insurance is intrinsic to the film's plot, but it's also smothered in gore.

Positive role models

Not a single character in the film shows mercy, kindness, or forgiveness when given the chance. The protagonist displays some selflessness but still dies at the hands of someone desiring revenge. 


Constant bloody, grisly violence, including horrifying deathtraps requiring self-mutilation in order to escape, fighting, shooting at point-blank range, dismemberment, disembowelment, decapitation, death by crushing, hanging (by barbed wire), slashed jugulars, shootings, being set on fire, and much more. And it's all depicted with state-of-the-art makeup and gore.


Some cleavage.


Constant strong language, including "f--k" and its derivatives, "s--t," "ass," "p---y," "hell," "goddamn," and much more.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink beer, wine, and hard liquor. Discussions of the health effects of smoking (smoking itself is shown); a smoker's reduced lung capacity winds up being what kills him (as part of a deathtrap, of course). Discussion of the psychological characteristics and chemical treatment of addiction, including methadone.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this "torture porn" film, like all of the 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.

What's the story?

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?


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 -- this sixth installment 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. Saw VI 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 that the Saw films might have originally had. 

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 23, 2009
DVD release date:January 26, 2010
Cast:Costas Mandylor, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell
Director:Kevin Greutert
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written bydavidguitar15..... March 18, 2011


Fun movie, but its very gory
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bySeminolefreak March 15, 2011

Very gory, as usual.....

My MPAA Rating, R: Grisly horror violence, graphic bloody violence, and strong language
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byAzelma February 6, 2010
The Saw movies have a really bad rep, and I felt the need to point out (for all who will believe me) that it only deserves half of that rep. Is it every bit as bloody, horrifying, awful to watch, and nasty as you think? No. Actually, it's worse on all counts. No, really. Is it mindless torture porn? Absolutely not. Saw has a story -- and a very decent one, if you enjoy psychological horror -- and usually has valid reasons for turning the gore dial to 11. Occasionally it doesn't have those valid reasons (hence the 4/5 stars), but most of the violence isn't gratuitous, and those who think it is show their ignorance of the extremely complicated and layered plot (I can completely understand if you couldn't stand to watch it long enough to get the plot, but don't judge on what you haven't seen, please). I really enjoy the serial storyline -- you have to have been on board since the first movie to understand what's going on, and every movie keeps the audience on their toes and requires sustained and careful attention to appreciate the various stomach-dropping endings. Saw wrestles with some really interesting psychology and has some great characters. I don't think it's appropriate for children with the exception of the particularly-mature mid-to-late teen, but there's a lot to like here if things like Dexter or Law and Order are up your alley. At the "invincible age" where teenagers often make reckless decisions, there are good things to learn here if put into the proper context. I agree with Tobin Bell ("Jigsaw") that anything that makes young people ask questions like, "how would I live differently if today were my last chance?" is a good thing. Don't say there's no story just because you can't keep your eyes open long enough to get the story. These films are not torture porn.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages


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