October 23, 2009
Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton
Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John
Costas Mandylor as Hoffman
Mark Rolston as Erickson
Betsy Russell as Jill
Shawnee Smith as Amanda
Hollywood is wrought with political and social propaganda films designed to move the public consciousness toward “right thinking” in the eyes of film makers. In horror the conspiracy to dictate how people think and what they value is generally more subtle than in more mainstream genres – In the disastrous waste of celluloidThe Final Destination, for example, “Tea Party Protesters” or “Conservatives” were not directly called out, even while a picture was created of “typical” racist rednecks and how they deserve to be dragged down the street lynch-mob style while on fire, presumably while clinging to their guns and dealing with their horror at the first black President of the United States.
Saw VI takes the subtlety out of political campaigning completely with direct punishment being doled out to both the “predatory” mortgage lenders for their “purposeful” victimization of innocent homebuyers and “The Insurance Companies” for their never ending quest to pull coverage from the sick and sign their death warrants, leaving families broken and in despair. Clearly we need the government to step in…
The concept of the Saw series has always been elaborate tests, created by the killer Jigsaw, delivered to those who do not value their lives or the lives of others. In these tests there is supposed to be a way for the tested to face great fear, pain and hardship to survive, and find a new value for their own lives in the process. If their will to live is not sufficient to successfully complete the test, they die. In Saw VI that whole concept goes out the window.
This film is about punishment, plain and simple. Well, not that simple actually as there must be much suffering first and a clear picture in the victim’s mind of the err of their ways, and then they are punished, and punished severely. There is not a single test in this film that allows for universal survival – somebody must die each time without option, no matter how successfully one test or another is played out by the victim.
Saw VI has good plot twists and gore, but the cleverness of the series, already on the decline as the installments have continued, is now completely dead. Writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who worked together on both Saw IV and Saw V, have gone through an interesting progression with this series; In number four they tried to bring back some of the original Saw grit, in five they went off the deep end writing pure inane crap and in this latest sequel they’ve “realized” that their political views are what people are really after and they are happy to share them. I imagine that Director Kevin Greutert, previously limited to the editor’s role in past installments, is hoping for a cushy government job after dutifully infiltrating the horror genre and inflicting horror fans with the desired message of the day. Perhaps Ambassador to Venezuela?
I don’t care what anyone thinks about healthcare, mortgage practices or any other hot button issue in the United States today, but I do care when a political agenda is palmed off as a horror movie. Orwellian mind control is supposed to be science fiction, but if it is going to be perpetrated I would prefer that the effort be subtle enough that the masses succumb without noticing. Horror movies are known for being a window into the social angst and issues a culture is experiencing, but this film takes that to the level of a full fledged political campaign ad, which is disgraceful.
At least when Michael Moore makes a film the world knows it will be biased and misleading propaganda – slipping that crap into an established horror franchise is inexcusable