Watching Saw movies at the cinema is like my own personal form of self-abuse. I hate them, but I can't stop watching them. They are resolutely terrible from start to finish, but I look forward to disliking them, and enjoy writing about how bad they are. Perhaps it's my turn to be put into a torture trap for being a cog in this ever-turning wheel of cine-shit.
Fact: the Saw
franchise stopped being interesting after serial puzzler Jigsaw died in Saw III, which was the best sequel and, unfortunately, the only one I have not reviewed. Saw IV
saw his new apprentice revealed; Saw V
saw Detective Hoffman continue Jigsaw's legacy. Saw VI sees Hoffman continuing to continue Jigsaw's legacy. You get the idea.
The ideas well ran dry some time ago. The traps are so ridiculously overblown, they border on parody - these things would require millions of dollars and a property the size of an air hangar to operate without being rumbled. Yet somehow, the set-ups remain uninspiring and bland. The Saw VI centrepiece is basically a roundabout with a shotgun strapped to it. Another is a total rip-off of the 'pound of flesh' murder in Seven. Saw VI basically feel like a big-budget version of The Crystal Maze, devised and hosted by a lunatic.
Furthermore, Jigsaw has apparently killed all of the country's murderers and rapists and terrorists, because the people he chooses for his 'games' are pretty undeserving of death. Saw V had him putting Real Estate developers to the sword, but Saw VI goes one better and tortures an office janitor just because he smokes
. What next? Death to litterers? Genocide to jaywalkers? Honestly, would it kill you to bludgeon some paedophiles to death or something?
Saw VI's story is now so ugly and bent out of shape, it's impossible to follow - more fool you for trying. At the very least, you can praise it for attempting to evolve existing characters and plot-threads, but doing so ties the movie in knots. It's difficult to tell which scenes are happening now, which scenes are flashbacks of past Saw movies and which are flashbacks that contain new information. The ass-backwards direction is so grating and loud and grimy, it'd be deemed too dark even for a thrash metal music video.
I reckon the future Saw movies - because there will be more, and in 3D too - would be far more palatable if they had a sense of their own ridiculousness. They take themselves far too seriously - there literally isn't a single moment of levity in the last three movies. Surely after a while, some of the traps would fuck up? Would Jigsaw need tech support? How does Detective Hoffman relax when he's not disembowelling benefit cheats? For Christ's sake, SOMEONE TELL SOME FUCKING JOKES TO LIGHTEN THE MOOD.
Complaining about the Saw movies achieves about as much as bellowing at a puddle. They're released routinely every Halloween, people begrudgingly pay to go and see them, remember that they're awful but still wind up financing the next year's instalment regardless. And yes, it's dumb fucks like me that make this happen. I'm effectively my own torturer - there you go Jigsaw, you can have that one for next year.