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Saw VI

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Saw VI
Lace-up gloves shaped like human hands. The title of the film is seen near the bottom of the poster.
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Greutert
Screenplay by
Produced by
CinematographyDavid A. Armstrong
Edited byAndrew Coutts
Music byCharlie Clouser
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • October 23, 2009 (2009-10-23) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited States
Budget$11 million
Box office$68.2 million

Saw VI is a 2009 horror film directed by Kevin Greutert (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. It is the sixth installment in the Saw film series. The film stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Mark Rolston, Peter Outerbridge, and Shawnee Smith. Similar to its predecessor, Saw VI maintains the focus on the posthumous effects of the Jigsaw Killer and the progression of his successor, Detective Mark Hoffman. The plot follows an insurance executive who must complete a series of deadly "games" set up by Hoffman in order to rescue his employees. Meanwhile, the FBI comes to suspect that Agent Peter Strahm, who was framed by Hoffman as being Jigsaw's successor, is not actually a Jigsaw accomplice and re-opens the investigation, drawing Hoffman into motion to protect his secret identity.

Greutert served as editor for all the previous Saw films before making his directorial debut with Saw VI. Melton and Dunstan, the writers for both Saw IV and Saw V, returned to write the screenplay and Charlie Clouser, who provided the score for all previous Saw films, composed the score. Filming took place in Toronto from March to May 2009 with a budget of $11 million.

The film was released by Lionsgate in the United States on October 23, 2009. In Spain it was the first film to receive a Película X rating for violence (a rating usually reserved for pornographic films); the rating restricted screenings to eight select theaters in that country. It was released almost a year later on October 8, 2010, in Spain with an "18" rating, after the producers had the offensive content edited out, according to the rating board.[2] With gross receipts of $14 million in its opening weekend, Saw VI placed second to Paranormal Activity's $21 million. Saw VI went on to gross over $68 million worldwide, the lowest-grossing Saw film at the time, but still a financial success compared to its small budget. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with some criticizing the acting and others praising Greutert's directing, but it was generally considered to be an improvement over the last few installments, with the film's contribution to the debate on healthcare reform in the United States also being well received. A sequel, Saw 3D, was released in 2010.


Predatory lenders Eddie and Simone, locked in head harnesses with screws aimed at their temples, have one minute to each carve flesh from their bodies with their provided cutting tools and weigh the scale in their favor for survival. While the overweight Eddie slices chunks of fat from his stomach, the contraption kills him after Simone chops off her arm and tips the scale before the timer expires. Their game is observed by Detective Mark Hoffman, who had just escaped from the trap that killed FBI agent Peter Strahm. He then uses Strahm's severed hand to plant his fingerprints at the scene. The police and FBI agent Dan Erickson investigate alongside FBI agent Lindsey Perez, whose survival was concealed by Erickson for her protection. During Eddie's autopsy, Dr. Adam Heffner reveals the blade used to cut the flesh pieces from his body is the same blade used years ago on Seth Baxter. Perez and Erickson re-open the investigation to analyze the videotape found at the crime scene and distort the speaker's voice.

Hoffman arrives at Jill Tuck's clinic and demands her to hand him five envelopes containing photographs of the following game's test subjects from the box left to her in John Kramer's last request. The game involves health insurance executive William Easton and his associates, whose company's dubious business policy turned down their clients' coverage for medical treatment, including John. After Hoffman abducts them to an abandoned zoo, William and his janitor Hank are suspended in chains with large metal vises that will crush their bodies each time they breathe in their oxygen masks. The vise kills Hank as William proceeds to his other three tests to unlock the remaining bomb shackles from his limbs. The second test at an aquarium forces William to save his elderly secretary Addy over his file clerk Allen, who hangs to death from his barbed-wire noose. At the boiler room, William unwittingly releases his lawyer Debbie, who attacks him to retrieve a key inside his body and unlock a speargun attached to her harness. He fights her off until the device kills her. William's last test involves his six subordinates chained to a rotating roundabout where he is only able to save two of them from a mounted shotgun. The game is viewed by mother Tara with her teenage son Brent, and news journalist Pamela Jenkins from two opposite animal enclosures below the observation room.

During the game, Hoffman is called away by Erickson to the audio lab after obtaining the videotape. Erickson, now aware of Strahm's demise, confronts Hoffman after discovering the abnormalities found in Strahm's fingerprints at the time of his death. When Hoffman's voice is unscrambled from the tape, he kills Erickson, Perez, and a technician as they discover his identity as Jigsaw's accomplice. Hoffman returns to the observation room and finds the letter he wrote to Amanda Young, who indirectly instigated Cecil Adams' robbery at Jill's clinic that resulted in her miscarriage; Hoffman used this knowledge to blackmail Amanda into killing Dr. Lynn Denlon. The letter was found by Pamela and given to Jill, who then uses it to ambush Hoffman. Jill, who had the remaining contents from her box including a sixth envelope containing Hoffman's photo, restrains him and locks a modified reverse bear trap to his head, posthumously fulfilling John's will to test Hoffman after his death.

William reaches the end of his path and enters the cages where he reunites with Pamela who is his sister. He is confronted by Tara and Brent who are the widow and son of Harold Abbott, a former client who succumbed to his heart disease after William denied his medical request. John's videotape informs Tara to decide William's fate by using the lever in her cell connecting to tanks of hydrofluoric acid from each cage. As William and Pamela try to persuade the family, an enraged Brent pulls the lever which releases a platform of needles that kills William by injecting acid into his body. Jill exits the room as Hoffman escapes his wrist restraints. He slips out of his trap as it activates, ripping apart his right cheek in the process.


Archival footage of Angus Macfadyen, Bahar Soomekh, and Joris Jarsky, as Jeff Denlon, Lynn Denlon, and Seth Baxter respectively are seen in the film as well.

Niamh Wilson reprises her role of Corbett Denlon in a post-credits scene included in the director's cut.


Development and writing[edit]

On May 14, 2008, Bloody Disgusting reported that Kevin Greutert, the editor of the first five films in the franchise, would make his directorial debut with Saw VI.[3] Greutert found the process of transitioning from editor to director easy due to his experiences in developing short films and his knowledge about the discussions between the producers and filmmakers.[4] Newcomer to the series, Andrew Coutts replaced him as editor for the film.[5] Saw VI marked David A. Armstrong's last time to serve as cinematographer of the series.[6] Mark Burg and Oren Koules again served as producers, with James Wan and Leigh Whannell, creators of the series, executive producing. Charlie Clouser was brought back to compose the score.[7] Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, writers of Saw IV and Saw V, returned to write the sixth installment.[8][9] Melton said that the film had good pacing and a resolution for the series.[10] Greutert commented that Saw VI would have some finality to it, something he always wanted to see in the series.[6] During the early planning stage for the script it was suggested that Costas Mandylor's character, Detective Mark Hoffman, should take on the mafia due to his vigilante modus operandi, but the idea was quickly dismissed as not "feeling Saw enough" and more like "The Punisher".[11] Greutert said in a Demon FM interview that Lionsgate told him a week before filming, that Saw VI would be post-converted into 3D. Greutert was upset by this, since the film he envisioned was a 2D film, aesthetically. The plans were later abandoned due to time restraints.[12]


On July 26, 2007, before Saw IV was released, CraveOnline's horror website announced that Costas Mandylor would sign-on to appear as Mark Hoffman in Saw V and Saw VI.[13] Mandylor commented on his character: "Hoffman is sort of torn of becoming a mad man or becoming a guy that's more composed, coming from a pure place like Jigsaw. That's my character's dilemma; does he go fucking crazy or follow the rules of the boss?"[6] Scott Patterson, who played Special Agent Peter Strahm in Saw IV and Saw V, originally signed on to appear in Saw VI as well, though Patterson noted that signing on the film didn't necessarily meant he would appear on it or that his character couldn't be killed off; Strahm was killed at the end of Saw V.[14] Greutert said in an interview with Bloody Disgusting that Saw VI would have the most characters of any Saw film to date but reassured the writers would stay true to previous storylines to prevent any "violations of logic and chronology".[6] A TV reality show called Scream Queens aired in 2008 on VH1, in which 10 unknown actresses competed for a "breakout" role in Saw VI. Unknown actress Tanedra Howard won the role. Lionsgate made a public statement ensuring her a leading role in the film but did not elaborate further on her character.[15]

On March 24, 2009, it was confirmed that Shawnee Smith would return as Amanda Young. Newly filmed "flashback" scenes would be created instead of using archive footage from previous entries, as had been done in the films since her character's death in Saw III.[16][17][18] On April 19 it was announced that James Van Patten would return as Dr. Adam Heffner, a character featured in the opening scene of the fourth installment performing the autopsy on John Kramer.[19] Peter Outerbridge was cast as a new character, William Easton, and Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, and Mark Rolston returned as their characters John Kramer, Jill Tuck, and Special Agent Dan Erickson, respectively.[20] Russell commented about her character: "You find out a little more about if Jill is good or evil. Pretty much you'll know."[6] Devon Bostick, who previously appeared as Derek in Saw IV, a role which according to Bostick underwent several changes about four times before settling on just one scene, was cast as Brent Abbott, the son of one of William's former clients.[21] Greutert wanted to bring Cary Elwes' character Dr. Lawrence Gordon back but Elwes was not available. He was later cast in Saw 3D, though the storyline is very different than the one Greutert had for him in Saw VI.[22]

Filming and trap designs[edit]

Concept art of the "carousel room" trap. Since the actors were constantly spinning, they were given anti-nausea medication to prevent motion sickness.[23]

With a budget of $11 million, Saw VI began principal photography on March 30, 2009, and wrapped on May 13, 2009.[16][24][25] The film was shot at Toronto's Cinespace Film Studios.[26] Greutert felt that there was some bold visual design stemming from what have been shown in previous Saw films, choosing to reuse past aspects he liked like some of the characters, leading him to search their salient points in the storyline to include them into the plot. In his words, Greutert wanted to bring "a lot of the same insane energy Darren Bousman brought" to the series, but making the film feel not only like a horror film but also a thriller, in addition to create the feeling of the audience being in a "rollecoaster ride which breaks down, it's slow and dark until something jumps out and the audience is back on the rollercoaster".[4] He said that the victims in traps would be more one-on-one with the trap and would be more personal to them. This was compared to Saw IV and Saw V, which most of the traps were set in big rooms and involved several people at one time.[6] To conceive the traps, once the storyline was assembled without any specific details for the traps, the writers, Greutert, the producer and the production designer brainstormed ideas for traps in the production office, with some improvised there and others coming from the script.[4]

Armstrong told Bloody Disgusting reviewer Mike Pereira that he thinks "visually" Saw VI might be his favorite, saying "We're kind of pulling back a little bit in the color palette. It's going to be more suggestive and not so vibrant, in your face like III and IV. It's more neutral and shows natural flesh tones. On Saw V, I pulled back a little bit and on this one, I pulled back even more."[6] He commented that the "steam room" trap was the "best looking" of them all. He went on to say, "It's big and expensive. It's got furnaces, fires and steam. It's multi-leveled. The most complex Saw. We had techno cranes flying through. It was pretty amazing."[6] Commenting on the "carousel room" trap Armstrong said: "It's very carnival, playground-like. It's just nasty. [There are] spinning red lights in there. It's really overwhelming to walk in and look at because everything is spinning." Greutert said in an issue of the horror magazine Fangoria that the "carousel room" was, to date, the "longest trap scene ever". He admitted that originally they had ten actors riding the carousel, but it was ultimately scaled down to six, to "tie in to the [film's] title".[27] Post-production services were provided by Deluxe.[28]


Saw VI: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedOctober 20, 2009
GenreHeavy metal, metalcore
Various artists chronology
Saw V Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Saw VI: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Saw 3D Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Saw VI: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack includes music by the bands Every Time I Die, Chimaira, Suicide Silence, Nitzer Ebb, Mushroomhead, and Lacuna Coil, among others.[29] The soundtrack includes 18 tracks separated by three parts, each with six songs and includes three bonus tracks. It was released on October 20, 2009, through Trustkill Records.[30] James Christopher Monger of AllMusic praised the use of hard rock and heavy metal music, something that had been missing since Saw IV. He said in his review that "It's a fitting marriage, as hard rock and heavy metal are the sonic suitors to horror and torture porn films and video games". He particularly liked the songs by Hatebreed ("In Ashes They Shall Reap"), Converge ("Dark Horse"), My My Misfire ("The Sinatra"), and Kittie ("Cut Throat"), calling the songs the "most ferocious moments this time around".[31]

Track listing
6 Chances
1."In Ashes They Shall Reap"Chris Beattie,
Matt Byrne,
Jamey Jasta,
Sean Martin
2."The Last Goodbye"Don Gilmore,
Lacuna Coil
Lacuna Coil4:15
3."Reckless Abandon"It Dies Today,
Jason Wood
It Dies Today3:56
4."Your Soul Is Mine"MushroomheadMushroomhead4:50
5."Warpath"Rob Arnold,
Matt DeVries,
Andols Herrick,
Mark Hunter,
Jim LaMarca,
Chris Spicuzza
6."Code of the Road"John Calabrese,
Dan Cornelius,
Danko Jones
Danko Jones2:58
Total length:23:37
6 Lessons
7."Genocide" (Saw VI Remix)Christopher Garza,
Mark Heylmun,
Alexandro Lopez,
Mitchell Lucker
Suicide Silence3:01
8."Ghost in the Mirror"Kellen McGregor,
Memphis May Fire,
Matt Mullins
Memphis May Fire3:53
9."The Countdown Begins"William Bean,
Brian Kemsley,
Ryan O'Connor,
Tim O'Connor,
Erik Perkins
10."Still I Rise" (Saw VI Remix)Jonathan Donais,
Brian Fair,
Paul Romanko
Shadows Fall3:27
11."Dead Again"Peter SteeleType O Negative4:16
12."Dark Horse"Kurt Ballou,
Jacob Bannon,
Ben Koller,
Nate Newman
Total length:19:19
6 Choices
13."Cut Throat"Mercedes Lander,
Morgan Lander,
Tara McLeod,
Ivy Vujic
14."Never Known"Bon Harris,
Douglas McCarthy
Nitzer Ebb4:04
15."Roman Holiday"Jordan Buckley,
Keith Buckley,
Josh Newton,
Mike Novak,
Andy Williams
Every Time I Die2:51
16."The Sinatra"My My MisfireMy My Misfire3:20
17."Lethal Injection"The FloodThe Flood3:48
18."More Than a Sin"Jimmy Craig,
James Grant
James Brothers3:59
Total length:20:58
Bonus digital tracks
19."We Own the Night"The 69 Eyes3:57
20."Watch Us Burn"Ventana4:00
21."Forgive & Forget"Miss May I3:32
Total length:11:29


Saw VI was released on October 22, 2009 in Australia and New Zealand, a day earlier than the Canada, United States, and United Kingdom release. Most of the film's stars attended the Lionsgate annual "red carpet" event for the film at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.[32] The Motion Picture Association of America gave the film an R rating without much content having to be edited.[33] In Spain, the film was rated with a Película X rating for extreme violence, and restricted screenings to only eight adult theaters in that region. Buena Vista, the film's foreign distributor, appealed the decision.[34] After producers cut several of the "most violent scenes" to obtain a "not under 18" rating, it was released in Spain on October 8, 2010.[35] It is rated 18 by the British Board of Film Classification.[36]

Home media[edit]

The DVD and Blu-ray were released in three editions on January 26, 2010: an "R-rated Theatrical Full Screen Edition", an "Unrated Director's Cut Widescreen Edition", and an "Unrated Director's cut Blu-ray", as well as a digital download.[37] The release includes an additional scene after the credits roll, featurettes about Jigsaw, the traps, and the Halloween Horror Nights "Saw: Game Over" maze.[37] Music videos by Memphis May Fire, Hatebreed, Mushroomhead, and Suicide Silence were included with all editions.[37] The Director's Cut included two commentary tracks, one with director Kevin Greutert and writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and the other featuring producer Mark Burg and executive producers Peter Block and Jason Constantine.[38] During its initial release, all three editions came in a "2-Movie Set", which was bundled with the first film with the original bonus features from the initial release.[37] The film is now sold by itself without the original Saw. According to The, which only counts DVD sales in the United States, Saw VI placed number three its first week on the DVD sales chart, selling 220,107 units ($2,766,088) in the United States.[39] In comparison, Saw V sold 515,095 units ($11,326,939) its first week.[40] In the first three weeks Saw VI sold 443,710 units for $7,587,396.[41]


Box office[edit]

Saw VI opened in 3,036 theaters on 4,000 screens[42] and earned $6.9 million on its opening day, in second place behind Paranormal Activity which grossed $7.5 million that day during its second weekend of wide release.[43] It grossed $14.1 million its opening weekend,[44] which is the lowest of all the Saw films.[45] It remained at number two behind Paranormal Activity which was playing on only 64% as many screens as Saw VI, but made 67% more money.[46][47]

On Halloween weekend, it moved down to number six and made $5.2 million, a 63% decrease in ticket sales from the previous weekend.[48] By its third weekend it declined in sales by 61% and was removed from 945 theaters. It fell into 11th place with $2 million.[49] By its fourth weekend, ticket sales declined by 78% and the film was pulled from 1,314 theaters; it made $449,512.[50] On its fifth and final weekend it made $91,875, an 80% decrease, and it was pulled from an additional 599 theaters. It was being shown in 178 theaters by the end of its run.[51] The film closed out of theaters on November 24, 2009, after only 35 days.[52]

Saw VI began its international run in tenth place with $4.7 million on 946 screens in 11 markets. It opened in the United Kingdom in second place behind Up, grossing $2.6 million on 375 screens. In Australia, it opened at fourth place with earnings of $846,000 on 164 screens.[53] In its second week it came in eighth place with $4.4 million on 1,229 screens in 20 markets for a total of $11.8 million. The film opened in third place in Russia with $1.1 million on 273 screens while it fell to fourth place in the United Kingdom with $1.5 million on 381 screens over the weekend for a total of $6.1 million.[54] Saw VI was released in Spain on October 8, 2010 and grossed $1.2 million on its opening weekend in 211 theaters.[55] The film has come to gross $27.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $40.5 million in other markets, for a worldwide total of $68.2 million; making it the second lowest-grossing film of the series.[45][52]

Release date
(United States)
Box office revenue[52]
United States/Canada Other markets Worldwide
October 23, 2009 $11,000,000 $27,693,292 $40,540,337 $68,233,629

Critical response [edit]

Saw VI was not screened in advance for critics.[56] The film received negative reviews from film critics, and garnered the second best critical reception out of the series, after Saw (2004). Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 40% of 75 critics have given the film a positive review, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "It won't earn the franchise many new fans, but Saw VI is a surprising step up for what has become an intricately grisly annual tradition."[57] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average rating of 30 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[58] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "B" on an A+ to F scale.[59]

Although Tobin Bell's character was killed in Saw III, his Jigsaw persona sustains a crucial part in every sequel.[60]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly said that "Saw VI is the thinnest, draggiest, and most tediously preachy of the Saw films. It's the first one that's more or less consumed by backstory—which is to say, it's one of those hollow franchise placeholders in which far too many fragments from the previous sequels keep popping up in flashbacks." He said, "If your goal is to do a quick study for a round of Saw Trivial Pursuit, then this may be the movie for you. If you're looking to be jolted into fear or queasy laughter, skip this sequel and hope that the producers get their sick act together next time."[61] Rob Nelson of Variety wrote, "Squeezing another pint of blood from its torture-porn corpus, Lionsgate slays again with Saw VI, a film so frighteningly familiar it could well be called 'Saw It Already'. At least the requisite moralism is more playful than pious in this edition", but added, "Presumably owing to director Kevin Greutert's work as editor of all five previous Saw pics, the film's juggling of chronology is the franchise's best...."[62] Christopher Monfette of IGN Movies rated Saw VI three out of five and wrote that "while Saw VI certainly offers a redemption for the series and the promise of a coming power struggle for Jigsaw's legacy, Saw VII will no doubt mark the time to either shake things up or watch this franchise get the ax".[63]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter said, "If this is torture porn, it's as if it was designed to be enjoyed by Michael Moore." He closed his review saying, "As usual, what gives the film whatever interest it has -- beyond satisfying the rapacious appetites of gore aficionados -- is the moral element attached to the various Rube Goldberg-style set pieces. Here, it's exemplified by a well-staged sequence in which a man must choose who lives or dies during a particularly lethal variation of musical chairs."[64] Roger Moore of Orlando Sentinel gave the film two out of five stars. He said the script "has a more lyrical bent, and a more satiric bite, than any of the other Saw sequels" and called the acting "perfunctory on most fronts".[65] Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a negative review, writing "But, really, do reformers and victims of callous health insurers really want a guy with a penchant for elaborately constructed death panels of his own to be their advocate? Elsewhere, the usual critiques apply: terrible acting, zero suspense, laughable logic and the promise of another one next year. How can we get this policy canceled?"[66] Chris Hewitt of the St. Paul Pioneer Press gave the film a negative review. He was displeased that the film offered nothing new saying, "The first three Saw movies had some intriguing ideas and an unusual way of presenting them, but the three most recent films have barely bothered to come up with anything fresh."[67] Kim Newman of Empire gave the film three out of five, stating "Saw VI gets back to Saw basics in gripping, gruesome manner."[68]

Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe gave the film a two and half out of four stars saying, "Who knew that the franchise's creators would eventually find a plot twist that made sense? Who knew they'd realize that Tobin Bell's righteous killer had current-events value? Given our cable-news climate, it's not beyond imagining that John Kramer could have his own populist TV show: 'Jigsaw's Death Panel'?".[69] Blake French of AMC Filmcritic gave the film three and a half out of five, writing, "Director Kevin Greutert hasn't helmed a lot of films in the past, but he did edit all of the previous Saws. As it turns out, his mastered craft lends well to directing. He spins a taut, tight, concise web of terror and surprise. The best entry in the series since Saw II."[70] Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting gave the film seven out of ten and wrote "Saw VI is faithful to the franchise and the twist/finale are 100% satisfying. Saw fans will walk out of the theater with their fists in the air with the feeling that they've reclaimed their beloved franchise."[71] Marc Savlov of The Austin Chronicle gave the film one and half out of five stars, saying "Enshrouding the whole gooey mess in the already blood-spattered surgical garb of the ongoing health care debate is a crafty move on the screenwriters' part, but once you get past that pseudo-ironic touch, this Saw is no more or less disturbing than any other in the series".[72]


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