Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kevin Greutert|
by James Wan
|Music by||Charlie Clouser|
|Edited by||Andrew Coutts|
|Distributed by||Lionsgate Films|
|Box office||$68.2 million|
Saw VI is a 2009 American horror film directed by Kevin Greutert from a screenplay written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. It is the sixth installment in the Saw franchise and stars Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Mark Rolston, Peter Outerbridge, and Shawnee Smith. It was produced by Mark Burg and Oren Koules of Twisted Pictures and distributed by Lionsgate.
Saw VI continues the franchise's focus on the posthumous effects of the Jigsaw Killer and the progression of his successor, Mark Hoffman. In this film, Hoffman sets a series of traps for an insurance executive, William Easton, and his employees. Meanwhile, the FBI trails Peter Strahm, now suspected of being Jigsaw's last accomplice, and Hoffman is drawn into motion to protect his secret identity.
Greutert, who served as editor for all the previous Saw films, made 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 in New Zealand and Australia on October 22, 2009, and in the United States and Canada 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. 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 to date, but still a financial success compared to its small budget. Reviews were mixed, with some criticizing the acting and others praising Greutert's directing and the film's contribution to the debate on healthcare reform in the United States.
Two predatory lenders wake up in a room with a caged-in scale, wearing head harnesses with screws aimed at their temples, and the one who sets more flesh weight on their scale will survive. The overweight Eddie cuts fat from his torso, but Simone chops off her arm, and Eddie is killed when the timer expires. As he reviews the game's footage, Detective Lieutenant Mark Hoffman is called over by FBI Agent Dan Erickson, who found Peter Strahm's fingerprints at the scene. Also present is Lindsey Perez, whose survival was covered up by Erickson for her protection. They learn from Dr. Adam Heffner, the coroner who performed the autopsies for all of the Jigsaw victims thus far, that the knife used to cut the jigsaw piece from Eddie's flesh was only used once before, on Seth Baxter. The agents intend to find the Baxter audio tape to prove Strahm's involvement.
While at the hospital to meet with Simone, Hoffman is met by reporter Pamela Jenkins, who claims to have found something at the meatpacking plant. He later meets with Jill Tuck at her clinic and tells her that he is taking control of the games. Jill gives him five envelopes from the box left to her in John Kramer's will, each containing photos of people to be tested. After he leaves, a flashback reveals that John brought Amanda Young to Jill, who had deemed her a lost cause, as proof that his methods work. A later flashback, as Jill delivers a package from the box to the hospital, shows that Jill met with John at the plant hours before his death, where he gave her the box's key and his promise that she would be protected when the games ended.
William Easton, an insurance executive for Umbrella Health, meets with Debbie, the company's attorney, about Harold Abbott, who succumbed to heart disease after his coverage request was denied due to an application discrepancy. Hoffman abducts Easton from his office that night and brings him to an abandoned zoo, where he and his janitor, Hank, awaken in vises designed to tighten around their torsos each time they breathe into oxygen masks strapped to their faces. John himself appears in a videotape and informs William that he has one hour to complete four tests and remove the bombs strapped to his limbs, or he will lose his family. Hank, a heavy smoker, is unable to hold his breath and is killed by the vise. William's other tests force him to choose which of his workers to save from various traps, including a hanging room, a steam room, and carousel trap. Flashbacks show that John met William at the opening of Jill's clinic and took issue with his formula for only deeming policyholders worthy of coverage. After his cancer was diagnosed, John's coverage request for an experimental Norwegian treatment was rejected by William.
The game is viewed by a woman named Tara and her son Brent from a cage below the observation room, which contains a tank of hydrofluoric acid and a switch marked "Live" and "Die". Pamela awakens in another cage on the other side of the room. During the game, Hoffman is called away by Erickson and Perez, who found the Baxter audio tape and are having it unscrambled by an offsite technician. They inform him that abnormalities were found in Strahm's fingerprints, and Erickson eventually reveals their knowledge of Strahm's death. The moment his voice is unscrambled, Hoffman kills everyone in the room, with Perez mockingly telling him that everyone already knows of his involvement before she dies. He then plants fingerprints using Strahm's severed hand, before dowsing fuel on the room and setting it on fire to destroy the evidence.
He returns to the observation room and finds the letter he had written to Amanda, in which he had used his knowledge of her role in Jill's miscarriage to blackmail her into killing Lynn Denlon. The letter was found by Pamela and given to Jill, who uses it to ambush Hoffman as William reaches the end of his path with one second left, finding himself between the cages. It is revealed that Pamela is his sister, while Tara and Brent are Harold's family. Tara is informed by a videotape of Kramer that she can either kill William or free him using the switch; when she is unable to make a decision, Brent angrily shifts the switch to "Die" and a bed of needles swings down and injects William's body with the acid, killing him. Jill restrains Hoffman and locks a new reverse bear trap to his head. She shows him the sixth envelope from John's will, which contains his photo, and leaves him with 45 seconds but no key. Hoffman escapes by breaking his hand to free his wrist restraints and jams the trap in window bars as it activates. He then pulls his head free, ripping open his cheek in the process and screams in agony.
- Tobin Bell as John Kramer
- Costas Mandylor as Detective Mark Hoffman
- Mark Rolston as Agent Dan Erickson
- Betsy Russell as Jill Tuck
- Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young
- Peter Outerbridge as William Easton
- Athena Karkanis as Agent Lindsey Perez
- Samantha Lemole as Pamela Jenkins
- Tanedra Howard as Simone
- Marty Moreau as Eddie
- Shawn Ahmed as Allen
- Janelle Hutchison as Addy
- Gerry Mendicino as Hank
- Caroline Cave as Debbie
- George Newbern as Harold Abbott
- Shauna MacDonald as Tara Abbott
- Devon Bostick as Brent Abbott
- Darius McCrary as Dave
- Shawn Mathieson as Josh
- Melanie Scrofano as Gena
- Karen Cliche as Shelby
- James Gilbert as Aaron
- Larissa Gomes as Emily
- Billy Otis as Cecil Adams
- James Van Patten as Dr. Heffner
- Mpho Koaho as Timothy Young
- Ginger Busch as Sachi
- Scott Patterson as Agent Peter Strahm (Uncredited)
Development and writing
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. Newcomer to the series, Andrew Coutts replaced him as editor for the film. Saw VI marked David Armstrong's last time to serve as cinematographer of the series. 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. Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, writers of Saw IV and Saw V, returned to write the sixth installment. Melton said that the film had good pacing and a resolution for the series. Greutert commented that Saw VI would have some finality to it, something he always wanted to see in the series. During the early planning stage for the script it was suggested that Mandylor's character, Detective Hoffman, should take on the mafia, but the idea was quickly dismissed as not "feeling Saw enough". 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.
On July 26, 2007, before Saw IV was released, CraveOnline's horror website ShockTilYouDrop.com announced that Costas Mandylor would sign-on to appear as Mark Hoffman in Saw V and Saw VI. 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?" 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". 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.
On March 24, 2009, it was confirmedthat 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. On April 19 it was announced that James Van Patten would return as Dr. Heffner, a character featured in the opening scene of the fourth installment performing the autopsy on John Kramer. Peter Outerbridge was cast as a new character, William, and Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, and Mark Rolston returned as their characters John Kramer, Jill Tuck, and Special Agent Erickson, respectively. Russell commented about her character: "You find out a little more about if Jill is good or evil. Pretty much you'll know." Greutert wanted to bring Cary Elwes's character Dr. 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.
Filming and trap designs
With a budget of $11 million, Saw VI began principal photography on March 30, 2009 and wrapped on May 13, 2009. The film was shot at Toronto's Cinespace Film Studios. Greutert 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.
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." 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." 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". Post-production services were provided by Deluxe.
|Saw VI: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||October 20, 2009|
|Genre||Heavy metal, metalcore, Deathcore|
|Various Artists chronology|
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. The soundtrack includes 18 tracks separated by 3 parts, each with six songs and includes 3 bonus tracks. It was released on October 20, 2009 through Trustkill Records. 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".
- Track listing
|1.||"In Ashes They Shall Reap"||Chris Beattie,|
|2.||"The Last Goodbye"||Don Gilmore,|
|3.||"Reckless Abandon"||It Dies Today,|
|It Dies Today||3:56|
|4.||"Your Soul Is Mine"||Mushroomhead||Mushroomhead||4:50|
|6.||"Code of the Road"||John Calabrese,|
|7.||"Genocide" (Saw VI Remix)||Christopher Garza,|
|8.||"Ghost in the Mirror"||Kellen McGregor,|
Memphis May Fire,
|Memphis May Fire||3:53|
|9.||"The Countdown Begins"||William Bean,|
|10.||"Still I Rise" (Saw VI Remix)||Jonathan Donais,|
|11.||"Dead Again"||Peter Steele||Type O Negative||4:16|
|12.||"Dark Horse"||Kurt Ballou,|
|13.||"Cut Throat"||Mercedes Lander,|
|14.||"Never Known"||Bon Harris,|
|15.||"Roman Holiday"||Jordan Buckley,|
|Every Time I Die||2:51|
|16.||"The Sinatra"||My My Misfire||My My Misfire||3:20|
|17.||"Lethal Injection"||The Flood||The Flood||3:48|
|18.||"More Than a Sin"||Jimmy Craig,|
|Bonus Digital Tracks|
|19.||"We Own the Night"||The 69 Eyes||3:57|
|20.||"Watch Us Burn"||Ventana||4:00|
|21.||"Forgive & Forget"||Miss May I||3:32|
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. The Motion Picture Association of America gave the film an R rating without much content having to be edited. 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. 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.
The DVD and Blu-ray Disc 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 Disc"—as well as a digital download. The release includes an additional scene after the credits roll, featurettes about Jigsaw, the traps, and the Halloween Horror Nights "Saw: Game Over" maze. Music videos by Memphis May Fire, Hatebreed, Mushroomhead, and Suicide Silence were included with all editions. 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. 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. The film is now sold by itself without the original Saw. According to The Numbers.com, 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. In comparison, Saw V sold 515,095 units ($11,326,939) its first week. In the first three weeks Saw VI sold 443,710 units for $7,587,396.
Saw VI opened in 3,036 theaters on 4,000 screens 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. It grossed $14.1 million its opening weekend, which is the lowest of all the Saw films. 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.
On Halloween weekend, it moved down to number six and made $5.2 million, a 63% decrease in ticket sales from the previous weekend. By its third weekend it declined in sales by 61% and was removed from 945 theaters. It fell into 11th place with $2 million. By its fourth weekend, ticket sales declined by 78% and the film was pulled from 1,314 theaters; it made $449,512. 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. The film closed out of theaters on November 24, 2009, after only 35 days.
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. 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. Saw VI was released in Spain on October 8, 2010 and grossed $1.2 million on its opening weekend in 211 theaters. 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 lowest-grossing film of the series.
|Box office revenue|
|United States/Canada||Other markets||Worldwide|
|October 23, 2009||$11,000,000||$27,693,292||$40,540,337||$68,233,629|
Critical response 
Saw VI was not screened in advance for critics. The film received mixed reviews from film critics, and garnered the second best critical reception out of the series, after Saw (2004). Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 39% of 72 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." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average rating of 30 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was a "C" on an A+ to F scale.
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." 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...." 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".
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." 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". 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?" 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." Kim Newman of Empire gave the film three out of five, stating "Saw VI gets back to Saw basics in gripping, gruesome manner."
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'?". 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." 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." Marc Savlov of 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".
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