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The Saw Franchise Phenomenon
By James Whittington, Sunday 11th October 2009

When the first Saw movie sliced and diced its way into theatres back in 2004, no one was prepared for the blood drenched impact it would make. It also heralded a new style of movie making now classed as “torture porn”. Shot for a pocket friendly million dollars, it made low budget horror cool again and delivered a story that was so intense it sent people screaming from theatres. And boy, didn’t we love it? In fact there’s a saying in Hollywood now, “If it’s Halloween, it’s Saw”.

The idea is truly original; a dying man designs gruesome games to be solved by those who he feels are sinners and don’t respect life. The killer is given the tag name Jigsaw and is played to perfection by Tobin Bell. From the infamous self-mutilation piece to the heart stopping final scene, Saw was a tour de force of adrenaline pumping horror. Four equally inventive sequels followed and on October 23rd Saw VI will be unleashed in cinemas up and down the country.

Picking up directly where Saw V ended, Saw VI informs us that Agent Strahm is dead, and Detective Hoffman has emerged as the unchallenged successor to Jigsaw's legacy.  However, when the FBI draws closer to Hoffman, he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw's grand scheme is finally understood.

Directed by Kevin Greutert Saw VI seems to promise to take the story full circle and tie-up all the loose ends the first five instalments have left hanging. But will it? Well I assume it will as the writers, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan scripted parts four and five, a pair of movies that helped shape the series into “the must see shockers” of the year of their release. By introducing more and more back-story to Jigsaw’s character we’ve learned almost everything this twisted man stood for. This is what keeps the series so strong for unlike other horror franchises it constantly adds new and complicated characters and situations to its ever-evolving story. Jigsaw isn’t just some maniacal psycho, he is an intricate player who uses people as pawns in his deadly games of revenge and retribution. Talking of games some of the most memorable pieces of celluloid horror from the last ten years have come from this series of movies. Who could forget the Head Clamp, the key behind the eye sequence, the most literal “hand saw” of all time, the pit of needles, the hair puller or the pig dicer? Each one making audience members cringe and quake in shock.   We have no idea if Saw VI is the last piece of the puzzle to this fantastic fear-filled franchise but I bet it’s the biggest and bloodiest instalment yet. Add to this a brand new video game which is due in November it proves the series hasn’t lost any of its originality nor original impact.   Let the games continue for as long as they can.  

Saw VI has been given an 18 certificate and will be released in cinemas on October 23rd.


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