As predictable as an Enzyte commercial on late night basic cable, Lionsgate once again offers the world another entry in the Saw film cash cow/ franchise in time for Halloween.
Back in 2004, Saw started out with a tinge more subtlety than what it would become. It had a more psychologically frightening feel to it and was less physically violent. Of course, that is “less” by the standards that the subsequent films portrayed. It also launched a new villain, Jigsaw, who was very much vulnerable, in fact terminally ill. Instead of the invincibility of Jason and Mike Myers that fueled their return film after film, these films continue to be anchored to Jigsaw through flashbacks and concurrent story lines.
Here is an attempt to decipher some of the continuing plot timelines. Chronologically speaking:
Saw (2004) occurred first with Amanda (Shawnee Smith) as a survivor of Jigsaw’s (Tobin Bell) game.
Then, it was Saw II (2005) with Amanda revealed as the apprentice of Jigsaw and Jigsaw in extreme failing health. It shows the dead body of Adam and Dr. Gordon’s hacked foot from the first film.
Next, Saw III (2006) saw Amanda divert from Jigsaw’s true intent for his traps with anger fueling her games that can’t be won. Both Amanda and Jigsaw die. This one introduces Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor).
Saw IV (2007) happens six months after Saw II as Detective Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg) is thought to be missing but occurs immediately after Saw III aside from the autopsy scenes of Jigsaw. The movie presents Jigsaw’s history and motivations. It’s revealed that Detective Hoffman is an apprentice of Jigsaw.
Saw V (2008) establishes that Hoffman has been involved in the set up and execution of many trappings seen in the previous films. The events of this film immediately follow or overlap the events of Saw IV.
That was exhausting.
If you’re a fan of this pioneering gorno franchise, then you already knew this film was in the pipeline and have your calendar marked. The official plot of this sixth entry hints that it could be the last one but it’s doubtful that anyone is really buying that line. Supposedly, this film follows Agent Hoffman’s attempts to keep the authorities off his trail and as the official summary states, “he is forced to set a game into motion, and Jigsaw's grand scheme is finally understood."
Despite being a first time director, Kevin Greutert has been with the franchise since the beginning as the editor on all the previous Saw films, so it’s unlikely that this one will deviate in style but remain deviant in nature. Clearly, after eating and breathing Saw films for the last six years, he is inarguably qualified to direct the potentially final film.
Since producer Mark Burg promised the return of Amanda, who was killed off a couple of films ago, she will obviously figure into a series of flashbacks. In an interview, Burg also promised that “this movie is a lot more violent that the previous five.” For those who are wondering how that is possible, you’ll just have to see for yourself come October or you could just wait a few days after its opening and search the Web for a scene-by-scene spoiler. Burg knows horror too because not only is he the producer here, he is also the producer on that other franchise that is torture in and of itself…Two and a Half Men.
Director Greutert isn’t the only involved party with deep Saw roots. This film was written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, who penned the fourth and fifth editions as well. Prior to writing any Saw films, Melton and Dunstan were the writing team behind Feast, a horror film that was the subject of Bravo’s Project Greenlight. Original producers James Wan and Leigh Whannell are only as involved as executive producers.
In addition, an acting role in Saw VI was the prize for the winner of VH1’s Scream Queens reality show. The show was hosted by Amanda herself (Shawnee Smith) and followed through with that threat as the winner of the show, Tanedra Howard, is officially part of the cast.
It’s unlikely that Saw VI will attract any new converts to the church of Jigsaw but it sounds like it will be exactly what the faithful want and expect: gore, violence, ridiculously complicated traps and a twist at the end to allow for even more sequels. Because October 2010 just wouldn’t feel right without Saw VII being in theaters. (Daron Aldridge/BOP)