You seen SAW 6?

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It may surprise you to hear that I’m a huge fan of the Saw series. Saw 6 is released on DVD today – I won’t trouble you with a review, being 6 months since release, but suffice to say I thought it put the series back on track, after a somewhat lifeless 5th part.

With 6 sequels in 6 years and $1 billion in revenue the Saw series wouldn’t seem to need a defender – but the box office wasn’t stellar for Saw 6 and Saw’s many critics were happy to pounce. Their words evidently had an impact – Saw 8 has seemingly been axed and the series will finish with Saw 7 in October.

The ‘horror’ genre is easy to malign. Traditionally it’s provided good returns for limited investment – a third rate horror film makes money. Studios have been happy to send waves of inept films our way from all genres – but with horror, the brakes are truly off.

Saw is no Hostel, Eli Roth’s mindless ‘gore porn’. Saw films are thrillers – thrillers with violence, but not gore-porn. At the heart of the Saw films is a rich story – convoluted perhaps, but a story. Violence isn’t the emphasis, regardless of its prominence in the marketing. Jigsaw isn’t just our anti hero’s moniker – but the style of the series. Each film adds another part – filling in a gap, expanding on a seemingly throw away comment. The series is building to a resolution – when that final piece is in place and we can see the big picture – the completed jigsaw.

It’s this story that has me back for more. American TV shows have become fixated on an over arching narrative played out over many seasons. Done well – it’s a joy to behold, done badly -and you have the mess that is Lost.

So why has Saw 6 (and the Saw series) received such a pounding, why is the box office on the slide? It’s been a victim of its success – how many people have seen all 6, or could remember all 6 – even if they had seen them? Saw delights due to the little details – the ‘unremarkable’ scene that explodes into prominence later. If you have missed a film, or simply forgotten it, the effect is lost. The story is convoluted – Saw 6 features scenes that happen before Saw itself. Saw 3 and 4 occur simultaneously. Characters die only to appear in subsequent films. The Saw series requires you to be up to speed – it’s over arching story is all but impenetrable to a new comer. If you’ve never seen Saw 1-5 you weren’t going to start with Saw 6!

With Saw 7 in October – you could do worse than using the next few months to watch the first 6, a pay off is coming – and with a Saw refresher you’ll see Saw 6 in a new light.

Make your choice.

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