|Saw VI is a 2009 horror film directed by Kevin Greutert from a screenplay written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan. It is the sixth installment of the Saw film series 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 concludes the second trilogy of the series that focused on the posthumous effects of the Jigsaw Killer and the progression of his successor, Mark Hoffman. In the film, Hoffman sets a new trap for an insurance executive, William Easton, while the FBI trails Peter Strahm, now suspected of being Jigsaw’s last accomplice.
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 V, returned to write the screenplay and Charlie Clouser, who provided the score for all previous Saw films, composed the score. The soundtrack mostly consists of heavy metal and hard rock music. Filming took place in Toronto from March to May 2009 with a budget of $11 million. Following its cinematic release, the film failed to garner any award nominations from mainstream motion picture organizations for its production merits or lead acting.
The film was released in New Zealand and Australia on October 22, 2009, and October 23 in the United States and Canada. 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 $64 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.
Peter Strahm’s fate from Saw V is fully revealed as Hoffman retracts the walls of the crushing room revealing Strahm’s unrecognizable body with only his hand intact which Hoffman cuts free. Simone (Tanedra Howard) and Eddie (Marty Moreau), two predatory lenders, wake up wearing head harnesses with screws poised to their heads in a room with a caged-in scale in the center. The one who puts the most flesh weight on their tray will survive. Eddie slices chunks of fat from his body, but he dies when Simone chops her left forearm off to tip the scale, saving herself. Lt. Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is called to the scene by Dan Erickson (Mark Rolston), who found Strahm’s fingerprints around the room. He also reveals that Lindsey Perez (Athena Karkanis) is still alive, her survival having been hidden by Erickson due to Jigsaw’s last accomplice still being unknown. Hoffman later meets with Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell) at her clinic; he informs her that he is taking control of the games, and Jill hands him five envelopes from the box left to her in John Kramer’s (Tobin Bell) will.
William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), a health insurance executive, talks with his company’s attorney, Debbie (Caroline Cave), about Harold Abbott (George Newbern), who died from an illness after his insurance policy was revoked due to an application discrepancy. That night, William is kidnapped from his office and brought to an abandoned zoo. He awakens in a vise trap designed to tighten around his torso each time he breathes into an oxygen respirator. Across from him, Hank (Gerry Mendicino), his janitor and a smoker, is in the same trap. William learns that he has sixty minutes to go through four traps to remove bombs from his limbs, and that he will lose his family if he fails. In the first test, Hank is killed when he fails to hold his breath longer. In his second test, Jigsaw’s puppet informs William that he must choose to save either his file clerk Allen (Shawn Ahmed), a healthy young man with no family, or his secretary Addy (Janelle Hutchison), an ill woman surrounded by family. William chooses to save Addy, and Allen is hanged by a barbed wire noose when his platform retracts. In his third test, he must help Debbie navigate a boiler room maze within ninety seconds or the device on her chest will fire a spear through her head. At the end of the maze, she discovers through X-ray films that the key to her device is implanted in William’s side and attacks him with a circular saw, but is killed when her device discharges. In his final test, William finds his six staff members chained to a spinning carousel, with a shotgun positioned to kill them one at a time. He can save two of them by driving spikes into his hand that will divert the shotgun. He reluctantly chooses to save Emily and Shelby.
Throughout William’s tests, it is revealed that John and William met at Jill’s clinic and that John found fault with William’s methods, which essentially chose who would live or die. John later went to William for coverage for cancer treatment and was rejected. It is further revealed that John brought Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) to Jill, who had dismissed Amanda as a lost cause, as proof that his methods worked; Jill went to the plant before John’s death and asked him to end the games, and John gave her the key to the box from his will with the promise that she would be given a way out when the games ended. Elsewhere in the zoo, Tara (Shauna MacDonald) and Brent (Devon Bostick) wake up in one locked cage, while reporter Pamela Jenkins (Samantha Lemole) wakes up in another. Meanwhile, Erickson and Perez inform Hoffman that they found abnormalities in Strahm’s fingerprints, and that they retrieved the Seth Baxter tape, the voice of which did not match Jigsaw’s. They bring Hoffman to the site where the voice is being unscrambled by a technician, and Erickson reveals to a visibly nervous Hoffman that he is aware of Strahm’s death. The moment they discover it is Hoffman’s voice on the tape, Hoffman kills everyone in the room and sets it on fire to destroy all evidence, planting fingerprints from Strahm’s hand to divert suspicion toward him.
When Hoffman returns to the observation room for William’s tests, he finds a note left by Jill. It is a copy of a letter he had written to Amanda to blackmail her into killing Lynn Denlon upon finding out that Amanda had been with Cecil (Billy Otis) the night he robbed Jill’s clinic. As Jill returns and shocks Hoffman with an electrical device under his chair, William reaches the end of his path and finds himself between the two cages, where it is revealed that he and Pamela are siblings, while Tara and Brent are Harold Abbott’s family. A videotape informs Tara that she can choose to kill William or set him free using a marked switch; when Tara cannot bring herself to do so, Brent readily shifts the switch to “Die” and William is killed when a platform of needles swings into his back and pumps hydrofluoric acid into his body, rending his flesh and splitting his body in half. Simultaneously, Jill restrains Hoffman and secures a modified Reverse Bear-Trap to his head, leaving him with a 45-second timer but no key. He escapes the chair by breaking his hand and lodges the trap in between the horizontal bars of the door’s window, pulling his head free and tearing his right cheek open he falls to the ground and screams.