By Todd Gilchrist

Sorry to break it to fans of the Saw film series, but Jigsaw, a/k/a John Kramer is a self-righteous dick. In comparison to the Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers of the horror world, whose raison d'être is causing carnage mercifully bereft of deeper moral or instructional value, Jigsaw devotes a ridiculous amount of time thinking about what other people do with themselves, and effectively (if ironically) conceives his traps as object lessons in humility, compassion, and self-awareness. Personally, I find this high-handed moralizing far more painful than any evil device he could possibly design, but then again, that's why I'm not a fan of the series; that said, the latest installment in the Saw franchise appears to fulfill all of the demands of its audience and then some, making it a worthy and faithful entry in a franchise which at this point seems essentially designed to document people dying in increasingly inventive ways.

After a cold-open sequence where two loan officers compete to dismember themselves as an alternative to being literally screwed to death, Saw VI opens as Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) investigates Jigsaw's (Tobin Bell) latest crime – which, coincidentally, he helped execute. As he narrowly eludes discovery by his colleagues, across town a claims adjuster named William (Peter Outerbridge) becomes the victim of Jigsaw's next deadly game, while the long-deceased killer's widow Jill (Betsy Russell) carries out her late husband's final wishes. Soon, the paths of these various players intersect, but despite their various efforts to take control of their lives - and in some cases those of the others, it's Jigsaw himself who comfortably presides over all of them, even from beyond the grave. This time, though, his goal seems to be to drive his deadly game towards its ultimate conclusion.

Read the rest at Cinematical! (There's a twist at the end!)