5) Saw VI (2009)
By the time Saw VI was released, the term “torture porn” was being liberally applied to any horror film that featured an overabundance of violence. Of course, this franchise had long been attributed with popularizing the genre, and accordingly, it divided moviegoers with its extreme approach to exploring the human will to survive.
Many had written the Saw franchise off as simply a gorehound’s dream come true, but this installment reminded some viewers what made the original James Wan film resonate with audiences in the first place.
The distinction between Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and other horror villains is the perverse moral code that governs the “games” he puts his victims through. Rather than simply stalking them with a chainsaw or machete, he tests their will and pushes their sense of self-preservation to the unspeakable limit.
Saw VI hones back in on this point with a main story that clearly demonstrates both the psychological depth and satirical absurdity the series has touched on in its finest moments. Even better, this penultimate installment finally creates a real sense of drama and stakes regarding the story of Jigsaw’s apprentice, ending on a riveting cliffhanger that left fans excited for what would come next.