The “Saw” horror franchise may be extremely gruesome and violent, but actress Larissa Gomes doesn’t think that is the only reason fans of the series will return to the theater to see the sixth installment, opening nationwide on Oct. 23.
“In this particular series, we are getting deeper into the mind of the killer in each movie,” Gomes told me during a phone interview from Los Angeles. “It’s interesting because the audience is curious, not because they gravitate to violence, but because of the nature of it all. These kinds of movies make you feel something that’s outside of normal.”
In “Saw VI,” Gomes, who is half Portuguese and half Dutch, plays Emily, one of the characters caught up in a deadly game with the intricate and psychotic killer known as Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). Originally from Toronto, Gomes, who has been in the business for the last decade, has recently starred in supporting roles on TV shows such as “CSI: Miami” and films like “Resident Evil: Apocalypse.”
Not too much of the “Saw VI” storyline has been revealed. What was it like starring in a film shrouded in so much secrecy?
It’s very intriguing. I would be more inclined to go see something with so much secrecy and mystery surrounding [it]. It really works for these types of storylines. It was interesting as an actor to work on a film where I had no idea what was going on in the film except for my scenes.
The “Saw” franchise, of course, is known for its torture scenes. What were those specific scenes like for you?
It’s a challenging environment to be in a torture situation. (Laughs) There was one other time I had to do something like that. I was working on an episode of a show called “Tracker” and I was being held for ransom. I was chained to a tub that was filling with water. That was the only other extreme situation I’ve experienced so far. I was very excited about the entire process.
Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about your character?
My character’s name is Emily. I’m part of a group with five other people. In keeping with the other “Saw” films, we are targeted and placed in a situation of torture that is like a game. We have to try and find a way out for ourselves. Whatever the situation might be, it relates close to something that Jigsaw feels he has been wronged by in his life and he wants to get revenge.
Is part of your homework when you land a role like this to go back and revisit the other five films?
[It] helps to understand who Jigsaw is and what has been revealed about his psyche and his motives throughout the series. I had already seen “Saw” and “Saw II” and last year I saw “Saw V,” so all I was missing were parts three and four, so I rented those. It did fill in a lot of blanks for me.
You’re talking about a psychological aspect to these movies, but at the same time, there are fans of the series that are only interested in the torture aspect. What do you think when they identify the “Saw” franchise with the term “torture porn?”
I don’t like that term at all. I don’t believe that. There is certainly a wide range of perceptions and thoughts about all types of genres in film. It is gory. I never go and see that many horror films myself, but I have a lot of friends that do.
If you see a horror movie, what kinds of things will make you sleep with the light on that evening?
Movies that build tension and suspense and things that could be real life situations scare me. Also, things that have to do with religion like “The Omen” and “The Exorcist.”
You’re also a singer, so how did all that screaming affect your voice?
(Laughs) I’ve always worked on breathing techniques so I’ve found a good way of getting that screaming sound naturally without ruining my vocal chords. I was more exhausted physically than anything that involved my throat.
How many more movies do you think are in the future for the “Saw” franchise?
They’re already in pre-production for “Saw VII.” I definitely see it going farther. I don’t know about it going past 10, but I definitely see a couple more happening.