In 2004 the first Saw movie with a budget of $1.2 million made a gross profit of $103 million dollars world wide. All of the Saw movies, including Spiral, are rated R for language and excessive gore/violence. All eight (nine including the short film that started it all) movies have been so successful that there is now a spin off of the movie series called Spiral: From the book of Saw, which is available on Hulu, Apple TV and Amazon Prime. If you’ve never heard of Saw or watched the movies, here’s the gist: Serial killer John Kramer, or Jigsaw, kidnaps his victims and puts them in traps or games as he likes to call them. You either play the game and follow the rules or you die. He leaves a tape recorder with his victims in their trap that gives some sort of instruction or clue on how to survive. All the movies were produced by Twisted Pictures. The first three movies were directed by James Wan and was also the co-creator of the short film alongside Leigh Whannell. Whannell also played Adam in the first Saw movie. I will go through the movies in chronological order and give them a ranking out of 5. Also I’m going to spoil every movie so this is your warning.
Saw- 1 hour 40 minutes, 5/5
I really liked the first movie. I thought this was a good way to start off the series. In this movie we are introduced to Amanda and Doctor Gordon who become very important as the series continues. Amanda is the first survivor of Jigsaw we meet. The movie cuts to a flashback of Amanda in her trap and how she escaped. We meet her at the police station where Doctor Gordon is actually being investigated as the Jigsaw killer. We find out the Jigsaw had tried to frame Doctor Gordon and also wanted to punish for cheating on his wife with a medical student at the hospital. He is trapped alongside Adam who is a freelance photographer who had been spying on the doctor on behalf of a discharged detective. When the boys wake up they are in an old gross bathroom with a dead body in the middle of the floor. They begin to panic until they start listening to the tape recorder. Jigsaw has pinned them against each other. After listening to the tape Gordon finds out an accomplice of Jigsaw has his family and the only way he can get them back is by killing Adam. This sent both of them into a panic and now they are both trying to break the chain around their ankle keeping them close to the wall. They both want to break out before the other which results in Gordon making the choice to use a saw to cut his own foot off. Hours have passed and Gordon has run out of time. The film ends with the corpse in the middle standing up and revealing himself to be Jigsaw who had been playing dead the entire time which I thought was a great plot twist. He then tells them how they could have survived and gotten out. He then leaves them there in the room and as the viewer we are left to assume that they both just die there. I thought the ending was good because of that huge plot twist. It was something I would not have expected to happen at all. Also the acting in this one was really good. I think this movie was a good way to start the series because we do kind of get a feel for how cruel Jigsaw can be and his motives.
Saw II – 1 hour 35 minutes, 2/5
This is one of my least favorites in the series. I think the idea was there but overall it just was not that good. All eight victims wake up in a house and while they are all trying to figure out how they are connected and why they are all there. After listening to the tape we find out that the seven adults all have a criminal record. They were all arrested by the same guy who happens to be the father of the teenage boy trapped with them. This creates a lot of tension between the teenager, Daniel Matthews, and Xavier who was framed and arrested by Detective Matthews. This seems to be the case with everyone else in the house including Amanda who we met in the first movie who has survived a Jigsaw trap once already. The house they are all trapped in has nerve gas seeping through all the vents. The doors will open in three hours however the gas would have killed them already. Each trap is made for a specific person in the house and there is one for each of them. If each trap is done successfully they can get a syringe that has an antidote so they can survive breathing in the gas. The idea of it sounds okay but all of the characters are just so so dumb. Xavier was 100 percent the worst out of all of them. He acts like it’s everyone for themselves when they could all be working together but instead he just goes into a rage about everything. We get to the trap that’s made for Xavier and it’s a huge pit of needles that he has to rummage through all of them to find a key. He gets so mad he picks up Amanda and throws her into the pit and then yells at her when she wasn’t going fast enough. His character should have been killed off then and there for breaking the rules. Then after Amanda gets out of the pit he goes into another rage and tries to attack her. His character was so irritating throughout the whole movie and it continuously gets worse. After he acquires a baseball bat with screws stuck in it he tries to beat down the front door. This is where they all could have lived. After trying to beat down the door they see metal bars blocking it so they cant get out however, they still could have used it as a way to survive. There was enough space between the bars where they could have just stood there with their faces pressed to the bars to get oxygen. They could have probably made it through the three hours and lived. But instead Xavier freaks out and tries to kill everyone just to end up dead right when the movies are about to end.
Saw III – 1 hour 28 minutes, 3.5/5
This movie was better than the second but not as good as the first. It starts off with us finding out that detective Kerry is dead and detective Matthews is missing. They were both working together on the Jigsaw case and having an affair. The main point of the movie though is this guy, Jeff, has to go through all these different rooms and each one has a person who is trapped. He has the choice to either save them or let them die. The twist is that each one of these people were somehow involved with the death of his son. While he is going through all these traps his cheating wife, Lynn, is in another room with Jigsaw and Amanda, who is now working alongside him. Neither of them know that the other is there. Lynn is being forced to do surgery on Jigsaw in a last ditch effort to save his life. If his heart rate falls flat she will also die. So Jeff enters the first room and encounters a woman who he finds out is the only witness to his son’s death, other than himself. She fled the scene and never testified. He ends up letting her die and moving onto the next room. He ends up saving the judge who sentenced the man who killed his son and then we come to the final room. This is where we find the man who killed Jeff’s son. To save him Jeff has to take a bullet but because of all his anger towards him he just lets him die which I thought was understandable because he was driving drunk when the accident happened. While all this is happening we go back to Lynn, Jigsaw and Amanda. Amanda is starting to kind of lose it and she grabs a gun and starts going crazy on Jigsaw because she thinks he cares more about Lynn than her. So she decides she just wants to kill Lynn even after Jigsaw told her to let her live and let her go. Then Lynn sees Jeff in the doorway and they run towards each other and Amanda shoots Lynn in the back. Jeff is thrown into a rage and he then shoots Amanda in the neck and while she’s dying Jigsaw reveals this was a test for her because this was the first trap she’s ever conducted and she failed by not really giving her victims a chance to live. Then Jeff decides to kill Jigsaw as well with a circular saw and he dies as well. This results in the death of Lynn as well. The acting was on point and the plot was solid. I didn’t mind Amanda’s character getting cut off because we get much more important information later on and she really wasn’t as significant as we think. We learn about the other accomplices later in the series. Jigsaw also dies as a result of his brain tumor at the end of this one.
Saw IV – 1 hour 43 minutes, 5/5
This is my second favorite of the series because I think it’s one of the most important. We get a lot of backstory and we really start to see why John Kramer, Jigsaw, is the way that he is. We learn he helped his then wife, Jill, run a clinic. They were actually doing a lot of good together and she even ended up getting pregnant. John was a seemingly average person until they lost the baby. We see a flashback of Jill closing the clinic and a drug addict, Cecil, asking to go back into the clinic to get a jacket when he’s really stealing medicine. When he’s running out of the clinic he opens the door and hits Jill in the stomach causing her to lose the baby. This is where I started to develop a lot of sympathy for John because after losing the baby we see him go into a very depressive state and his marriage with Jill falls apart. We see him more as a broken man than violent killer. When we aren’t watching flashbacks we are seeing the FBI investigate Jill because John is dead, but they find the bodies of four Jigsaw victims. The FBI thinks Jill is continuing John’s work. We then see another flashback and find out that John’s first victim was Cecil. He follows him into what looks like a Chinese market. He grabs a pig mask (for the year of the pig) and then drugs Cecil. He wakes up in John’s warehouse which we see throughout the series. He then puts Cecil in a small trap that ends up killing him. This movie gives us so much context it helps us understand the whole timeline and how this all started.
Saw V – 1 hour 38 minutes, 3/5
By this point we know that detective Hoffman has taken over as the Jigsaw killer. This movie was good and the plot was solid. Nothing really crazy happens other than the FBI insisting that Jill is the murderer. The rest of the series is really about the FBI trying to figure out what’s going on. The people that are in the Jigsaw traps actually had some decent character development which was nice. The movie was good, there just isn’t too much to say because nothing super crazy happens as far as discovering the killer goes.
Saw VI – 1 hour 30 minutes, 5/5
This one is my third favorite. This is where Hoffman kills some of the agents because they were on the verge of discovering who he is. He stabs every agent in the room and then runs off. But the movie is really focusing on William. He runs a shady insurance company and finds loopholes to deny coverage for people who are really sick. One of the reasons he is being targeted by John is because he said to John that he wouldn’t be covered for an experimental treatment. Had he given John coverage he might still be alive. The traps are less about hurting William and more about him choosing who to hurt. He basically is forced to choose who lives and who dies. It goes back and forth between him going through all the rooms and then the final room. In the last room there is a woman and a teenage boy locked in a cell and across from them is a woman in a cell. As the movie progresses we see snippets of William’s life and we all think that it’s his wife and son and the other woman is his mistress. The acting is super on point and the traps are interesting. The whole idea is that he is making choices about who lives or dies kind of like how he does in his real job. The twist is all the traps have his employees in them. I think it really makes him see how messed up he is for giving people shady health insurance. Almost every trap had at least one survivor so the only confusing thing was how they got out at the end. For example, there’s one where there is an older woman who he works with that has a wire tied around her neck and another young man next to her with the same thing. He pretty much has to decide who gets hanged. He lets the older woman live but I don’t really get how she got out. She was behind a glass wall. Like a zoo cage kind of. William had no way of getting to her so I’m not sure how she lived at the end. But we know she made it out because they say they found survivors of a Jigsaw trap at the end of the movie. Other than that I thought the plot was good. At the end we find out that the one woman was married to a man who died and had health insurance with William’s company and died. Obviously the woman and her son have a lot of anger towards William. The other woman is his sister. So it all comes down to the woman and her son. They can either kill William and survive or die. The woman goes to pull the lever but then she couldn’t go through with it so her son ends up pulling the lever and killing William.
Saw: The Final Chapter – 1 hour 30 minutes, 5/5
This movie is soooo good. I loved it. This was the perfect way to end the series. The movie starts with this group of racists who are stuck in a Jigsaw trap and the one is sitting in a car and his skin is like industrially glued to the leather seat of the car. He plays the tape and the whole gist is he has to get up and pull a lever to prevent them from dying. However, he will literally have to tear off his skin which is clever in a really disturbing and gross way. He says in the tape something along the lines of because he judged other people for the color of their skin he could no longer have his. Super gross. But moving on we meet the main character of this movie, Bobby. He wrote a book about how he survived a Jigsaw trap and now has a film crew following him and interviews on TV. He is getting a lot of money and attention. He ends up organizing a support group and we get to revisit other survivors from previous movies INCLUDING, drum roll please…DOCTOR GORDON. Yes the dude from the first movie who cut his foot off and almost died. Yeah he made it. He is alive and he is very angry at Bobby. He is accusing Bobby of lying about surviving a Jigsaw trap and saying he is a fraud. Then Bobby, his wife, best friend and two of the women on his management team are put in a Jigsaw trap. Bobby has the job of saving all of them from their trap and as he is doing so we find out he really was lying about being a survivor. He did it all for the money. But when we aren’t watching Bobby try and save his friends we are seeing the FBI finally realizing that Jill is not the killer but it is Detective Hoffman which we the viewers learned like two movies ago. So Jill is now in a safe house and the FBI thinks they finally know how to get Hoffman. But back to Bobby. He ends up failing horribly and pretty much all his loved ones die. The FBI is so so close to catching Hoffman but then he has this machine gun thing and kills like eight cops. Then he gets to Jill and puts the reverse bear trap on her and kills her. If you don’t know, the reverse bear trap is like one of the only traps in the Saw movies that gets used multiple times. So Jill ends up dying which I hated because she was mistreated throughout the whole series. But here comes the real plot twist. And one of the biggest spoilers of the series. Doctor Gordon was saved by Jigsaw and then they have this weird friendship develop. So ever since the first movie Gordon has been helping him kidnap victims and put them in their traps. We literally think he’s dead the whole time but no. This is how Gordon knew Bobby was lying, because he was helping Jigsaw the whole time he knew every victim. Also Gordon kills Hoffman at the end of this one in a way to kind of avenge Jill. Very pleased with the ending and this whole movie.
Jigsaw – 1 hour 31 minutes, 0/5
This movie sucks. Makes no sense. Does not fit in with the rest of the series. Basically half the movie is a flashback. But we don’t know that until like an hour into the movie. So for a second we think Jigsaw came back to life somehow. In the flashback we see these people in a Jigsaw trap and in the first one this guy panics and starts getting cut up by saws. But what we later find out is that Jigsaw for some reason felt bad and decided to save him which would literally never happen, but ok. And then he and Jigsaw have a friendship and all of a sudden after Jigsaw has been dead for 10 YEARS this guy decides he wants to recreate the trap he was in and put new people in it. Umm, if him and Jigsaw become accomplices and Jigsaw was like his mentor WHY ISN’T HE IN ANY OF THE OTHER MOVIES. It’s like they wanted to revive the Saw series but they didn’t have to because it was never dead to begin with. Also something about the CGI in the movie makes it even worse. All the original Saw movies were 2010 and before. So they were using actual physical props and fake blood. Like fake brains and limbs that actually did not look that bad and sometimes really freaked me out. The CGI is so bad this guy gets part of his leg cut off and it kind of looks like ham on the inside. It’s just so bad. I feel like using CGI in this movie made it look like everyone was being lazy and not trying that hard. They should have just left it at Saw: The Final Chapter.
My list from best to worst:
Saw: The Final Chapter