By Landon Sasaki
The first SAW movie was released in 2004. It was directed by James Wan and Leigh Whannell. The franchise consists of nine movies that have been released, the most recent Saw movie released was Spiral, a spin-off, and sequel of the original franchise. Saw is about an old man known as John Kramer. His goal is to help people who have lost their ways in life but the way he helps them is very violent. He helps people by putting them in traps and seeing how much they want to live. The person who is stuck in the trap can always escape but they must put themselves in harm’s way to get out of the trap. Once they escape, the twist is that they may either be free or could join John as one of his disciples and students.
Saw 1 (2004)
Saw 1 is the original Saw. It was the first horror movie that was made of the franchise that is loved by many fans. The first movie starts in a bathroom. Two men wake up in the bathroom and turn on the lights and see a dead body on the floor. One man is named Dr. Gordon. The other is named Adam Stanheight, they are both really confused and try to think of how they got there. Dr. Gordon remembers getting kidnapped in a parking lot and Adam remembers getting taken from his apartment by a pig-masked person. They eventually figure out they were kidnapped by a doctor named Zepp Hindle, who works at the same hospital as Dr. Gordon.
There is also a detective named Tapp, he is studying a case about a man who was trapped in a razor wire maze and died trying to escape. Tapp believed it was Dr. Gordon who did it so he waits at his house and hears gunshots. He burst through the door to see Zepp holding Dr. Gordons’ wife and daughter at gunpoint. Tapp shoots Zepp but he gets out of the house and goes to the bathroom from the start of the movie to kill Adam and Doctor Gordon. Tapp chases Zepp but when Tapp captures him, he shoots Tapp killing him. Zepp makes his way back to the bathroom where he is killed by Adam from hitting him in the head with a toilet cover. Gordon had cut off his foot to get out of the bathroom and crawled away. When Gordon leaves to find help, the dead man on the floor unexpectedly gets up and goes to the door and says “Game over” before locking Adam in the bathroom. In my opinion, I would give SAW I a solid 9/10.
Saw 2 (2005)
Saw 2 takes place directly after Saw 1. The movie opens with multiple people waking up in a room. They appear to be locked in a house. They then play a tape recorder that says they are locked in a house and poison gas which is slowly entering their respiratory system, they are instructed to get an antidote that is scattered around the house. The police then arrive at a warehouse; inside the warehouse, they find John Kramer. John is said to be the Jigsaw killer who has been kidnapping people and putting them in traps. The police then start to worry when they see a set of TVs playing with all those people locked in the house. The people start looking around the house trying to find the antidote. Many of the characters die after getting put in different traps. Some die by being locked in a furnace, getting shot by a trap gun, or killing each other.
Eventually, a detective comes to John and says where is my son. John had said that his son is placed in that house full of criminals that that detective (Detective Mathews) has arrested. Mathews starts to panic and starts to assault John to give him the location of his son which he eventually does. He then leaves with John and the police then figure out where the game is taking place. They leave and start heading to the house. John and Mathews end up going to a different house though and when they arrive a pig masked person knocks out Detective Mathews. The other police arrive at a different house which was the wrong house and then start to get confused but then learn that the game in the house took place days ago and that Mathews’s son was actually locked in a safe at the warehouse. In my opinion, I would give SAW II, 7/10.
Saw 3 (2006)
Saw 3 takes place in a new warehouse known as the Gideon Meat Plant. John and a woman named Amanda Young are there. John is bedridden with cancer; Amanda is his caretaker and disciple. John needs a doctor to help him but they can’t leave for a hospital so Amanda goes to kidnap a Doctor named Lynn. Doctor Lynn is then put in a trap around her neck known as a shotgun collar. This collar will go off if she goes too far out of range of John or if John dies. She must take care of John until another man gets out of the traps he’s in.
A man named Jeff wakes up in a box which he breaks out of. Jeff then meets all these people who have wronged him in his life. Jeff can either decide to save them or to let them die a painful death. Jeff ends up trying to save all the people he comes across but they all end up dying in the process. Jeff then makes it to John, he gives him one final test; he can either forgive John for what he put him through or can kill him. Jeff shoots Amanda and then kills John. This sets off the shotgun collar without knowing what it does which kills Lynn who was his wife. In my opinion, I would give SAW III 9/10.
Saw 4 (2007)
Saw 4 takes place around the same time as Saw 3. A swat officer named Daniel Rigg wakes up in his apartment to a person stuck in a chair that is a trap. The chair proceeds to scalp the woman but then Rigg saves her. She then goes and grabs a knife to kill Rigg but Rigg kills the woman. Rigg proceeds to go try to save Eric Mathews, the detective from Saw 2. He comes across more and more people who are criminals which he can either save or leave to die. He decides to save some of them but lets others die. He makes it to the trap Eric is in and sees two other men. One is another detective known as Hoffman and the other is one of John’s disciples. Rigg then goes through the door and triggers the trap that kills Eric and then Rigg is shot, then he shoots the disciple. They all end up dying except one man, the new detective, Hoffman who is secretly a disciple of John. He proceeds to leave the place and is celebrated as a hero. For SAW IV I would give it a 5/10.
Saw 5 (2008)
Saw 5 takes place somewhere underground. Five people wake up with a chain on them. They are instructed to get a key to unlock the chain or their heads will be cut off. They all fight for the keys, four of them unlock the chains and escape the trap but one ends up dying. They then proceed to the next room. Inside the room, there are a bunch of jars hanging above them. In these jars there are keys but only three will work. They all end up fighting and then three proceed to the next room while the other dies in an explosion. The three left alive proceed to the next room to find a bathtub that needs five electric shocks to escape. Two of the people there knock out a girl and put her in the bath, they then attach the electric currents to her in order to open up the door. The two proceed and find a room full of these traps that you need to put your hands in. They need to fill a jar with 10 pints of blood so they both choose to do it. They proceed and realize the traps were meant for five people. All of them were meant for five and they just needed to work together to get out alive. The two eventually escape and are saved by FBI agent Peter Strahm who finds them. In my opinion, I would give SAW V a 6/10.
Saw 6 (2009)
Saw 6 takes place in an abandoned zoo. We meet a life insurance guy who prevented the payment of John’s cancer treatment. Hoffman sets up this trial and makes him play his games. The life insurance guy who is named Willia must try to save his co-workers but he can only save some of them. John makes him choose to save people who are more likely to live than not but William saves everyone he can. In the end, when he reaches the final trap he finds a woman and her son. It turned out William didn’t give life insurance to that family which had the woman’s husband die. They got to choose if William got to live or not and the mom decides to let him live but the son gets up and says “You killed my dad” and proceeds to set off a trap killing William. For SAW VI I would give a 5/10.
Saw 7/3D (2010)
Saw 7 takes place in an old mansion. A man named Bobby Dagan woke up in a trap hanging above spikes. John had picked him to be in this trap because he wrote a book and claimed he escaped from a Jigsaw trap which was a lie. Bobby gets out of his first trap but finds his friends ahead. One trap holds his best friend, he ignored the fact that Bobby was telling lies so he chose to turn a blind eye which ends up killing him in the trap Hoffman set up.
He proceeds to other rooms and finds more and more of his friends and they all end up dying because of him. He reachesthe final room where he finds his wife. Hoffman sets up the same trap Bobby claimed to escape from. He hooks himself and lifts his body to reach a chord that will save his wife but the hooks inside of him break and he falls and watches his wife die. In the end, Hoffman ended up killing John’s wife after she tries to kill Hoffman but when he starts to run and leave the country, Lawrence Gordon, the doctor in the first movie attacks Hoffman and puts him back in the trap Dr. Gordon was put in. For SAW 3D I would rank a 6/10.
Jigsaw is a movie that takes place 10 years after Saw 7. A string of murders leads people to suspect The Jigsaw Killer is back. People start to freak out and are scared because a man who has been dead for 10 years is said to be back from the dead. We cut to five people waking up in a barn; inside the barn, they are stuck in a trap. They escape to the next room but one was left behind and killed by the trap. The other four proceed ahead to a new room, the players begin to talk to each other when all of a sudden the trap activates again and starts to choke the people in the barn. A tape plays and says to pick a syringe: One will be the antidote and the other will be acid. They have to put it in one of the people there, one was a thief and someone stabs the thief with all syringes and they are released from the trap but the thief dies from the acid. They then enter the next room, a trap picks up one of the guys and he gets stuck, then chopped into pieces. The last two people, a woman and a man are put into a final trap.
John reveals himself and places a shotgun in the middle of the room. John leaves and the woman grabs the shotgun, it turns out it was a trap and the shotgun backfires on the woman. The man then is left there to rot after the shotgun had blown up the keys that were kept inside of the shell. It turned out this trap actually was the first trap John had done and took place almost 20 years ago. We learn that this same trap happened again in the current time and a new disciple, Logon Nelson, set up this trap and framed a detective, killing him in the final trap. Jigsaw ends with Logan being free, escaping any suspicion that he was the killer. In my opinion, I would rank JIGSAW 8/10.
Spiral takes place in a new town. In this town, a series of murders start to happen; people think it’s another copycat killer from Jigsaw. A detective named Zeke goes on the case to figure out who is killing all these people. The detective and his new partner William then start looking at scenes of the traps that have been spotted lately. They begin to learn more and more about these traps and find out that the new person who is setting up all these traps is only going after cops. It turned out that all the cops that were killed, either hate Zeke or Zeke hated them. People start to get suspicious about Zeke after his partner goes missing. He then learns someone had been killed and goes to the scene to see a skinned body who turns out to be William. Zeke then gets a message from his dad that he found something, he leaves to find his dad strung up in a trap losing blood really fast.
Someone then reveals themself and the killer turns out to be William who had faked his death. He then shoots a revolver he has five times and gives it to Zeke. William then calls the police and tells them that someone is shooting a gun; William then tells Zeke he either has to shoot him and stop all these murders or shoot a target that will release Zeke’s dad. He decides to shoot the target to save his dad. Zeke then tackles William but the cops burst the door, activating a trap that makes it look like Zeke’s dad is holding a gun, so the cops fire and shoot Zeke’s dad not knowing it’s a trap. William then runs over to an elevator and escapes while Zeke has to watch as his father gets gunned down. In my opinion, I would rank SPIRAL a 7/10.
The Saw fanbase holds strong opinions on every movie, the community generally ranks the Saw movies as followed: SAW: The Final Chapter 9th, SAW: 5 ranked 8th, SAW: 4 ranked 7th, SAW: 3 ranked 6th, JIGSAW: ranked 5th, SAW: 2 ranked 4th, SPIRAL: ranked 3rd, SAW: 6 ranked 2nd and SAW: ranked 1st from the community.
My overall opinion on the Saw franchise is that it achieved what it was supposed to. I think that the directors made what people wanted to see; they never made the same trap twice and all the traps were unique and unthinkable. It also gave so many twists and turns which made people excited to watch the next movies. In my opinion, I think Saw 3 was the best. Saw 3 was gonna be the last Saw so that’s why John dies in it but the people wanted more Saw movies so then Saw 4 was released.
Featured Image (at the top of the post): The face of the Saw franchise, “Billy the Puppet” PHOTO CREDIT: Shutterstock