Even though it might be hard to believe, the Saw franchise is nineteen years old this year. Whether you like the series or not, it’s hard to deny just how much of an insanely large impact it’s had on not just the horror industry, but the movie industry as a whole, period. That original film was truly a game-changer.The sequels were never able to match the same level of shock and intensity of the first film, but they’re still quite fun except for a few entries that were just downright horrible. Now that Saw X is coming to theatres this week, there’s truly no better time than now to discuss my thoughts on the Saw franchise, as I rank all nine Saw movies (so far) from worst to best.
Let the games begin!
9. Saw 3D (The Final Chapter) (2010) Is The Worst Of The Saw Movies
Saw 3D, the seventh installment in the popular horror franchise sadly falls short of the expectations set by its predecessors. While the film promises to be a fitting conclusion to the long-running series, it ultimately fails to deliver on multiple fronts. The storyline feels convoluted and lacks the depth and intrigue that fans have come to expect from the franchise. It relies heavily on gratuitous gore and shock value, leaving little room for character development or a compelling plot.
One of the major drawbacks of thus 3D Saw movie is, well, its overreliance on 3D technology. While some horror films have successfully used 3D to enhance the viewing experience, this installment seems to prioritize gimmicky effects over substance. The constant focus on creating eye-popping visuals detracts from the overall storytelling and contributes to a sense of shallowness that pervades the movie. Additionally, the characters’ decisions often defy logic, making it difficult for the audience to fully invest in their predicaments.
Despite some impressive traps and gruesome scenes, Saw 3D fails to recapture the tension and intrigue that made the earlier entries in the series so memorable. It feels more like a cash-grab attempt to capitalize on the 3D trend rather than a thoughtful addition to the franchise. Die-hard fans of the series may find some moments to enjoy, but overall, Saw 3D is a disappointing and forgettable conclusion to a once-promising horror saga.
8. Saw V (2008)
First and foremost, the plot of Saw V is a convoluted mess. The filmmakers seem more interested in connecting loose threads from previous movies than in delivering a coherent and engaging story. Instead of building on the established mythology, Saw V feels like a desperate attempt to stretch a thin premise to its breaking point. The twists and turns are predictable, and the so-called “shocking” revelations are anything but.
The characters are paper-thin, with virtually no development or depth. Even the central character, Detective Hoffman, lacks the charisma and complexity of Jigsaw, making it difficult to care about his role in the story. The supporting cast is forgettable, serving as mere cannon fodder for the traps that are the franchise’s signature. These traps, once a highlight of the series, have become tiresome and uninspired, with less emphasis on cleverness and more on shock value.
The film’s pacing is sluggish, with long stretches of dialogue that do little to advance the plot or provide any meaningful character development. It’s a testament to the film’s lackluster storytelling that even the frequent bursts of violence and gore fail to hold your attention for long.
Saw V is a prime example of a franchise that should have ended long ago. It adds nothing new or interesting to the series and instead relies on tired clichés and a bloated mythology. If you’re a fan of the Saw franchise, you might find some fleeting moments of nostalgia, but for everyone else, it’s a dull and repetitive experience that is best avoided. Save your time and skip this installment.
7. Saw VI (2009)
Much like Saw V, the characters are one-dimensional and unlikable here. There’s no one to root for, and you’ll find yourself not caring about their fates. The acting is mediocre at best, with wooden performances from the entire cast. Even Tobin Bell, who plays Jigsaw, seems tired and disinterested in this installment.
The gore and violence in Saw VI are taken to a gratuitous level, which is saying something for a franchise known for its brutality. It feels like the filmmakers were relying on shock value rather than a compelling story to keep the audience engaged.
In the end, Saw VI is a forgettable and disappointing entry in a franchise that should have ended long ago. It offers nothing new or interesting, and it’s a painful reminder of how far the series has fallen. Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the Saw franchise, there’s no reason to subject yourself to this mess of a movie.
6. Saw IV (2007)
Saw IV, the fourth installment in the iconic horror franchise, continues the tradition of gruesome traps, intricate puzzles, and the ever-elusive Jigsaw killer. While it maintains some of the series’ trademark elements, it struggles to offer much innovation or freshness to a story that has been unraveling for some time. Either way, it’s decent fun.
The film also offers some answers to lingering questions from previous films, giving fans a sense of closure in certain areas. However, these answers might not satisfy everyone, as the film continues to tease the possibility of more sequels, making it feel like a bridge to future installments rather than a self-contained story.
Saw IV delivers the gruesome thrills and inventive traps that fans of the series love, but it struggles to bring fresh and engaging storytelling to the table. While it might satisfy die-hard fans hungry for more Jigsaw mayhem, it’s a reminder that the franchise is treading familiar ground and in need of some new blood to revitalize its narrative.
5. Saw III (2006)
One of the strengths of Saw III is its commitment to the established formula. Fans of the series will find comfort in the familiar setup of victims waking up in elaborate death traps, forced to confront their sins and make horrifying choices. Tobin Bell’s return as the sadistic Jigsaw is as chilling as ever, and his presence alone adds depth to the story.
Although it’s always nice to see the Saw franchise focus more on characters and story rather than gore, I have to admit that the traps themselves are a highlight of the film. They are meticulously designed and executed, showcasing the sadistic creativity that has become a trademark of the franchise. Each trap challenges the characters and the audience’s moral compass, making us question how far we would go to survive. The gore is not for the faint of heart, but it’s expertly done and serves its purpose in intensifying the tension.
The acting in Saw III is serviceable, with Tobin Bell delivering a standout performance as Jigsaw. However, the supporting cast doesn’t leave a lasting impression, and the character development is limited, with most of the focus on the gruesome tests.
Saw III is a solid entry in the franchise that doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessors but still manages to deliver what fans have come to expect: a bloody puzzle of life and death. It’s a gruesome and twisted ride that will satisfy those craving more of Jigsaw’s sadistic games, even if it falls short in terms of storytelling and character development.
4. Saw II (2005)
In terms of suspense and tension, Saw II succeeds in creating a nerve-wracking atmosphere, but it occasionally relies too heavily on jump scares rather than sustained psychological terror. The pacing can also feel uneven, with moments of intense action followed by slower, exposition-heavy scenes.
All of that aside, though, Saw II is mostly a lot of fun and serves as a superb sequel to the film that started it all the year prior. Sure, it may not have that same psychological edge that the first film so brilliantly offered, but Saw II does manage to pull a few tricks out of its sleeves, especially in its closing few moments.
Saw II is a film that caters to the franchise’s core audience – those who revel in gruesome traps and don’t mind sacrificing character development for visceral thrills. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the original Saw, it still manages to provide a gruesome and occasionally thought-provoking horror experience.
3. Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021) Works Almost As A Spin-Off Of The Saw Movies
One of the standout aspects of Spiral is its willingness to evolve and adapt. Instead of simply repeating the same old formula, the film takes a different approach by focusing on the corrupt aspects of the police force and a copycat killer who takes inspiration from Jigsaw’s gruesome methods. This shift in focus injects a much-needed sense of relevance and social commentary into the story.
The casting deserves special mention, with Chris Rock delivering a surprisingly strong performance as Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks. His character’s moral dilemma and determination to uncover the truth behind the killings add depth to the narrative. Samuel L. Jackson also shines in his role as Zeke’s father, adding a layer of gravitas to the film.
Of course, fans of the Saw series will be pleased to know that Spiral doesn’t skimp on the traps and gore. The inventive and gruesome traps are back in full force, serving as both a thrilling spectacle and a testament to the franchise’s dedication to its signature horror elements. These moments are where the film truly embraces its roots, and they are executed with the same sadistic flair that fans have come to expect.
It’s amazing how Spiral feels so much like a Saw film and yet completely different from a Saw film all at the same time. It’s clear that the fingerprints of the franchise are all over this project but it also feels like its own unique movie which is such a great thing to see.
Spiral is a relentlessly entertaining blood-bath with tons of interesting mysteries to boot. It’s safe to say that Spiral is certainly not going to be “game over” for the Saw series.
2. Jigsaw (2017)
Jigsaw, the eighth installment of the iconic Saw movies, continues the tradition of gruesome traps, moral dilemmas, and mind-bending twists that have become synonymous with the series. While it may not reinvent the wheel, Jigsaw delivers a solid dose of horror and suspense that will satisfy fans and keep them on the edge of their seats.
The cast of Jigsaw delivers commendable performances, with Tobin Bell reprising his role as John Kramer, aka Jigsaw, in a series of chilling flashbacks. Newcomers to the franchise also hold their own, adding layers to their characters beyond being mere cannon fodder for the traps. The writing, while not groundbreaking, manages to maintain a level of intrigue, slowly unveiling the mystery behind the new Jigsaw killer’s identity.
Jigsaw may not break new ground, but it successfully resurrects the spirit of the Saw franchise for another round of sadistic games and moral quandaries. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. While it may not reach the heights of the original, Jigsaw is a solid addition to the long-running horror saga that’s sure to satisfy your craving for gruesome thrills and twisted puzzles.
1. Saw (2004) Is Still The Best Of The Saw Movies
Right from the opening scene of Saw, director James Wan throws you in this repulsive room filled with fecal matter and other gross markings and it really makes you feel uncomfortable and creeped out instantly. These two men wake up together in this exact same room and have absolutely no idea how they ended up there. At first, they don’t remember a thing about the night before, but as the film progresses, they slowly start to piece things together.
As these answers come to us along the course of Saw, they culminate in a highly satisfying yet heart-wrenching storyline of how evil people can truly be. What Wan did so well though, was he ensured that he didn’t give us all of the answers right away. Just when you may think you know exactly what’s happening, Wan completely makes you recall earlier events in the film and even adds further context to them that drastically changes the way the story unfolds from that point onward. With some films, this may come across as frustrating and hard to follow, but here it’s extremely rewarding and it makes it even more exciting to watch.
Saw was willing to push boundaries.
What sets the first of the Saw movies apart from other horror films is its willingness to push boundaries. It’s a movie that forces you to confront your own fears and morality, making you question just how far you’d go to survive. The traps and puzzles created by Jigsaw are ingeniously designed and utterly horrifying, leaving you on the edge of your seat as the characters struggle to escape their gruesome fates.
Saw is a relentless rollercoaster of terror, a film that lingers in your mind long after the credits roll. It’s a brilliant fusion of psychological horror, suspense, and moral dilemmas that keeps you guessing until the very end. If you’re a fan of horror and crave a movie that challenges your intellect while sending shivers down your spine, Saw is an absolute must-watch. Brace yourself for a cinematic experience that will haunt you for years to come.