Heya, horror fans! While sorting through my collection of horror films, I came across my set of Saw movies. Some of these are brilliant works of terrifying art, and others belong in the bin of movies to never watch again. So, I thought, why not rate them all? I pose a question to you, the reader, do you want to play a game? If so, indulge me as I detail my ratings for every entry of the Saw franchise, from worst to best. You may agree or disagree, but you must choose. Good luck, reader.
Warning: There will be spoilers for all movies mentioned.
9. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter
Saw 3D: The Final Chapter could have been the last movie in the franchise, especially with the title. Fans believe it picks up roughly a few weeks after the events of chapter six. The detail that seems to date the timeline is how healed Hoffman’s (Costas Mandylor) injuries from the previous film appear. This film shows viewers that Doctor Gordon (Cary Elwes) has been a Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) acolyte since he escaped his trap in the first film.
Out of all the other films, this one has the most incredulous, ridiculous opening trap scene. The “Love Triangle” trap was good in concept, but the writers ruined it with the extended instance of the two guys yelling “f*** you” at each other over and over again. It was pointless and seemed more like a scene from a spoof than anything serious. That scene provided the tone for the rest of the film, sadly. Easily the worst movie in the franchise.
Jigsaw is told in two halves. Half of the film is technically a prequel showing one of Jigsaw’s early games from well before the events of the first movie. However, this fact is not immediately known. The second half follows two detectives a decade after the events of Saw.
This film is so disjointed and barely feels like it fits in with the rest of the series. In my opinion, it tries to be too many things at once. Is it a prequel or a sequel? Which story is it telling? The only point in this film’s favor is decent traps and a look at Jigsaw’s evolution.
7. Saw VI
Saw VI picks up only days after the events of chapter five. Other than the typical trope of new people in a new trap, flashbacks lead to fresh information about the events that led to Cramer’s break. More details about Jill’s miscarriage and Amanda’s part in that night’s events come out.
This is not a terrible movie. It’s just not a great one either. At this point, John is supposed to be dead. However, a convoluted plan emerges that allowed him to seem dead but actually be alive. If not for the sheer insanity of the plot revolving around John’s death, it would have been much better.
6. Saw IV
A little-known fact; Saw IV is supposed to take place at the same point in the timeline as Saw III. The focus is not on Jigsaw but more on the cops trying to catch him. This film introduces a new character and provides more backstory on the terrible accident that befell John Cramer’s wife, Jill (Betsy Russell).
This film introduces Detective Peter Strahm, played by Scott Patterson. I am a fan of the television show Gilmore Girls. Don’t judge, it may not be horror, but it is a fun show. Patterson plays a character named Luke on that show, and since the show came out first, I was already familiar with his acting. Unfortunately, this caused me to only see him as Luke, not a hard-nosed detective.
The movie is not unwatchable, but it is pretty bad. The story is lacking, and the game is underwhelming. The best aspect of the whole film is the acting and the information on John and Jill’s life.
5. Saw V
Saw V takes up after John Cramer’s death in chapter four. This movie sees the end of Detective Strahm and reveals more secrets. Most notably, flashbacks reveal that the giant pendulum trap from the beginning of the film was created entirely by Detective Hoffman. After noting his initiative, Jigsaw recruited Hoffman to his cause.
I have to say it I cannot stand the character Hoffman. A combination of the way he is written and Costas Mandylor’s portrayal grates on my nerves. Of course, this could be taken as a complement for Mandylor and the writing team because I want to slap him! Another negative, I was sad to see Detective Strahm’s fate. It’s a particularly sad death to me.
4. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
Spiral: From the Book of Saw takes place at some unknown point after the original film. A brash detective, Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) is working in the deep shadow of his deceased father. When gruesome and brutal murders, reminiscent of the Jigsaw murders begin taking place in his city, Zeke and his newbie partner must race to figure out what is going on.
I went into this movie anticipating woefully little. After the disaster of Jigsaw and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, I held no hope whatsoever. However, I felt this was one of the better installments. It doesn’t come close to the original trilogy but is heads above the other sequels.
3. Saw II
Saw II takes place around a year after the first film. A detective, Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), apprehends the Jigsaw Killer. At the same time, he must discover the whereabouts of his son Daniel (Eric Knudsen). Meanwhile, Daniel and several others are trapped in one of the killer’s infamous games.
Another excellent addition to the franchise. The story matches up well with the original, the acting is top-notch, and the game traps are intense. If you like the first movie, you will like this one. The two are incredibly similar in all of the best ways.
2. Saw III
Saw III is the end of the original trilogy. At the time, some fans believed it would potentially end the franchise. The story brought Amanda’s (Shawnee Smith) storyline full circle and revealed details about John Cramer, AKA Jigsaw’s life leading up to becoming a killer.
THIS FREAKING MOVIE! I started watching horror many years ago, and to date, this is the only film to make me gag. The scene with the fishing line and hook down the person’s throat. Ugh, I’m sick just thinking about it. In my book, that feat alone makes it deserving of a high ranking. Also, the entire game in three is epic and unique compared to the ones in the first and second movies. Honestly, I almost put this one in the first place.
Saw opens on two men locked in a disgusting-looking room. As time passes, they discover that the notorious Jigsaw killer has imprisoned them in one of his traps. The pair can either work together or against each other to determine a means of escape. Unfortunately, every decision comes with deadly or painful consequences.
This film is particularly popular among the horror subgroup that loves blood and guts. While I agree that this film is a prime example of that subgenre, it offers much more than that. In addition to the killer effects and brutal scenes, there also exists a brilliant plot. Under everything else, this movie is about an ordinary but genius man who society pushed too far. Plus, Tobin Bell is incredible as Jigsaw.
There you go, horror fans, my ranking of every Saw movie. Does it match your list? Let me know in the comments which film is your favorite!