Ranking Every “Saw” Movie

Like everything else, the film industry has been greatly affected by this current pandemic and subsequent quarantine.  The result has been countless movies having their release dates postponed.  This has also included the upcoming Saw sequel/spinoff Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

It was originally due out in May, but now who knows when we’ll get to see it.  However, this didn’t stop me from indulging in my absolutely favorite horror franchise and re-watching every movie in it.  So, just for fun, I decided to rank every Saw movie!

8. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

In a very controversial move, Jigsaw’s plan involved an innocent woman being brutally burned alive. His games had involved innocent people before, but his games were always winnable, and it seemed that this particular one was not and he knew it. Which is a huge betrayal of the character!

2017’s Jigsaw may feel less like a Saw film than this one, but this one ventures much further than any into ridiculousness and tackiness.

Long has this awesome franchise avoided the 3D gimmick, and doing so for what was supposed to be the final film just feels cheap.

Perhaps the best thing it offers us is the return of Dr. Gordon, but the rest of it is a cheesy, over the top (and not in a fun way), and almost feels like it’s from a completely different franchise.

Saw VI was a much better sequel, and it probably would have been best to end it there and put the whole Dr. Gordon final reveal in that film!

7. Jigsaw

This film definitely felt stale and too little too late, but we have to admit that the laser scene was pretty badass!

The Saw series made it a point to release a new film every Halloween from 2004-2010, and the franchise was over, or so we thought.

After a seven year hiatus, Jigsaw gave us a film that felt part cop thriller/drama and part excessive backstory into John Kramer that doesn’t exactly mesh well with the rest.

It was intended to be a soft reboot of sorts, and more so than the other sequels, is able to stand on its own.

The traps are decent, but the entire setup of the people facing a series of tests on the farm is entirely too similar to the trap plot of Saw V.  On its own merits, it’s okay at best, but as a Saw film, it doesn’t quite fit in.

6. Saw V

While the “trap plot” wasn’t at all connect to the rest of the film, it was a legitimately interesting story where no one was innocent and they learned a valuable lesson about avoiding selfishness.

After the ending of Saw IV revealed Hoffman to be a Jigsaw apprentice, this was our first time seeing him in full villain mode.  Seeing him be recruited by and working with Jigsaw is definitely the most interesting aspect of the film.

Jigsaw’s relationship with Amanda was definitely more of a dominant/submissive one, and it’s fascinating to see Jigsaw and Hoffman interact more like coworkers.

The trap plot is decent enough, but it marked the first time that it had absolutely nothing to do with the cop plot, a trend that would sadly continue for the rest of the franchise.

5. Saw VI

The carousel trap remains one of the series’ most creative and memorable!

In what probably could have been the ending the franchise, Saw VI delved deep into an issue that was extremely timely and relevant in 2009: the healthcare industry.

As we see a health insurance executive make difficult choices of who lives and die, it’s the closest we ever come to fully siding with Jigsaw.

Sure what he’s doing is still wrong, but this executive was essentially doing the same life/death games with the customers of the insurance company.

Plus, we get an awesome flashback scene showing the entire Jigsaw team (John, Amanda, Hoffman, and Jill) working on setting up the events of Saw III.

It’s definitely the best of the later sequels, and it’s a shame they didn’t just drop the Dr. Gordon twist here and end the franchise.

4. Saw IV

After leaving his fate ambiguous in Saw III, this fourth installment gave us a solid conclusion for Detective Matthews, albeit a gruesome and bloody one!

Following Jigsaw and Amanda’s deaths at the end of Saw III, no one was sure where the franchise could go from here.  What we got was a fascinating backstory on Jigsaw, which helped explain, without quite justifying why he does what does.

This is all paralleled with Officer Rigg learning these very same lessons, and ultimately, the purpose of Jigaw’s “rehabilitation”.

It feels like the perfect conclusion to the events of the previous three films, before jump starting what would become the unofficial Hoffman trilogy.  The series took a noticeable dive in quality after this, and it never got back to its former glory.

3. Saw III

The beautifully tragic mentor/student relationship between Jigsaw and Amanda really makes this film pack an emotional punch the others don’t.

This third installment marked the first time that the series probably could have ended and would have been better off for it.

Sure, the Hoffman trilogy was decent, but it never matched the glory of these first three, or the finale that this film gave us.

The entire dynamic and relationship between Jigsaw and Amanda is far more emotional and compelling than most other horror films.

Plus, the entire subplot of Jeff going through his tests of forgiveness remains of the most compelling philosophical themes the series has done so far.

2. Saw

On behalf of the entire internet, why didn’t you just use the saw to reach the ringing phone Dr. Gordon?!

This quiet little indie thriller may have jump started the torture porn subgenre, but it’s surprisingly tame.  It plays out more like a Hitchcockian thriller rather than the over the top gore fest that the sequels would be.

Here was a tense, claustrophobic thriller that begged the question, “How much blood will you shed to stay alive?” (which is also the film’s tagline).

It also boasts what might be the greatest twist ending in film history, as we watch a “dead” John Kramer get up off the bathroom floor and reveal that he is in fact the infamous Jigsaw.

1. Saw II

Simply put, this franchise stands apart from the rest because of its unique villain who actually wants his victims to pass the test and survive. And Saw II gives us the most time to get to know him.

Perhaps it’s sacrilege to rank this over the first, but in many ways it is the superior film.  Equipped with at least thrice the budget of the original, Saw II was able to do a great deal that the first film couldn’t.

It was the first one to utilize the dynamic of concurrent cop/trap plots, and these fit together perfectly.

While he spent the entire first film on the bathroom floor, here he was featured front and center, and we really got to know the truly fascinating character that he is.

Even after being caught in the first five minutes, and beaten nearly to death by Detective Matthews, he always maintains the upper hand and demonstrates his brilliance.

This franchise was always known for its compelling villain and its creative traps, and this first sequel featured the best of both!

Once again, we thought the franchise is over, but this is very much not the case.  Spiral will delve back into this brilliant soap opera of horror we all love so much (whenever it does get released when this pandemic is over).

Normally, it would be the cause for more apprehension, but the fact the fact that Darren Lynn Bousman is back directing is putting many at ease.

Which Saw movie is your favorite and why?  Let us know in the comments below.  And for more rankings, reviews, and other fun horror content, follow Hallooween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!

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