I am so damn excited for Saw X! It’s crazy how I only genuinely get excited about a movie when it’s a Saw film, there’s like this childish excitement that comes over me and the tenth time feels like the first time all over again. To celebrate I’ve got all of the Saw movies ranked from best to worst in this very article.
Since its inception in 2004, the Saw film franchise has left a lasting impression on horror fans and moviegoers alike.
Created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the series introduced audiences to the sadistic, morally complex world of Jigsaw, a serial killer who put his victims through gruesome and torturous tests designed to make them appreciate life.
Whilst Jigsaw isn’t technically a killer himself (leaving that job down to those who play his twisted games) he’s quickly become a horror icon and with a total of nine films and still currently one of the biggest horror franchise in the world there really isn’t any stopping this franchise going forward.
People flock in their droves to watch a Saw movie, it’s a right of passage and with Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith and seemingly Coastas Mandylor returning for this tenth movie the old gang are back together.
Saw X is going back to its roots, the foundations of what made it so special and this alone will draw people into the cinema after a few questionable instalments we’ve had to witness over the years.
For me, I love every single one that has Saw at the start of the title. I’ll leave Jigsaw and Spiral over in their little box in the corner. Okay maybe just the latter, Jigsaw can stay.
From the guy who went behind the scenes of Saw the Ride at Thorpe Park, experienced the Saw Escape Room in London (incredible by the way) and wants to make it his life’s mission to visit the Vegas Saw escape room then here’s my definitive Saw movie ranking list.
Let’s dive right into the intricacies of each instalment and rank them from worst to best.
9. Spiral (2021)
You may come across an article on our website where we gave Spiral 5 stars in a review and be like WHAT?!
Yes, we did that.
But we certainly weren’t reviewing it as a Saw movie. It’s from the book of Saw after all and whilst the film itself if reviewed as a Saw movie would barely scrape 3 stars it paved the way for Saw X.
Spiral felt like a franchise revitalised after a few stale instalments but not for what was shown on screen. It was everything that happened behind the screen that paved the way for Saw X to be made.
That final push that these spinoffs just weren’t working to their fullest potential.
Whilst Jigsaw was the weakest performing movie in the entire franchise Spiral did redeem it somewhat but people know Saw, people want Saw and fast forward to September 2023, people are going to get Saw.
So whilst Spiral is out here sitting in last place. In its rightful place. Let’s put a little respect on its name because without it Saw X just wouldn’t be happening right now.
8. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)
Pink blood that will show up nicely through 3D glasses adds a comedic effect to the film from start to finish when watching without glasses at home and that’s the least of this films worries.
Saw 3D is a solid example of franchise fatigue where ideas and common sense went to die.
Everything is overused and poor in this incoherent jumble of half-baked ideas, plot holes, and contrived twists.
No loose ends are tied up and whilst the novelty of seeing guts fly towards you in the cinema is quite epic for a horror fan like me there was just zero room for story and it was all about shock value.
In a world of expendable characters the direction is all over the place as the film is adamant on showing off 3D technology more than the story itself.
It’s evident that the creators were more focused on finding new ways to inflict gruesome pain on characters than on crafting a compelling narrative. The film’s attempts at connecting loose ends from previous installments are feeble at best, leaving fans with more questions than answers.
Issues like celebrity culture and public morality are addressed ineffectively to the point where it all feels much like a cash grab without much thought put towards the franchise and the love of it from both the fans and filmmakers.
7. Jigsaw (2017)
If you can get over some terrible lighting and a bit of slow pacing here and there you can quickly settle in your seat knowing that this Saw film doesn’t feel out of place in its 8th instalment.
It’s a bit clunky and all over the place but one of the hallmarks of the “Saw” series has always been its gruesome and inventive traps and Jigsaw fell a little short in this department.
While Jigsaw does include a variety of deadly contraptions, they don’t quite reach the level of creativity or psychological depth seen in some of the franchise’s best moments.
Some of the traps feel more like shock value than thought-provoking moral tests. Definitely going back to the days when Hoffman took over the reigns rather than the creative genius of John Kramer before him.
Jigsaw relies on jump scares over psychological tension and instantly sets itself apart from other Saw movies but not for the right reasons.
Simply calling it Jigsaw stepped the franchise off into another direction but as we came to learn from its box office success, it just wasn’t reaching the heights of its predecessors.
Jigsaw felt like a missed opportunity to breathe new life into the franchise and provide a fresh take on the Jigsaw mythology.
It serves as a reminder that the original film, with its psychological terror and moral dilemmas, remains the high watermark for the series.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the franchise like me then it may be worth a watch for the sake of completion, but it may leave you yearning for the earlier, more thought-provoking entries in the series.
6. “Saw V” (2008)
Directed by David Hackl, “Saw V” suffered from the unenviable position of following the high standard set by its predecessors.
The film’s narrative focuses on Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) as he continues Jigsaw’s legacy while trying to cover his tracks.
Hoffman unfortunately has set himself up much like his traps, doomed to fail.
Meanwhile, a group of strangers finds themselves trapped in a series of interconnected traps, all while Hoffman’s sinister plan unfolds.
There’s some good insights that Saw V does offer up to the franchise but it all feels very copy and paste from things we’ve seen before.
The second Hoffman takes over the quality and ingenuity of the traps completely vanish and whilst there is of course some iconic traps for diehard fans such as the cube trap or the pendulum it means very little when surrounded by underdeveloped characters.
Hoffman is the star of the show in Saw V and its one of the films strengths but the rest sadly falls flat in comparison to the others.
5. “Saw IV” (2007)
I loved Saw IV so much I own a script of it signed by the cast. The fact that I’ve had to put this film in at number 6 shows you just how strong some of the movies have been.
Saw IV is the fourth movie in the franchise for those who like me can’t understand roman numerals and the film starts with one of the most graphic autopsies you may ever witness on screen as John Kramer lies there being dissected before our very eyes.
Darren Lynn Bousman was in the directors seat once again after working on Saw II and Saw III and he has to be my favourite of them all.
Darren consistently put his love for the franchise first and it showed in every single film he directed.
The film picks up immediately after the events of Saw III and continues to explore the aftermath of Jigsaw’s death.
In “Saw IV,” Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) returns, but the focus shifts to his character’s fate and backstory.
The movie delves into the relationship between Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and his apprentice, Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), offering more insight into their motivations and the twisted philosophy behind their games.
Character development and fan theories were answered and Saw IV holds a special place in many fans hearts for both good and bad reasons.
The good being that it has old school saw signature elements and feels welcomed in the franchise but the bad is that this film was the start of the downward slide of all the movies that came thereafter. Except one.
4. “Saw III” (2006)
The movie that I own the most props from as Saw III was the sweet spot of the franchise as Darren Lynn Bousman pulled off an absolute masterpiece.
Emotional Depth and character development are paramount in Saw III where the audience actually gets to sympathise with the man behind all of these killings.
John Kramers tragic backstory is revealed and it’s very difficult to disagree with some of his reasonings and motives.
His character layers are built by the minute within Saw III and the traps match the complexity of the story with some of the most brutal and disturbing in the franchise.
Pacing was always an issue in Saw III but all is forgiven in a very solid and endearing entry into the franchise.
3. “Saw II” (2005)
It’s safe to say the original trilogy of movies were some of the best there ever was and ever well be except for our number two spot of course but Saw II successful expands on the concept of the first without diminishing in quality.
Focusing on group dynamics and the willingness to survive Saw II plays out much like a psychological thriller as opposed to a horror movie.
The iconic needle pit scene, the baseball bat scene and the furnace are just a mere pin drop of iconic moments within this movie and the films twist ending is one of the best in the entire franchise.
It’s rare that a sequel can match the quality of the original but Saw II is the prime example of just how possible this can be not only building on the original film but in someways surpassing it.
2. “Saw VI” (2009)
One of the most well-rounded and thematically rich entry in the franchise as Saw VI is usually people’s number one film in the franchise and it deserves it if it wasn’t for my soft spot for the original.
Saw VI tackles societal issues head-on by delving into the corrupt world of health insurance and corporate greed.
The film introduces William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), an insurance executive who becomes the target of Jigsaw’s game.
Easton must confront the ethical implications of his decisions as he faces a series of gruesome traps.
Pushing boundaries at every opportunity by addressing real-world concerns Saw VI feels mature in every aspect.
Aging like a fine wine the traps are inventive, the story is focused and detailed and the film succeeded on multiple levels balancing the gore with the real-world messages and social commentary that made the original trilogy so relevant.
Many fans number one Saw movie, just not this fans.
1. “Saw” (2004)
Whilst many would put Saw VI as their number one I have to stay loyal to the original as without it, we’d have no films thereafter and my favourite film franchise would have never been born.
The film that started it all, “Saw” is a low-budget horror gem that introduced audiences to the sadistic world of Jigsaw.
Directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, the film follows two men, Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell), who wake up in a dilapidated bathroom chained to pipes.
This small independent film that took the world by storm utilising a small select few locations, a solid script and incredible acting Saw introduced us to this world and I cannot take the top spot away from the movie that created my entire love for this franchise.
Saw is a testament to what can be achieved with creativity and a compelling concept, even on a small budget. It remains a classic in the horror genre and a must-watch for fans of the series.
With its ups and downs the franchise offers a unique slant on the world of Jigsaw.
Some stories fall flat on their face, others lack in the creativity department but as a unit its a solid franchise still making millions no matter how many films they continue to make.
Saw X will once again add more context to the original 3 and that’s an exciting prospect.
Taking place between Saw 2 and Saw 3 there’s a pressure to get the tone just right to sit between two of the strongest films in the franchise.
So that’s the 9 Saw movies ranked but where will Saw X fit amongst the list. We won’t have to wait too long to find out!
I wish them all the best of luck and come September 29th we shall all have the answers that we’ve been desperately looking forward to discovering.