Every ‘Saw’ Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
Would you like to play a game? How about eight or nine games, most involving bodily dismemberment? Would that be something you’d be interested in? Okay wonderful, you’ve come to the right place.
Good old, Jigsaw. You can’t keep the guy down. John Kramer (played by Tobin Bell) might have died in 2006, but 15 years later his spirit still lives on, inspiring new traps and games, along with new entries of the long-running horror saga, Saw. The franchise was created in 2004 by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, two young aspiring filmmakers looking to make the biggest splash with as little money as possible. That led them to conceive a film set almost entirely in one room, which soon evolved into the notion of two men chained to opposite sides of a bathroom with a dead body lying between them. After one particular conversation about the idea, the word “Saw” popped into Whannell’s head as the title. There was no turning back.
Well, technically, there was turning back, since Saw grew into a franchise with one of the densest chronologies in history. Each new entry returns to past events in the series, adding new context and characters. While Wan and Whannell might have initially intended something lean and sparse, their creation mutated into an elaborate saga filled with endless shocks and twists — and, of course, some of the grisliest torture devices ever put to screen.
Saw became an annual Halloween tradition through the 2000s, until it finally petered out with Saw: The Final Chapter (AKA Saw 3D). Seven years later, it returned as Jigsaw; four years after that, the latest production is called Spiral: From the Book of Saw. It stars Chris Rock as a cop on the trail of a copycat Jigsaw who seems to be targeting dirty cops. I saw the original Saw, but never kept up with the sequels. With the arrival of Spiral in theaters — and the arrival of the first seven movies on HBO Max — it seemed like the right time to finally get trapped by Jigsaw. Here’s the entire franchise, ranked from worst to best.