“Saw” is one of the most polarizing franchises in all of horror. While slashers dominated the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, “Saw” went in a new direction with torturous traps and killer who “doesn’t actually murder his victims.” “Saw” was created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who made the film on measly $1.2 million budget and shot the entire project in just 18 days. It was groundbreaking for the time, bringing about a new wave of horror movies and a nine film franchise.
Over the last 18 years, nine films have been released within the “Saw” franchise, with the most recent, “Spiral,” premiering in 2021. And a tenth film, “Saw X,” is currently in the works. But, before that day comes, it’s time to review the entire film franchise by ranking each movie from worst to best. Not all “Saw” films were created equal and you’ll be surprised to learn where things panned out. Take a look at our ranking of each and every “Saw” film, then let us know your favorite film from this franchise in the comments section on social media.
“Saw: The Final Chapter” (2010)
Best Trap(s): The Reverse Beartrap and The Silence Circle
Worst Trap(s): The Public Execution Trap and The Brazen Bull
It should be no surprise that this film is at the very bottom of the heap. “Saw: The Final Chapter,” also known as “Saw 3D” or “Saw VII” is easily the worst of the bunch thanks to the weird tension between Jigsaw’s ex-wife Jill Tuck and Mark Hoffman, the wooden performances from many of the new characters and the pointless deaths throughout the story. The idea of a fake survivor going into a real trap is pretty brilliant, but the execution was pretty subpar. At least we got to see the reverse bear trap to completion for the very first time.
Best Trap(s): Grain Silo Trap and Laser Collars
Worst Trap(s): Cycle Trap
When it was announced that “Saw” would be returning to theaters, I was pretty stoked. However, this film was honestly lackluster. There’s something off about seeing modern technology in a “Saw” film—we want rusty traps and dirty bathrooms! Plus, the whole first apprentice part really didn’t line up, especially when Jigsaw’s other apprentices (Amanda Young and Mark Hoffman) play such pivotal roles throughout the franchise.
“Saw V” (2008)
Best Trap(s): The Water Cube and The Glass Coffin
Worst Trap(s): The Ceiling Jars
We know that the victims of a “Saw” movie are supposed to be terrible, but man was this group awful. The whole point of their game was to get them to work together and be less selfish, therefore it’s pretty pathetic that they found themselves unable to do so. Other than this plot line, the film is basically just Hoffman’s anti-hero story and a needless continuation of his beef with Agent Peter Strahm.
“Saw IV” (2007)
Best Trap(s): The Mausoleum and The Ice Block Trap
Worst Trap(s): The Scalping Seat
After Jigsaw’s death in “Saw III,” we really thought the franchise was over. However, this film puts the focus on Officer Daniel Rigg, who’s obsessed with rescuing Jigsaw’s victims, including his partners Eric Matthews and Mark Hoffman. This film follows how Jigsaw managed keep up his legacy after his death and also gives more exposition of his mysteriously backstory.
“Saw III” (2006)
Best Trap(s): The Angel Trap and The Rack
Worst Trap(s): The Freezer
After “Saw II,” audiences were clamoring for more of Amanda Young and “Saw III” delivered that and more. This story is split between the trial of Jeff Denlon, a man grieving the loss of his son and Amanda Young, who’s kidnapped a doctor to keep Jigsaw alive for one final test. This film had some of our favorite traps of all time, notably Detective Allison Kerry’s Angel Trap and Timothy Young’s Rack.
“Spiral: From the Book of Saw” (2021)
Best Trap(s): The Subway Trap and The Finger Trap
Worst Trap(s): The Glass Grinder
Although “Spiral” didn’t exactly feel like a traditional “Saw” movie, it was still a great film. The cast, which includes Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson, takes the franchise up a notch and the traps are pretty damn cool. Plus, we love the idea of a Jigsaw copycat that’s unique and not trying to directly rip off the original. Let’s hope the tenth film comes soon!
“Saw VI” (2009)
Best Trap(s): The Shotgun Carousel and The Reverse Beartrap
Worst Trap(s): The Oxygen Crusher
It’s hard to believe that the sixth movie in a franchise stands at the top of the pack, but “Saw VI” is an exception. The response to the health care crisis was genius and tied in nicely with Jigsaw’s backstory. This story’s lead victim was actually someone deserving of Jigsaw’s trials, which was a nice change. Plus, there are some really iconic traps in this film, notably the famous Shotgun Carousel. If only “Saw VII” had been as good as its predecessor.
“Saw II” (2005)
Best Trap(s): The Death Mask and The Needle Pit
Worst Trap(s): The Magnum Eyehole
This film is an undisputed top choice among “Saw” fans and could have easily nabbed the number one spot. This film took what was presented in the OG “Saw” and ramped it up ten notches. This was easily the best ensemble cast of the franchise, as there was the perfect amount of tension and chemistry between the characters. There were also some of the most frightening traps in this film, which were designed with a specific character in mind. I think it’s fair to say that if “Saw II” wasn’t as amazing as it was, there might not even be a nine film franchise to speak of.
Best Trap(s): The Reverse Beartrap and The Bathroom Trap
Worst Trap(s): The Flammable Jelly Trap
Although I love “Saw II” and “Saw VI,” I had to give the top prize to the original film. There had never been a film like this before and audiences truly had no idea what they were in for. “Saw” redefined horror and the ending scene, where Jigsaw rises up from a pool of blood after playing dead for the entire movie only to utter his now iconic catch phrase “Game Over,” was unforgettable. This film also has plenty of Cary Elwes, a.k.a Robin Hood from “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and Westley from “The Princess Bride.”