We are big fans of the Saw franchise, films with plenty of twists and turns and original if terrifying traps, yet they seem to have just been dismissed as ’Torture Porn’ films.
The debut film of writer/director team James Wan & Leigh Whannell was an excellent calling card and the two would team up again to bring us the criminally underrated Dead Silence and then huge box office success with Insidious, a franchise which would see Leigh make his directorial debut.
Wan of course also brought us other horror hits in Death Sentence, The Conjuring & its sequel but now can be found at the helm of huge blockbusters such as Furious 7 and the forthcoming Aquaman.
In 2010, the 7th film was titled Saw: The Final Chapter appeared to be the case, especially as it performed the weakest at the box office, in part due to an increased budget as released in 3D
In 2017, however, the franchise returns in Jigsaw and in the run-up, we did 7 weeks of Saw and watched one film a week, Here is our brief summary of them.
Saw (2004) Writer Leigh Whannell / Director James Wan
The first and definitely the best, we are introduced to Saw regulars John Kramer (the Jigsaw killer on the franchise, played by Tobin Bell), the mini tape recorder & merchandisers dream, Billy the Puppet.
2 strangers are chained to walls in a building with a corpse in the middle of the room. Adam (Whannell) is told to escape the room and the other Lawrence (Cary Elwes) is told to escape by 6 or his wife and child will be killed. We learn through flashbacks that Lawrence knows the Jigsaw Killer as he diagnosed him with terminal brain cancer.
The only way of escape from the chains is the 2 hacksaws each has!
Saw II (2005 Written by Leigh Whannell and Darren Lynn Bousman (who also directs)
This time a detective, Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) and his team must rescue 8 people, including Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) a survivor of Jigsaw, in a factory, trapped to face the traps. Things take a dark turn when Eric learns that those in the factory are inhaling a deadly gas and they have a limited time to get the antidote. Also, Jigsaw has Eric’s son prisoner. By the end of the film, we learn Jigsaw now has an apprentice.
Saw III (2006) Written by Leigh Whannell and directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
This time Jigsaw with his apprentice kidnaps a doctor (Lynn Denlon) to keep him alive whilst another victim Jeff (Angus Macfayden) comes face to face with those involved in the death of his son, the challenge set is for him to learn to forgive. Jigsaw always has a motive for his kills, it’s not like a slasher film. Will Jeff learn to forgive or will he risk death for himself and the doctor?
Saw IV (2007) Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan and again directed by directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
This centres around captured SWAT officer Rigg (Lyriq Bent) who faces the traps as Jigsaw wants him to learn to forget, but we soon learn he can’t, which will cost a returning character dearly.
With Jigsaw being killed in the 3rd, we meet a new apprentice and the traps can now seem repetitive but the film is worth your time as flashbacks bring us more to the John Kramer’s backstory.
Saw V (2008) Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan & directed by David Hackl
In this film, which we would say is one of our favourite of the sequels, 5 people who were involved in the burning of a building which killed innocents, forced to work as a team they can escape but if they don’t, the traps will take lives. Again the Saw World is expanded via flashbacks.
Saw VI (2009) Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan & Directed by Kevin Greutert
This one sees a stronger role for Jill (Betsy Russell) as Jigsaw’s wife and involved the insurance company that did not pay out on John’s cancer. It’s a strong story and the traps are amongst the goriest of the franchise, including a trap that takes place on a carousel.
Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010) Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan & Directed by Kevin Greutert
This film has one of the strongest stories for us, Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery) claims to have been a survivor of a Jigsaw trap and is made to pay for the lie. Despite this, it is by far the weakest of the 7, we are not sure if too much effort was put on trying to incorporate the 3D. The film does redeem itself with a payoff that explains how Jigsaw can do so many of his kills!
I think by as early as the 2nd film you will know if you are a fan of this franchise or not, we love the clever traps and the twists the films always ends with. As said earlier the kills are done with reason and whilst some of the connections may be flimsy, we still find them an entertaining watch and can’t wait to see the franchise return in Jigsaw
Are you a fan of the Saw Franchise? Are you looking forward to seeing Jigsaw?
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