Drifty’s Official Saw Rankings
- Saw (2004)
- Saw III (2006)
- Saw IV (2007)
- Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)
- Saw II (2005)
- Jigsaw (2017)
- Saw V (2008)
- Saw VI (2009)
Editor’s Note: Meet Zach aka Drifty. Can you tell Zach likes the Saw movies?
I always love it when friends show enthusiasm towards random movies. Any movie. Even dumb ones. Scratch that, especially dumb ones. After all what’s more fun to talk about? The Terminator or Marriage Story? Popstar or Lincoln? Below Deck or The Crown?
Earlier this week, my friend Zach asked me if I would be posting a ranking of the eight Saw movies in anticipation for Saw IX coming out this May. After doing a double take that there’s been EIGHT of these fucking things, I regretfully informed him that I’ve only seen the first one (which is quite good btw). But I also invited him to write a guest post sharing his personal rankings and general thoughts on the shockingly popular franchise. Less than 24 hours later, I received the content below. Thank you, Zach. I’d like to invite anyone else to submit their passion projects to Rated Greg. As long as you match the fervor and thoughtfulness that Zach has displayed here I promise to post it.
Zach’s post below
The Saw franchise is based on a self righteous psychopath, John Kramer (played by the great Tobin Bell), who after his own personal tragedies decides to test other morally void individuals’ will to live through survivable traps that, if they survive, will give them a newfound appreciation for their lives. The movies follow the harrowing situations people are placed in and the dim witted cops trying to catch John aka Jigsaw. Through a series of apprentices, twists and turns, and gore, these films are a cult classic. Warning: Spoilers
I want to play a game:
Most OK to worst.
- Saw I: the mere fact that there are 8 sequels by definition makes this the Most OK of the films as people thought it was a good idea to follow it up in the first place. There are also a couple famous people like Danny Glover and Carey Elwes. The only other remotely famous person in the first eight films is Donnie Wahlberg who is unceremoniously killed in Saw 4. Released in 2004, this could actually be considered a legitimate thriller with a fantastic twist ending. See, the dead guy in the bathroom the whole time wasn’t dead, he was the killer! Mind. Blown.
- Saw III: get this, the Jigsaw killer, John Kramer, gets killed by having his head nearly cut off with a circular saw in Saw III, and somehow the series continues for six more movies. This alone contributed to the absurdity of the series and unfortunately leads to the introduction of constant flashbacks to keep Jigsaw in the movies. Saw III follows a distraught and completely withdrawn father whose son was killed by a drunk driver. He is placed in the situation of encountering people in harrowing traps involved in his son’s death, including passerbys who did not stop to help, the judge who let the driver off, and the drunk driver himself. This movie has, in my opinion, the most gruesome trap, but it’s the drunk driver in it, so… he probably deserved to have his limbs twisted off right?
- Saw IV: this movie is in a parallel timeline as Saw III and also ends in the sick room where Jigsaw is killed. The premise of the antagonist in the series of traps is quite ridiculous, as his ‘crime’ is that he is always to quick to help / take action and if he just did nothing he would have survived, as would have Donnie Wahlberg (who dies by having two giant ice blocks crush his head in comical fashion). This movie started the process of overly complicating things by creating all sorts of apprentice twists.
- Saw VII: in what was initially titled the Final Chapter, this one focused on a guy who tried to get famous by saying he had survived a Jigsaw trap and wrote a book and was doing the TV circuit. Jigsaw was not happy this guy was lying and, well, put him and his entire production team in real traps. Only real memorable part is when John Kramer’s buxom widow, Jill Tuck, has her head ripped off in the reverse bear trap, which was introduced in Saw I and made various other appearances. This movie also brought back Carey Elwes who, after having to cut off his foot in Saw I, apparently became an apprentice of Jigsaw and helped carry out the games. Surprise!
- Saw II: a group of bad people are trapped in a house full of traps and die off one by one. Unlike Saw I, which only introduces John Kramer at the very end, Saw II focuses heavily on his life and what drove him to play his games and put people in traps. While interesting, II is the slowest of all the films and much of it is just Kramer being interrogated by the dim witted cops. Several famous traps are introduced, including the Venus fly trap and needle pit.
- Saw XIII (Jigsaw): unlike most critics, I found this movie quite entertaining. The first 7 Saws came out consecutively each year and ‘Jigsaw’ came after a 7 year break. It has a different vibe and is much less gory. Somehow the same cinematic trick of using changing time frames allows Jigsaw to remain in this film and convince the audience and dim witted cops (notice a trend) that he is still alive. It turns out to be just another John Kramer apprentice that is using Jigsaw like traps to get revenge on his enemies. ‘Jigsaw’ set things up for another film but I don’t think Saw IX will continue the story.
- Saw 5: more or less a continuation of Saw 4 with cops chasing down each other trying to find Jigsaw’s accomplices. All the while a group of folks are in a series of traps laid out by Jigsaw while he was on his deathbed. The group slowly die one by one until the remaining two realize that the traps were all winnable if the group had worked together rather than sabotaging each other. Ah life lessons…
- Saw VI: by far the least interesting and also most absurdly gory. Almost a social justice piece, Saw XI puts ‘evil’ insurance execs through a series of horrific traps for denying John Kramer his claim due to pre-existing conditions. For one, John Kramer died several movies ago, so enough with the time travel, and two, it’s a little extreme to force a guy to kill one of his co-workers with a shotgun to the face. A really stupid movie.
What to expect in Saw IX (Spiral): doesn’t look like Tobin Bell will be in it, all but discontinuing the original Jigsaw killer’s legacy. I’m guessing this will be more like a crime / police thriller with some references to the original Saw, but it will be it’s own film. One aspect that looks promising is that it was written by Chris Rock. With the success of other comedians turned horror producers (Jordan Peele), Saw IX has potential to be a legitimate film.