Although no list can truly be definitive, we try to make ours as definitive as we can by taking varying factors into consideration including; audience opinions, critic opinions, and box office success.
Ranked from worst to best because it’s more fun that way!
We have tried our best to avoid spoilers, but there may still be some, so a spoiler warning is in place for anyone who’s not seen all 8 Saw films.
8. saw: the final chapter (2010)
So, the opinion was pretty unanimous that this installment was the worst. The traps are brutal – like, far more than any of the others in my opinion, and that’s saying a lot. We have a fun opening, and finally get to see the gruesome Reverse Bear Trap used on someone, but really, that’s all it’s got going for it. We have less Jigsaw, and more of the exceedingly annoying Hoffman. Oh, and a twist that will have you rolling your eyes… It’s still enjoyable enough to watch, but it’s a far cry from where this all started.
7. Saw V (2008)
This 5th installment gets some unfair hate in my opinion, but at the same point, it centers a lot around the smarmy Hoffman, and that’s enough for me to dislike it to be honest. Ohh, and I’m not a fan of the introduction of CGI to the franchise; I’ve always been a fan of the realism and art of practical effects, and it’s something I loved about the earlier installments. That aside, the opening Pendulum Trap with Seth Baxter is awesome, it’s one of my favourites. Strahm’s cat and mouse storyline with Hoffman, and the Trap plot with the 5 selfish people is enjoyable enough, but it’s not the series’ strongest.
6. Jigsaw (2017)
So, on the surface, this film feels fresh with its polished look and heavy CGI, but it’s really just a regurgitation of things we’ve seen before, not anything new. The convoluted plot just leads us to the same ‘secret apprentice’ twist we’ve seen far too many times. However, it was great to see Tobin Bell back as Jigsaw again – he shines throughout the entire series. There are also some really cool traps which make this film enjoyable enough to watch.
5. Saw IV (2007)
There was a new Saw film every year, and starting with this fourth installment you really start to see how the story has been rushed, and the whole franchise storyline starts to get convoluted. The FBI finally get involved in the series after multiple detectives fail to catch an old man with cancer – I mean, I know he’s super intelligent, but still. With Jigsaw dead, we start to delve deeper into his backstory, which is interesting and emotional, but a little unnecessary as we were given a backstory in the second film. This installment just doesn’t really have memorable traps either. It’s not the worst for sure, but it’s definitely a weak entry in the series.
4. Saw vi (2009)
Saw 6 is disliked by critics, and performed terribly at the box office, but it’s a fan favourite. It’s the only film in the series that seemed to have a little fun with it all. There’s a point in a horror franchise where filmmakers need to realise that the audience isn’t taking it seriously anymore, so they shouldn’t either – this allowed them to really deliver with this installment. From Tenedra Howard in the opening to the Shotgun Carousel Trap, there’s a lot to enjoy in this film. The ending is a little lacklustre though.
3. saw iii (2006)
In this emotionally charged chapter we see some the most haunting traps of the series, and the main villains killed off in the climactic ending, so that’s that, right? Well, as you can see from this list, not so much. There’s always a way to continue a horror franchise. That aside, I love Shawnee Smith (Amanda) and Bahar Soomekh (Dr Lynn Denlon) in this, they bring a depth to their characters which is rare in a horror film. This installment gives us yet another great twist at the end, and the scariest trap: The Rack. I struggle to watch that scene everytime and find myself shouting at the screen ‘ohh God no’ everytime his head does that first click of a turn and you realise it’s all over.
2. saw ii (2005)
So, this film basically gives us a chance to see what Saw could have been with a bigger budget. Although the low budget and creative ingenious of the first Saw gives it a lot of charm, this installment allows us to see more extravagant traps, more gore, and SWAT teams. In this film we get to delve into the psyche of Jigsaw – I love that we get to see more of Tobin Bell, he does such a great job with this character. There’s also another great twist ending to this one. A lot of people cringe at the Needle Pit Trap, but for me it goes to the opening Venus Fly Trap… trap. Gouge your eye out in 60 seconds? I’d rather not.
1. saw (2004)
Of course the original would come first. This low budget gem launched the careers of James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who have since become modern masterminds in the horror genre. The franchises sequels may have fallen further and further into the ‘torture porn’ sub-genre, but this installment is much more psychological – their tight budget meant there is actually very little on-screen gore. This film genuinely terrified me when I first watched it, and I just remember me and my brothers staring agape at the TV during those ending minutes. That iconic ‘Game Over’ ending with the awesome Charlie Clouser music! Saw is my all time favourite horror film, and I was glad to find that the opinion was almost unanimous that this one is the best in the series.