Saw (franchise): Wikis


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Saw franchise
Saw movie logo.jpg
Creator James Wan
Leigh Whannell
Original work "Saw" (short film)
Print publications
Comics Saw: Rebirth
Films and television
Films Saw
Saw II
Saw IV
Saw V
Saw VI
Television series Scream Queens
Video games Saw: The Video Game
Soundtracks Saw
Saw II
Saw IV (score)
Saw V
Saw VI
Original music "Hello Zepp"
Toys Billy the puppet
Amusement Park Saw: The Ride
"Saw: Game Over"
"SAW Alive"

Saw is an American horror franchise that currently consists of six films distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment and various other forms of media. The franchise began with the 2003 short film, which was created by director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell to potentially pitch it as a feature film—which was successfully done in 2004 with the first feature film being released at the Sundance Film Festival and released theatrically the following October. The sequels were directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, David Hackl and Kevin Greutert and was written by Whannel, Bousman, Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan, and has been released subsequently every October, the Friday before Halloween. The creators still remain with the franchise as executive producers.

The franchise revolves around the fictional character of John Kramer, also called the "Jigsaw Killer", introduced briefly in Saw and in more detail in Saw II, who would rather than kill his victims outright, traps them in situations, which he calls "tests" or "games", to test their will to live via physical or psychological torture. Despite the fact that John was murdered in Saw III, the films continue to focus on the posthumous effects of the Jigsaw Killer and his apprentices while showing more of John's character via flashbacks.

The film series as a whole has received mixed reviews by critics, but has been a financial success at the box office. While the films are often compared to Hostel and classified as torture porn by the media, the creators of Saw disagree with the term "torture porn".[1] Writer Luke Y. Thompson of OC Weekly argued that unlike Hostel, the Saw films actually have less torture than most in the sense of sadism or masochism, as most "torture" is self-inflicted by the characters (and sometimes completely inevitable).[2]



Flashbacks from Saw IV reveal the earliest roots of the series, presenting John Kramer as a successful civil engineer and devoted husband to his wife Jill Tuck, who opened a rehab clinic for drug addicts. Jill lost her unborn baby, Gideon, due to the unwitting actions of a drug addict named Cecil, who fled the scene. Saw VI later showed that another drug addict, Amanda Young, also had an unintentional role in the death of Gideon. John grieved over the loss of his child and distanced himself from his friends and his wife.

John and Jill eventually drifted apart and divorced. After this turn of events, John found himself trapped by his own complacency, until he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. Extremely bitter over his squandered life, John began observing the lives of others and became even more depressed as he saw those around him squandering the gift of life that he had just been denied. After surviving a suicide attempt where he drove his car off a cliff, John was "reborn", and nurtured the idea that the only way for someone to change is for them to change themselves. He designed a test for Cecil and decided to use the rest of his existence to design more of these "tests" as a form of "rehabilitation" that would change the world "one person at a time". John was soon given the name "Jigsaw Killer" (or "Jigsaw"), so named because he removed a puzzle-piece-shaped chunk of flesh from those who do not escape his traps. John himself states that this name was given to him by the media, and that the cut piece of flesh was meant to represent that these victims were each missing something, what he called the "survival instinct".

Few of Jigsaw's victims are able to survive his brutal tests, which are often ironically symbolic representations of the problems in the victim's life and require them to undergo severe physical or psychological torture to escape.

In Saw V, Lieutenant Mark Hoffman's ties with John are revealed in a series of flashbacks during the film. Hoffman's sister is murdered by her boyfriend, Seth Baxter. Seth is arrested, however, a technicality allowed him to be released, and Hoffman, feeling Seth had not served the full capacity of his sentence, kills him in an inescapable trap designed to look like one of Jigsaw's, laying the blame on him. Jigsaw then kidnaps Hoffman and blackmails him into becoming his apprentice in his "rehabilitation" methods, though eventually Hoffman would become a willing apprentice, helping set up John's tests from almost the beginning, starting with Paul’s trap.

The first surviving victim, Amanda Young, views Jigsaw as a hero who ultimately changed her life for the better. Amanda, upon Jigsaw's request, agrees to become his protégé.

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In Saw, Jigsaw has chained the man who diagnosed his cancer, Dr. Lawrence Gordon, in a dilapidated industrial washroom with Adam Faulkner-Stanheight, a photographer who has been tailing the doctor due to a former police detective's suspicions that Gordon is Jigsaw. Lawrence has instructions to kill Adam in six hours, or else his wife and daughter will be killed. Meanwhile, detectives David Tapp and Steven Sing, who suspect Lawrence of being Jigsaw, follow a trail of clues from other Jigsaw traps ultimately leading to their deaths. Eventually, Lawrence saws his own foot off in order to escape, leaving Adam in the bathroom while Lawrence goes to try to save his family and get help for Adam. Flashbacks from later films show that Amanda later returned and suffocated Adam as a "mercy killing"; it would be the first time she deliberately intervened during a test and killed someone.

Saw II begins with the police tracking a severely weakened Jigsaw to his latest lair. However, another test is in place, as he and Amanda have kidnapped the son of Detective Eric Matthews and trapped him and a group of seven convicts, previously framed by Matthews, in a house that is slowly being filled with sarin gas, with Amanda Young among them. He will trade Daniel Matthews' life for Detective Matthews' time, conversing with him until the game is concluded. Matthews loses his patience and assaults Jigsaw, forcing Jigsaw to take him to the house, only to discover that the video feed from inside the house had been pre-recorded, the events actually taking place much earlier; Matthews' son was locked in a safe in Jigsaw's warehouse, being kept alive with an oxygen tank. Matthews is knocked unconscious by a masked figure and wakes up imprisoned in the bathroom from Saw, which is part of the foundation of the house. Amanda reveals herself to Eric as Jigsaw's protégé before leaving him to die. In the next two movies, Matthews manages to escape the bathroom by breaking his foot. He confronts and beats Amanda, demanding to know where his son is. Amanda fights him off and leaves him for dead. An unknown figure later drags Eric to a prison cell, keeping him for a future game.

The events of Saw III and IV occur concurrently. Saw III begins with Jigsaw, weakened and near death, confined to a makeshift hospital bed. Amanda has taken over his work, designing traps of her own; however, these traps are inescapable, as Amanda is convinced that Jigsaw's traps have no effect and that people don't change. A kidnapped doctor is forced to keep Jigsaw alive while another test is performed on Jeff, a man obsessed with vengeance against the drunk driver who killed his son. Jigsaw, unwilling to allow "a murderer" to continue his legacy, designs a test for Amanda as well; she ultimately fails, and it results in the deaths of both Jigsaw and Amanda. Saw IV, meanwhile, revolves around tests meant for Officer Rigg, which are overseen by Hoffman. Rigg fails his test, resulting in the death of Eric Matthews. Rigg is left to bleed to death by Hoffman, who later discovers the bodies of Jigsaw and Amanda. When an autopsy is performed on Jigsaw, a cassette tape coated in wax is found in his stomach; the tape informs Hoffman that he is wrong to think that it is all over just because Jigsaw is dead, and he should not expect to go untested.

The events of V show one of Hoffman's first solo tests, five people connected together by different roles in a disastrous fire that killed several others are put into four interconnected tests of teamwork, killing off one person in each trap. The two remaining test subjects realize at the final trap that each previous trap was meant to be completed by each of the five people doing a small part, rather than killing one person per trap. With this, the two work together and barely manage to escape from the series of traps, though it is currently unclear as to whether or not they survived afterwards. Meanwhile, Hoffman has set up Peter Strahm to appear to be Jigsaw's accomplice, while Strahm pursues Hoffman and is eventually killed due to the inability to follow Hoffman's rules, leaving Hoffman free to continue Jigsaw's "work".

Saw VI begins with Hoffman setting up a game as per John's instructions left in a box for Jill during Saw V. This game centers around an insurance executive named William Easton who oversees a team responsible for rejecting two-thirds of all insurance applications. As William progresses through four tests, he saves as many people as he can and learns the error of his choice to reject so many policies, which inherently "kill" the rejected. His last test is revealed to be a test of forgiveness by the family of a man who William rejected a policy to in the past, who ultimately choose to kill William using Hydrofluoric acid. Meanwhile, Agent Erickson and the previously thought to be dead agent Perez search for Agent Strahm with the assistance of Hoffman. Upon finding irregularities in previous murder scenes, Perez and Erickson discover Hoffman's identity, but are killed by him before they have a chance to report him. Hoffman travels back to the site of William's tests where Jill attacks him to obey John's final request. She leaves Hoffman in a new Reverse-Bear Trap left behind by John where he is able to manipulate the trap and escape wounded. Hoffman is left in the area, screaming, with his face mangled by Jill's trap.


UK Complete DVD set of the first five films
  • Saw, released on October 29, 2004.
  • Saw II, released on October 28, 2005.
  • Saw III, released on October 27, 2006.
  • Saw IV, released on October 26, 2007.
  • Saw V, released on October 24, 2008.
  • Saw VI, released on October 23, 2009.


  • "Saw", a 2003 short film that served as a promotional tool in pitching the film's potential to Lions Gate Entertainment, included on the DVD release of Saw.
  • "Hello Zepp", the Saw series staple theme music used in every Saw film, and several other films since.
  • Saw: Rebirth, a comic book prequel to the original film released to promote Saw II. Its canonicity was later contradicted by events in Saw IV.
  • Saw, a video game set between the first two films in the series, initially released on October 6, 2009.[3][4][5]
  • Saw: Das Spiel, a 2007 browser based, fan made, online game. It is a point-and-click game set outside the immediate film plotlines.
  • "Saw: The Ride", opened on March 13, 2009 at Thorpe Park. The ride features themes from the Saw series and includes a 100 foot, 100 degree drop.
  • "Saw: Game Over", a 2009 maze made by Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights, based on characters, traps, and scenes from the films.[6] At the Universal Studios Hollywood rendition of Horror Nights it was titled Saw: Game Over, while at the Universal Studios Florida rendition, it was simply titled Saw.



Film Director Writer(s) Producer(s)
Saw (2004) James Wan Story by James Wan & Leigh Whannell
Screenplay by Leigh Whannell
Mark Burg
Oren Koules
Gregg Hoffman
Saw II (2005) Darren Lynn Bousman Leigh Whannell & Darren Lynn Bousman
Saw III (2006) Story by James Wan & Leigh Whannell
Screenplay by Leigh Whannell
Saw IV (2007) Story by Thomas Fenton & Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan
Screenplay by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan
Saw V (2008) David Hackl Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan Mark Burg
Oren Koules
Saw VI (2009) Kevin Greutert[7]
Saw VII (2010)


List indicator(s)

  • Italics indicate appearances in flashback or archive footage from previous films.
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Character Film
Saw Saw II Saw III Saw IV Saw V Saw VI Saw VII
John Kramer/Jigsaw Tobin Bell[8]
Amanda Young Shawnee Smith Shawnee Smith Shawnee Smith
Mark Hoffman Costas Mandylor[9]
Jill Tuck Betsy Russell[8]
Allison Kerry Dina Meyer Dina Meyer
Eric Matthews Donnie Wahlberg Donnie Wahlberg
Daniel Rigg Lyriq Bent Lyriq Bent
Jeff Reinhart Angus Macfadyen Angus Macfadyen
Lynn Denlon Bahar Soomekh Bahar Soomekh
Peter Strahm Scott Patterson Scott Patterson
Lindsey Perez Athena Karkanis Athena Karkanis Athena Karkanis
Dan Erickson Mark Rolston
Adam Stanheight Leigh Whannell Leigh Whannell
Lawrence Gordon Cary Elwes Cary Elwes[10]


Box office

Film Release date Revenue Rank
(All time domestic)
Budget References
United States Foreign Worldwide
Saw October 29, 2004 (2004-10-29) $55,185,045 $47,911,300 $103,096,345 #996 $1,200,000 [11]
Saw II October 25, 2005 (2005-10-25) $87,039,965 $65,900,000 $147,739,965 #524 $4,000,000 [12][13]
Saw III October 27, 2006 (2006-10-27) $80,238,724 $84,635,551 $164,874,275 #596 $10,000,000 [14]
Saw IV October 26, 2007 (2007-10-26) $63,300,095 $76,052,538 $139,352,633 #843 $10,000,000 [15]
Saw V October 24, 2008 (2008-10-24) $56,746,769 $57,110,764 $113,857,533 #965 $10,800,000 [16]
Saw VI October 23, 2009 (2009-10-23) $27,693,292 $31,670,530 $59,363,822 #1,978 $11,000,000 [17]
Total $370,203,890 $363,280,683 $733,484,573 N/A $47,000,000 N/A

Critical reaction

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Yahoo! Movies
Overall Cream of the Crop
Saw 47% (158 reviews)[18] 29% (31 reviews)[19] 46% (32 reviews)[20] B- (12 reviews)[21]
Saw II 35% (113 reviews)[22] 23% (26 reviews)[23] 40% (28 reviews)[24] C (11 reviews) [25]
Saw III 25% (80 reviews)[26] 6% (17 reviews)[27] 48% (16 reviews)[28] C (5 reviews) [29]
Saw IV 18% (68 reviews)[30] 0% (14 reviews)[31] 36% (16 reviews)[32] N/A
Saw V 15% (62 reviews)[33] 9% (11 reviews)[34] 19% (12 reviews)[35] D (7 reviews)[36]
Saw VI 42% (59 reviews)[37] 25% (8 reviews)[38] 30% (12 reviews)[39] N/A
Average 30% 15% 37% N/A



In 2009, when discussing the future of the franchise, producer Troy Begnaud stated that if fan reception continued to be positive, the franchise would continue. When asked the specifics, he mentioned a 3D film as a possibility, but had not been officially discussed.[40]

On July 18, 2009 it was reported that the writers of the fourth, fifth, and sixth entries, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, would return to write a seventh film in the franchise.[41] This was confirmed later in the same month when David Hackl, director of the fifth installment, and Saw producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules were also confirmed to be returning to make the seventh installment.[42] During an event regarding the Dunstan and Melton penned film The Collector, it was confirmed that the 3D sequel will most likely be the seventh film, which is set to be released October 2010, keeping with the franchise releasing a film in that month.[43][44] On October 14, 2009 franchise owner and producer Mark Burg, and co-writer Marcus Dunstan announced that Saw VII will be in 3-D and production is slated to begin in January 2010 for an October 2010 release.[45] Since then, Lions Gate have confirmed that Costas Mandylor will return for VII and also confirmed an October 22, 2010 release date.[46] On November 20, 2009 Saw VII co-writer Patrick Melton stated in an interview on Demon FM conducted by Matt Horn and David Murphy, that he had a "strong feeling" that Saw VII would be the last installment since Saw VI did poorly at the box office.[47] On January 26, 2010 it was reported that Hackl had been dropped, and the director of Saw VI and editor of SawSaw V, Kevin Greutert would direct, two weeks before filming is planned to begin. Greutert was about to begin work on Paramount Pictures' Paranormal Activity 2, which is also planned to be released on October 22, 2010, when Lionsgate dismissed Hackl and hired Greutert.[7]

Video games

Concerning the video games, Konami currently owns the rights to the Saw interactive property. While no plans have been made, Konami stated in mid-2009 that they wanted the make Saw a series of video games to supplement the films. They also wish to make Saw their next big survival horror franchise next to their other property, Silent Hill. They stated that because Saw focuses on visual intensity and Silent Hill focuses on psychological terror, both could exist in the video game industry without directly competing against each other. Following the release of the first Saw game on October 6 2009, no plans for a sequel entering production have been confirmed.[48]

Other media

It was announced in October 2009 that UK's Thorpe Park would be adding a new Saw attraction to the park dubbed "SAW Alive". It will feature the first ever year round live action horror maze with six iconic scenes from the six films released to date. It is scheduled to open March 2010.[49]


  • Following the release of Saw V the franchise became the most successful horror franchise based on US domestic box office, grossing more than the Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and Friday the 13th franchises in unadjusted dollars.[50] Following the release of the reboot of Friday the 13th, and before Saw VI's release it was pushed back to second place.[51]
  • Both II and III broke records when they were released in the holiday period of Halloween. Both movies managed to top the "Halloween Weekend Openers" Saw II premiered with $31.7 million in 2005, and Saw III, which bowed to a slightly higher $33.6 mil in 2006. Saw IV premiered at $32.1 million, making it number one at the box office on Halloween weekend 2007.[52][53]
  • The first five movies in the Saw series grossed over $50 million, putting them in the top 10 all-time highest total gross for Lions Gate.[54]
  • On IGN's list of the top twenty-five movie franchises of all time, the Saw series ranks as number twenty-five.[55]


  1. ^ "Saw IV Press Conference". Retrieved 2007. 
  2. ^ "Why Torture Porn Isn't". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  3. ^ James and Leigh to consult on Saw videogame
  4. ^ Wingfield, Nick (2007-06-04). "A Start Up's Risky Niche: Movie-Based Videogames". The Wall Street Journal. 
  5. ^ "Saw announced". 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  6. ^ "Sneek Peak At Universal's Saw: Game Over Maze!". Shock Till You Drop. 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  7. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (January 25, 2010). "'Saw 3D' vs 'Paranormal Activity 2' Battle Gets Bloody For Halloween 2010 Box Office". Deadline Hollywood Daily. Media. Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Betsy Russell Talks Saw VII 3D!". MovieWeb. MovieWeb Inc.. February 8, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  9. ^ Krueger, Kyle (November 12, 2009). "First Actor Announced". Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Toronto Film & Television Office Current List" (PDF). Toronto Film & Television Office. February 22, 2010. Archived from the original on February 27, 2010. Retrieved February 27, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Saw (2004)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  12. ^ "Saw II (2005)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Movie Saw II - Box Office Data". The-Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Saw III (2006)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Saw IV (2007)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Saw V (2008)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved November 1, 2009. 
  17. ^ "Saw VI (2009)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Saw". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Saw (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 2, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Saw (2004): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Saw - Critics Reviews". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Saw II". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  23. ^ "Saw II (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 2, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Saw II (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  25. ^ "Saw II - Critics Reviews". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Saw III". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Saw III (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 2, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Saw III (2006): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  29. ^ "Saw III - Critics Reviews". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Saw IV". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  31. ^ "Saw IV (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved June 2, 2008. 
  32. ^ "Saw IV (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 4, 2008. 
  33. ^ "Saw V". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 28, 2008. 
  34. ^ "Saw V (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  35. ^ "Saw V (2008): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  36. ^ "Saw V - Critics Reviews". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Saw VI". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  38. ^ "Saw VI (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 24, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Saw VI (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 24, 2009. 
  40. ^ "B-D Chats With the Cast and Crew of Saw VI, New Traps Revealed!". 
  41. ^ "Duo sparked by 'Project Greenlight'". Variety. 2009-07-18. 
  42. ^ "Deals cut for 'Saw VII'". Variety. 2009-07-25. 
  43. ^ "EXCL: Saw VII Coming at You in 3-D". Shock Till You Drop. 2009-07-31. 
  44. ^ "New SAW VI clip, SAW VII, and The Strangers 2". Cinematical. 2009-07-24. 
  45. ^ "Saw VI Producer and Co-writer Marcus Dunstan Talk Saw VII 3-D and Saw VIII". Collider. 2009-10-14. 
  46. ^ "Saw VII 3D Takes a Release Date". Shock Till You Drop. 2009-11-11. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  47. ^ "Interview and QA With Patrick Melton". Demon FM. 2009-11-20. 
  48. ^ "Will Saw Be Konami's Second Great Horror Franchise?". The Cut Scene. 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  49. ^ "Thorpe: SAW Alive exclusive details". Haunted Attractions. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  50. ^ ""Saw': The Most Successful Franchise in Horror History?"". Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Halloween Openers - Saw II and III highest gross". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  53. ^ Rich, Joshua (2007-10-28). "'Saw' Conquers". Entertainment Weekly.,,20155409,00.html. 
  54. ^ "All Saw films reach Lions Gate top 5". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  55. ^ "IGN: Top 25 Movie Franchises of All Time: #25". IGN Entertainment. 2006-11-20. 

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