After checking out Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (2021), I had completed the dubious quest of seeing all nine movies within or based on the “Saw” movies. This horror gore fest began in 2004 and has spread itself out 17 years in an attempt to make the big bucks. With the exception of Saw VI (2009), every movie has amassed over 100 million dollars world wide. There is large doubt that Spiral makes anything near that, but still Twisted Pictures and everyone involved with Saw has to be somewhat happy.

But let’s just get into this. Speaking personally, I am not a huge fan of the Saw movies. I don’t do gore horror well and when the franchise started to emphasis buckets of blood over characters, I was almost completely out. The only reason I put myself through this visual torture is the fact I am a completionist.


9. Saw IV

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan, Thomas Fenton
Staring: Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor
Release: October 26, 2007

This is the first movie I remember when the franchise jumped the shark and focused JUST on the torture aspect. The traps were disgusting and absurd. The flashbacks become more frequent so the confusion scale gets amplified with every plot twist the movie throws at us.


8. Spiral: From The Book Of Saw

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Henry Gilroy, Steven Melching, Scott Murphy
Staring: Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols
Release Date: May 14, 2021

Good god the dialogue in this movie was so bad. The acting was also really bad. The twists were also really bad. The only reason it isn’t the worst for me is because the gore aspect is not as gushing as some of its predecessors. It may actually be a worse movie than Saw IV, but it was more tolerable.


7. Saw III

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Staring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Bahar Soomekh
Release: October 27, 2006

Okay, I am officially too grossed out. The Rack was too much and everything about this was so so much. The psychological aspect was gone with Jigsaw was killed off. There is the twist with the timeline of the movie and the trail for Amanda is a solid swing. But they killed off the best character. They killed off the best balancing act of the franchise.


6. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

Director: Kevin Greutert
Writers: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
Staring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Cary Elwes
Release: October 29, 2010

Maybe it is because I went in with the lowest expectations, but Saw 3D: The Final Chapter was what I expected. I had to finish it to complete the franchise, and that was the sole sole reason. The traps were strictly made for 3D at the end of the 3D bubble. It was impossible for this movie to wrap up everything the Saw franchise knotted itself with.


5. Jigsaw

Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Writers: Josh Stolberg, Pete Goldfinger
Staring: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson
Release: October 27, 2017

A perfectly fine movie that was better than I thought it would be. Is Jigsaw good? No. Is Jigsaw tolerable? Maybe.

Jigsaw is like a half-prequel and half-sequel? Again the timeline of the Saw franchise is more convoluted than a soap opera’s love triangle.


4. Saw II

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writers: Leigh Whannell, Darren Lynn Bousman
Staring: Donnie Whalberg, Beverly Mitchell, Shawnee Smith
Release: October 28, 2005

The needle trap still scars me. I am not a fan of needles or blood letting, so that was not a good time!

The psychological aspects of the original Saw (2004) are hampered a bit for the shock factor, but the surprise twist at the end makes up for it. It is not often a sequel delivers as strong as a plot twist as its predecessor, but Saw II at least lands in the same ballpark.


3. Saw V

Director: David Hackl
Writers: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
Staring: Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor
Release: October 24, 2008

We have the eerie character Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) getting more of the focus in Saw V and that is for the better. They fixed the bridge that was Saw IV where there was not compelling bad guy. It is funny how the tag line for the movie was “You Won’t Believe How It Ends” but in reality this was not nearly the end of the Saw franchise.


2. Saw VI

Director: Kevin Greutert
Writers: Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan
Staring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Mark Rolston, Shawnee Smith
Release: October 23, 2009

In Saw VI, the screen writers of Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan took a step back from the torture and delved a bit more into the story. Not a whole lot, but a little bit. The torture is still there but it is accented by some social commentary on the health care system within the United States.


1. Saw

Director: James Wan
Writers: Leigh Whannell, James Wan
Staring: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover, Tobin Bell
Release: October 29, 2004

There is no doubt in this right? This is what James Wan created and established his name of horror in. When Saw came out, it revolutionized horror and what people expect from it. There were new gore-fest franchises launched but none could match this first ground-breaker.

I acknowledge that Saw is a horror movie staple for many, but it still was not entirely for me. The saving grace of Saw is its ending. When Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) rises up from the ground and makes his presence known, that is just goosebump inducing stuff. Just so fucking cool.

We also thought we saw the end of Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) with this scene, but such was not the case.

“Game Over.”

STANKO RATING: C+ (2.5/5 Stars)


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