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The Fault in Our Saws: How ‘Jigsaw’ Can Learn From the Franchise’s Mistakes

The Fault in Our Saws: How ‘Jigsaw’ Can Learn From the Franchise’s Mistakes

The Saw series is many things, including addictively watchable and undeniably iconic, but it is certainly not consistent. A graph outlining the franchise’s quality from beginning to end would look a lot like a roller coaster, with plenty of peaks and valleys even within a single installment. It’s not exactly fair to say that the whole thing went downhill beyond a certain point, especially considering how fantastic the penultimate entry is, but some of Saw’s worst tendencies came out in full force in the latter half, and there’s plenty of room for rehabilitation going into Jigsaw. So looking back on all seven Saw movies, what were some of the mistakes that were made, and in what ways can Jigsaw learn from them?

Among Saw’s most fatal flaws is that after the death of John Kramer, it was unable to find a similarly compelling antagonist in Mark Hoffman. Even though the Jigsaw Killer mostly remains off screen until the very end of the original movie, he is still a fascinating villain whose twisted ideology we understand through his actions alone, and his motivations are expanded upon in the brilliant Saw II. But from Saw IV onward, his successor is just a boring police officer who was blackmailed into becoming his apprentice. We discover that Detective Hoffman killed the man who murdered his sister and made it look like a Jigsaw trap, so then the real Jigsaw kidnapped Hoffman and forced him into being his number two. If Hoffman did not oblige, John Kramer would expose him as a murderer. Needless to say, it’s not nearly as interesting to watch a villain who is literally forced into becoming villainous as it is to watch someone who becomes villainous for specific personal reasons or because he believes he is performing a public service.

Additionally, it’s never entirely clear to what degree Hoffman is doing what he does to prevent his identity from being exposed and to what degree he’s enjoying it. When John Kramer dies, Hoffman continues the games, but is that because he thinks the blackmail threat is still active or is it because he wants to be the new Jigsaw? It seems that the former is the case, as, in Saw VI, Hoffman says that he is carrying out John’s final requests and that the games are almost over, implying he has no plans to continue after completing what John laid out for him. But why does he think it’s so necessary to execute John’s last few games anyway? Sure, John sounded vaguely threatening on the tape discovered during the autopsy. But as far as Hoffman knows, the only person aware of his identity is Jill, who doesn’t seem like she’s going to squeal on him in Saw V or Saw VI, and in fact, she helps Hoffman shift suspicion onto Agent Strahm. Hoffman does remark in a flashback in Saw VI that he wants the victims to suffer, so perhaps at some point, he consciously chooses to keep the games going for his own pleasure, but if that’s the case, this crucial decision apparently happened off screen.

Part of the issue is that Hoffman doesn’t really interact with anyone who knows his secret other than when he gets a few scenes with Jill, so he just sort of silently does things without having a character to bounce his ideas off of like John had. It’s not always necessary to completely break down a villain’s modus operandi, but Hoffman gets a tremendous amount of screen time for someone who we never fully understand or connect with. It’s like Breaking Bad but if Bryan Cranston’s face was super unexpressive and there were no Jesse or Skyler for him to talk to. The way the series manages to retain John Kramer as the main villain even four movies after his death is actually pretty cool and inventive, but this would have worked a lot better had Hoffman been given a coherent journey of his own rather than essentially functioning as Jigsaw’s surrogate, acting the way Jigsaw wants him to act for reasons that are continuously confusing. Perhaps the series would have been stronger had Hoffman and Amanda’s functions been reversed, as Amanda is an excellent character played flawlessly by Shawnee Smith, and her motivations are always well communicated. Unfortunately, like John himself, she dies too soon.

Another fault in the series is its overreliance on flashbacks and its propensity for looking backward rather than forwards. In hindsight, killing off John in the third movie was undoubtedly a mistake. Because no one wanted to get rid of Tobin Bell permanently, the next three films rely very heavily on flashbacks in order to keep him around. The effectiveness of these flashbacks is mixed, but in certain cases, they really distract and slow down the movie. Sometimes the films return to events from several sequels ago seemingly just to answer questions from the Saw message boards at risk of interrupting the flow of the present narrative. In Saw IV, we get a whole subplot involving John setting up his first trap that has little relevance and is mainly an excuse to give Tobin Bell something to do. In Saw V, we get scene after scene of Hoffman helping John set up traps from the earlier movies, and few insights are gleamed other than that this is how a frail cancer patient and a skinny young woman were able to accomplish so much heavy lifting. Even in Saw III, before John’s death, we double back on the first two movies far more than is necessary, with one three-minute long sequence just showing Amanda and John setting up the bathroom trap and explaining how John was able to pass for a dead body and why Adam’s key went down the drain.

Even worse than being unnecessary, sometimes revisiting what came before with these flashbacks unintentionally harms the earlier movies. For instance, information revealed in Saw VI retroactively ruins a lot of Saw III’s appeal. The final reveal of Saw III, of course, is that the whole game was a test for Amanda, who needed to learn to follow the rules and give victims a way to live. Amanda and John promised Lynn she could leave under certain conditions, but when those conditions are met, Amanda freaks out and declares that Lynn doesn’t deserve to be let go. This sets the final sequence into motion and leads to Amanda’s undoing, with the message being that Jigsaw’s methods don’t seem to help people after all. Amanda did not become a reformed person because she survived a torture game, and her failure ultimately results in her death and in Jigsaw’s legacy presumably not continuing on. Amanda choosing to shoot Lynn and deciding she doesn’t believe in John’s philosophy is a big part of her arc.

Unfortunately, Saw VI retcons that and reveals that Amanda was actually being blackmailed by Hoffman. Yes, this would be the second time that the franchise has lazily explained a character’s motivations with a blackmail plot. See, Amanda was partially responsible for the death of John Kramer’s unborn child, something that Hoffman discovered. And so he told Amanda that if she did not kill Lynn, he would share this information with John. This largely invalidates the arc of Amanda in the third film. Now, upon rewatch, we’re not witnessing an emotionally traumatized woman experience a breakdown, reject Jigsaw’s teachings and fail his game; we’re watching a woman who is being compelled to act a certain way so as to keep a secret hidden, and this is the only reason she fails. The letter helps establish that Hoffman is actively taking steps to remove himself from Jigsaw’s world, and it gives Jill a reason to want to kill him, but as a side effect, it damages the earlier movies.

There’s another instance of this in Saw IV, which for some reason provides a totally new origin story for John Kramer that changes a lot about who he is as a character. In Saw II, we learn that he’s a cancer patient who attempted suicide and after surviving decided that he would use his remaining time on Earth to teach people lessons about valuing their existence. But in Saw IV, it’s revealed that John started to go off the deep end even before the cancer diagnosis due to the loss of his unborn child. He seems to be heading down a dark path prior to learning he has cancer, and his first victim is Cecil, the man who caused the death of his child. Suddenly, the Jigsaw Killer has been transformed into a sad old man who started torturing people because he was angry after a personal loss, which isn’t quite as alluring as when he was a dying man who has become convinced that people must go through trauma in order to be reborn.

In terms of the traps, the Saw series generally suffers when they feel less like games and more like torture devices. This occurs when we as the audience are effectively just watching characters being brutalized without seeing them make tough decisions or have a chance at getting themselves out of the situation. The first time that becomes an issue is in Saw III, when Jeff’s actions are required for all of the victims to be saved, but he is so indecisive that one scene consists almost entirely of a terrified naked woman freezing to death, which is much different than a woman being given an opportunity to survive but having to do something horrible to save herself. It isn’t so much a problem because it’s inconsistent with Jigsaw’s philosophy as much as it is a problem because it’s gross to watch, and not in a good way. Later in the movie, we witness a man slowly having his arms and legs snapped as he cries out in pain and Jeff only kind of tries to help, and it feels unnecessarily brutal even for a Saw film.

When critics accuse the Saw series of being nothing but people getting tortured, they’re usually wrong, but the franchise does occasionally venture into that territory with traps like The Rack, where there technically is a game involved with Jeff needing to obtain a key but where in practice the scene is basically just a man dying horribly without having any sort of agency. Starting with Saw III, there are also some traps that are unwinnable, which is a part of the plot and not some oversight; Amanda designs them this way because she feels that the victims are not deserving of survival. As the series progresses, we get more unwinnable traps for various reasons, but regardless of the in-universe justification for it, the movies are simply more fun when the games can be won and the outcome is in the victim’s hands. Who wants to watch a man be gradually cut in half by a pendulum with no way to escape, or a man be trapped in a box that slowly fills with water?

In Saw VI, which overall is one of the finest films in the series, there are more traps that do seem to betray Jigsaw’s principles. John Kramer claims he never commits murder and that everyone in his games has a chance at survival. Yet almost every trap in the sixth movie requires at least one person to die. This can’t be chalked up to Hoffman betraying Jigsaw’s original vision because these traps were definitely designed by John Kramer himself. After all, John appears via video to explain them. Then again, there’s always been a bit of this hypocrisy in Jigsaw, as in the first film, Amanda’s game requires her to kill her cellmate, a man who presumably didn’t have any role in his own survival. But Saw VI makes it much more prevalent by having almost every game be this way, and the fact that the movie never acknowledges a shift forces us to question whether Jigsaw’s hypocrisy is meant to be a plot point or whether the franchise is just losing interest in its original purpose.

The greatest Saw traps are the ones that make us question how we would handle being put in that situation. Would you be able to cut out your own eye or saw off your own leg if that’s what it took to survive? Would you be capable of jumping into a pit of dirty syringes in order to get the antidote to a poison flowing through your veins? Could you decide which of two people deserves to live when both of them are right in front of you looking you in the eye? The least memorable traps in the series don’t leave us asking any of these questions (“would you be able to…lie below a pendulum and get cut in half?”) and are mostly intended to deliver shocking gore and brutality, something that Jigsaw will hopefully steer clear of in favor of emphasizing the original appeal of the games, complete with clues, clear instructions, and characters who have agency and can affect whether they live or die.

Speaking of which, the whole idea behind this series is that the Jigsaw Killer targets flawed people who need to be taught some kind of lesson, but the franchise often erred by selecting victims where Jigsaw’s reasoning for picking them seemed flimsy, to say the least. In Saw IV, the main test subject is a police officer whose primary shortcoming is that he once got mad and punched a man who was abusing his child; he seems to just be a normal cop who is sometimes a bit too quick to rush into a situation. In Saw V, a lawyer is seemingly chosen because he defends criminals, i.e. does his job. In Saw VI, a janitor is chosen because he works for a health insurance company (or is it because he smokes?). By the time we get to the opening of Saw 3D, Jigsaw is apparently getting involved in the relationship problems of the local college kids, and it’s a far cry from the days when he was selecting serial rapists. The victims don’t always have to be awful people, but we should at least feel that there’s a lesson at the core of their game that someone like the Jigsaw Killer would feel is worth teaching. Hopefully, with Jigsaw, the film sticks to victims who were clearly selected for specific, logical reasons.

It became tradition after the first Saw film to always conclude with a massive twist. That ending with John Kramer standing up from the bathroom floor was so mind-boggling that Darren Lynn Bousman felt the need to try to top it in Saw II, and this was kept going in every film after that. Typically the highlight of each Saw sequel is that moment at the end when “Hello, Zepp” kicks in and all of the pieces begin to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, and the best Saw reveals are the ones that blow the audience’s mind but that in retrospect we realize were subtly foreshadowed. In Saw, a sketch of the reverse bear trap is seen in front of John in the hospital, implying he is the killer. In Saw II, John specifically tells Matthews that his son is in a safe place and that all he has to do is talk to him; indeed, that’s all he had to do, and his son is literally in a safe. In Saw IV, Mark Hoffman says in a throwaway line, “Why don’t we start from the end and work our way backward?” The final twist is that the autopsy scene at the beginning of the movie actually takes place after the events of the rest of the film; the movie has therefore started at the end just like Hoffman said. We don’t make much of these things at the time, but in retrospect, we realize how key they were.

But the series occasionally ran into some problems when it made the twist way too obvious. In Saw V, one of the big reveals is that the victims were meant to work together, with every trap being intended for five people and with all of the deaths being unnecessary. But that’s fairly apparent almost immediately. In the very first trap, which involves five victims needing to grab a key to prevent themselves from being decapitated, it seems like one person could easily grab all the keys at once, or at least grab multiple keys, and we’re left scratching our heads wondering why the characters never consider the possibility of using teamwork. That continues into the next trap when there’s definitely enough room for more than one person to take cover from the explosion in each chamber, yet for some reason, no one suggests doing so. When the protagonists at the end come to the profound realization that they weren’t meant to kill each other, we can’t help but laugh that the movie thought this would be a surprise.

Similarly, the last twist of the whole series (or the original series, at least) doesn’t land because Kevin Greutert shows his hand early on. Saw 3D’s monumental reveal is that Dr. Lawrence Gordon has been working with Jigsaw the whole time, something that should cause the entire audience to gasp and should serve as the craziest, most unbelievable plot turn of all seven movies. But even though we’ve been waiting for Dr. Gordon’s return for years, the film doesn’t really make a big deal out of him being back, as he just shows up in a random scene at the start of the film with no fanfare. Later, he goes to a meeting for Jigsaw survivors, and his behavior is so fundamentally different and he is acting so hilariously evil – he literally does a slow clap from a chair in a dark corner of the room – that it’s difficult to imagine that there’s anyone who didn’t see the twist coming. It doesn’t help that this was by far the most common Saw fan theory at the time, but the reveal is still fairly easy to figure out by the survivors group scene alone. With Jigsaw, it’s vital that if the movie has a twist, it must be one that is foreshadowed but that the audience does not anticipate, though seeing as the directors are the guys behind Predestination, they likely have that handled.

Going into Jigsaw, this certainly isn’t an example of a franchise that has been utterly driven into the ground and needs a complete makeover in order to continue. But there are definitely issues that can be corrected, especially if this one is to launch a new series of Saw films. With Jigsaw, the antagonist or antagonists should be compelling in the same way John Kramer was, and we should truly understand what motivates them (or, at least, we should after their identity is revealed). The film should not rely too heavily on flashbacks, using them only when required and mainly keeping the audience rooted in the present storyline, and it shouldn’t reveal anything that will retroactively make scenes from the previous seven movies less effective. The games should be winnable challenges that the victims have an active role in completing and that force us to wonder what we would do in that situation. The reason those victims were chosen should also make some degree of sense. Finally, if there is to be a twist, it should be one that is foreshadowed by subtle clues but that the audience doesn’t see coming.

Of course, this is just going based off of what did and did not work in the original Saw series, but hopefully the Spierig Brothers can go beyond merely following a template, delivering a few other elements that we would not even expect from a Saw movie and setting the pieces in motion for another series of sequels that can be as addictive as the originals but that we don’t yet realize we want. As apprentices of the original Saw creators, the Spierigs should avoid losing what made the work great to begin with like Amanda Young, and they should also avoid mindlessly repeating what was laid out for them like Mark Hoffman. If they can recapture the magic of the originals while learning from their mistakes and bringing something wholly unique to the table, they may be able to create a game worth playing.

JIGSAW plays a new game in theaters on October 27th.



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COMMENTS

48 Comments
  • Jay Bennett

    For me at least:

    1) No more ‘1 character goes through multiple tests chosing between family members etc’, they did that 4 times and it got old fast, even when most of the tests involved innocent people.

    2) While almost impossible, no more “someone else was helping!” twists, the best twists are the ones involving the games in 2 and 6 (not including 1)

    3) I enjoyed back when the traps had a certain homemade feel to it, like the pit of needles and the furnace, seems distant from what weve seen of Jigsaw but thats my taste.

    Honestly the motivations to why people were in traps was blurry from 3, they have to at least set that right.

    • disqus_JGr7FxyRat

      Agree with the first two. I hope they never use that formula for the traps ever again, so boring. If there’s going to be multiple killers I hope they establish all of them in the first movie rather than pulling accomplices out of their ass in sequels.

      • Jay Bennett

        The apprentice twist was a cheap way to force on another sequel often leaving more questions than answers, I really hope this one doesnt reveal the killer in the final twist. I’m down with a sequel with the surviving characters, but at least have Jigsaw make sense on its own without needing Jigsaw 2 and 3.

    • 100% agreed. No more ‘apprentices’, no more ‘here’s some dispensable people to help you learn your lesson’ and no more traps that would realistically take months and a team of artists and incredible engineers to build. Time to get back to basics

      • Jay Bennett

        John being an engineer explained like complexity of the reverse bear, but his skills going on to engineer and pull of some of the stuff in 3 and 6? I’ve gotta call bull on that. But Jigsaw has a guy lowered into a blender of rings powered by a motorcycle, so who knows…

    • I disagree with you on Saw III (how were the motivations blurry?), but I agree with you on everything else. The sequels after the first three were all subpar.

      • Jay Bennett

        You might disagree but I dont think Jeff deserved to be tested, he might of neglected his daughter but I thought Jigsaw would have someone better to test than family counciling. Besides on forgiveness for killing a child, John didnt exactly forgive Cecil in 4 very well for Gideon.

        • I don’t really think a lot of his victims necessarily deserved to be tested in the earlier films. Jigsaw isn’t exactly right in the head with his cancer (though he thinks what he does is entirely rational), and it was the later films that turned him into an avenging anti-hero that mainly goes after rapists, murderers, ETC. In the original films, he mainly puts people into traps because he thinks that they don’t appreciate their life, and some of these people aren’t bad at all. Some didn’t remotely deserve torture or death. Jigsaw put Jeff in the trap because he thinks that Jeff is wasting his own life and his daughter’s life by being consumed by grief and vengeance, and not moving on.

          I think Saw IV is where the films became subpar, and some of the ways he is portrayed in the later films does come into conflict with the initial trilogy. And although Jigsaw said he forgave Cecil, I 100% agree with you that much of Saw IV and beyond contradicts Saw II and Saw III. Hell, Saw IV went through his entire origin and didn’t even acknowledge his motives from the second film (including the cancer, his attempted suicide, or his new perspective on life).

          • Jay Bennett

            When you put it that way youre right, the movies portray Jigsaw as the guy in the right in the sequels when their isnt much sympathy for the victims. From Saw 4 as the article says pffffft it all goes to shit, oh you were a completely innocent old lady bang now youre in a 50/50 life or death situation thats out of your hands.

        • Larry Christ Iam’Music

          That is a very good point!

  • ThunderDragoon

    As long as they keep Hoffman far away from this new set of films, we’ll be all set. After all, it is called JIGSAW.

    • Victor Silva

      Amen, Hoffman is probably the most boring horror “villain” I’ve ever seen.

    • Saw IVVII had a lot more problems than just Hoffman.

  • Will Coors

    I honestly really don’t know what direction it’s going to take and that makes me super excited! I feel like I enjoyed every other movie. I like 1,2,4 & 6. 7 is okay but 3 & 5 are defiantly my least favorite of the bunch but I have really high hopes for this new addition!

  • Angela M Campany

    I loved them all honestly !

  • Kyle Ord

    I love them all except the second one. I hate the traps

    • Jeff Eastwood

      Part 2 had my all-time favorite trap.

  • Josh Nitsche

    Hoffman doesn’t have to be in this, but I would like to know what happened to him after being locked in the bathroom. If anyone can escape, it’s the guy who single-handedly took out an entire police station with a knife. I understand he didn’t have the same compelling charisma as John Kramer, but I think that comes down to the quality of the writers.

    • I find it hard to believe that getting chained in the bathroom would be enough to stop Hoffman (though I’d rather the series move on to other storylines). After all, this is the same guy that beat the Reverse Bear Trap in 45 seconds with no key. I’d like them to show or explain that he broke his foot with his bare hands or something, and then the bathroom door was rigged (or something to that effect), killing him instantly.

      • Josh Nitsche

        When I spoke to Costas he said they already know how he gets out of the bathroom. Some of the theories I heard was that he eats through his foot. Man, that would be brutally awesome to see. I too want to see it move on to other characters, but Hoffman needs a really, really epic send off because he was the main villain for 4 movies and he deserves it.

      • Larry Christ Iam’Music

        Yeah gotta let us know weither he lived or not. Thats one of the couple things that drove me nuts about the last Saw.

    • Larry Christ Iam’Music

      Same here! It is very likely he could’ve escaped. Which, in essence, didn’t wrap up the story. Part of me thinks they did it on purpose, because if they really wanted to, they could backtrack to that, have him escape, and go after Dr Gordon.

  • Upsetwith7days

    “It’s gross to watch” well, that’s, like, your opinion, man.

    Stop doing editorials and do news.

    • Mike tantatelli

      “Let me tell you something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy shit with us, you flash a piece out on the lanes, I’ll take it away from you, stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger ’til it goes click.”

  • Kristoffer Groves

    Few insights are *gleaned

  • dukeblues

    The problem with the sequels is they all feel like cheap, SyFy channel movies. Shitty acting too

  • smaug

    Killing both Jigsaw and Amanda in the same movie, that was a huge mistake.

    I liked Saw 4, 5 and loved Saw 6. Saw 3D was garbagem even though some parts were fine.

    • I think the mistake wasn’t necessarily killing them, as much as it was continuing after Saw III without a solid vision. Aside from a few small scenes planted to set up Saw IV at the last minute, Saw III would have been a perfect way to conclude the trilogy and Mark Hoffman was not a worthy villain to replace Tobin Bell.

  • Graham

    The biggest problem with this series is it tries way too hard to do so little. It bends over backwards to justify its existence using the most convoluted backstory possible when the basic appeal of these movies (seeing people get killed in crazy ways) does not at all necessitate that. And as the article points out, it’s not like all this time dedicated to explaining everything actually even made sense in the end.

    • I disagree that the appeal is “seeing people get killed in crazy ways”. Saw is not The Final Destination. In the first three films, Jigsaw was a genuinely interesting villain who thought he was doing the right thing. One thing the original films had that the subsequent films didn’t was also a compelling protagonist that actually stood to learn something from being placed in the traps (Adam and Doctor Gordon, Eric Matthews with his son, Jeff Denlon). And really, that’s where a lot of the subsequent sequels went wrong. They essentially became less about the plot, characters, and twists (yes, the traps were a big part of it as well) and prioritised the traps over everything else.

      Really, you can’t watch the 2004 film and then say “Wow, that film was just about the traps”. Because it wasn’t and that’s not what earned Saw several sequels (four of which probably shouldn’t exist).

      • Graham

        You’re right about that. I guess I should say that the series *became* about seeing people get killed in crazy ways, and the convoluted backstory was an issue with those films moreso than in the first three. It’s true, the original film had more in mind than just violence. But I think the later sequels tried too hard to *seem* just as clever without actually being nearly as clever.

        • Exactly. By the time of the later movies we all knew it was about the traps. The marketing was all about the traps and the characters and plot were secondary. I still went to see them all because I was interested in the plot twists but even that got old quickly because Hoffman was such a 1 dimensional killer

  • Evi

    I love that Jigsaw is basically a hilariously omniscient, petty version of John Doe from Seven. He feels like a guy who’d make you dig a key out of your eye because you left the toilet seat down or something.

    One thing I hope is that they do away with the twist endings altogether. I realise some people think they’re the best part of the franchise or something, but I personally don’t need my horror films to have a twist ending. Especially a twist ending you always know is coming a mile away.

  • The first three Saw films were great, but the rest were subpar. I think after Saw III, the quality becomes a roller coaster, but they are still subpar to first three “true” Saw films. You’re right that Hoffman wasn’t a worthy villain to replace the talented Tobin Bell, which is part of the series’ problem after the initial trilogy (though they at least tried to make him more interesting by turning him into a complete psychopath in Saw VI). Saw 3D was meant to conclude the series, but refused to wrap anything up. The series’ build-up to Jigsaw’s endgame was ignored to the point that we don’t even learn what his endgame is, and the film largely raised more questions than answers. I’m glad they took a seven-year hiatus; now, they hopefully have a solid vision of what they are actually doing (something that was lacking in Saw IVVII).

  • Aemette

    While I will have an open mind with Jigsaw and welcome what it will bring, it just better make sense and have a clear purpose, be it by telling an effective one-shot story or by leaving us with a twist that doesn’t ask more questions than it should. I don’t believe we need past characters to return outside of like John, but if other characters can be made to work effectively then great. Don’t give me some cheap crap about how a dead character like Amanda or Hoffman survived and is now back for revenge. Those ships have sailed. Pass the torch onto some one else or some others. And I say others because remember, as it stands now John’s been dead. Someone has gone out of their way to collect or recreate some of his more iconic traps for a purpose and the poor saps playing the new game could know more than they let on 😉

  • To answer some of the questions in the editorial, Hoffman’s motivation started off as blackmail. But then he started to enjoy killing and hurting the victims, helping Amanda to rig certain traps. At some point, he decided that he wanted Jigsaw’s legacy for himself, which is partly why he blackmailed Amanda to her death and why he told Jill that she would no longer be involved in Saw VI.

    According to the official synopsis for Saw 3D, that film was intended to be the final battle for Jigsaw’s legacy between Hoffman and Jill, though the film did a godawful job at conveying this. Part of the problem is also that Saw 3D never explained what the games were building to. In Saw VI, Hoffman points out that Jigsaw’s game is almost up and even the Saw 3D trailer says “All of my work has been building to this.” But the final film just ignored all the build-up from the previous three films and refused to conclude many of the open plotlines.

  • Necro

    Part 5 was so easy to figure out, and I mean almost immediately! The first 3 films had the right ingredients and story and should’ve ended there. After that I think they got greedy, saw the possibilities, and rushed more things than they should’ve. That’s why a lot changed. It turned into ‘torture porn’ and relied on flashbacks to fill in the story gaps. The franchise got big and they were so focused and pre-occupied on whether or not if they could, that they never stopped to think about whether or not if they should. I like the franchise as a whole, but you can see the difference after part 3.

  • DeathApeDisco

    Essentially, apart from the first one these are very bad movies, and every moment of every single one after the third one is worthless. Bad decision after bad decision, bad plotting, bad film-making, bad dialogue, terrible direction, and deliberate misery in the place where genuine horror should be.

    Kudos to the writer for trying to unpick all this rushed, poorly thought-through slop, but it honestly wasn’t worth the effort.

  • Jack Derwent

    IMO the first three and the sixth one are all good. IV was mediocre but felt like they tried to make it a Saw film, V just felt like a placeholder and 3D was cinematic fecal matter.

    • dukeblues

      Any movie that has to be 3D is gonna be a gimmick movie.

      • Saturn

        So you’re saying my debut horror masterpiece (starring the most obvious successor to Lon Chaney – Johnathon Schaech – it wasn’t easy getting him on board, but he had a couple of days off from his next 6 legendary horror masterpieces to come on board!!!! I know, right??!!!! He obviously recognises a horror masterpiece when he sees it!!) 3D – THE MOVIE is just a gimmick?
        How dare you!

    • Luisbu

      100% agree

  • Ashley Yeti Colman

    Unpopular opinion: Hoffman is my favorite character and I like 4-6 better than 1-3.

    • You are the only person I’ve ever known to say that but good on you for sticking by your opinion

  • James Allard

    I was just watching the Phibes movies the other day. And the not-Phibes Phibes Theater Of Blood.

    Yes, I love this series and have every intention of watching the next one. Number of fucks given about how this will be perceived: zero.

  • Definitely goes 1, 3, 4, 6, 2, 5, 3D

  • joewaters

    you make some valid points here, I don’t normally like to critique my fav films but I see the flaws, I still watch all 7 films though from time to time. Its become a tradition for me to go to these films every october since 2004, and glad to see another one out after a 7 year hiatus. Once the original creators dropped out it became someone elses version of a sequel trying to top its predecessor. Saw 5 showed that pretty well with Hackl behind the helm and thank god he didn’t direct saw 7,though it shows Greutert gave up on that film after being forced back to shoot a sequel he had no interest in. If anything we can blame hollywood producers but the films are done and they might not learn but it’s a show I’ll still watch regardless. If the traps weren’t fair, then we don’t know for sure whether they were truly jigsaws or amanda’s, hoffman’s or dr. gordons. they all seemed to have a hand in manipulating the outcomes of almost every trap. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there will never be another jigsaw,we can only hope for a better protege

  • Ken Johnson

    I feel like Saw III was the series pinnacle (although IV was a lot of fun), and it’s always been my favorite installment out of all of them. I’ve always been a big fan of the concept, the twisted (ho, ho) idea behind the series, ever since I snuck into the original Saw in ‘04. The next two had a momentum that the later ones lacked, in my opinion. And also it’s partially because I don’t always enjoy a movie or a series of movies that answers all my questions and gives backstories to everyone and their mother’s cousin. It’s often much more unsettling and thought-provoking when you leave the theater and are still thinking about certain characters’ motivations, etc. So yeah, Saw III is the one for me.

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