A Saw Series Timeline

A look at the history and legacy of Jigsaw.

Editorby Editor

Whether you are a hardcore Saw fanatic, a casual fan or entirely new to the thrilling horror series, with more twists and turns than any film franchise in history, everybody needs a refresher course on what’s gone on the past 6 years! Here we’ll take a refresher look back each installment of the Saw series, and connect the dots between the first time we met Jigsaw and what we can expect when Saw VII hits theaters on October 22!

 

Saw (2004)

 

Chained in a dank industrial basement bathroom, Cary Elwes and Leigh Wannell star as Adam and Lawrence, the first onscreen victims of an ultra-demented serial killer named Jigsaw, with a knack for booby traps and a peculiar desire to force people to appreciate their lives. For nearly two hours we’re witness to an unspeakable torment as each man is faced with horrific decisions to ensure not only their survival, but their families’ as well. Lawrence is told he must kill Adam by 6 o’clock, and given a bullet for a gun held by a dead body in the center of the room. Lawrence’s wife and daughter are held captive, their lives depending on his compliance with the sanity-ripping obstacle course before him. Lawrence’s family escapes, but not before he’s sawed off his own leg in desperation to save his loved ones. Adam kills the man he thinks is responsible, only to discover that the real killer is John Kramer, the body lying in the room, who locks Adam in to die.

 

Saw II (2005)

 

Tobin Bell returns as the horrifying killer Jigsaw, who’s trapped by the police but holds a key advantage with video of eight people – among them Amanda Young, Jigsaw’s only survivor, and the son of Eric Matthews, the arresting detective – locked in a booby trapped shelter full of a lethal nerve gas. They must find the exit or the antidote before they succumb to the fumes, but the traps Jigsaw has set in the shelter make a gassing death seem heavenly by comparison. So close to understanding the puzzle of John Kramer’s story, Matthews ends up chained in the Saw bathroom, discovering that the events on the video had happened far earlier in time. It turns out Jigsaw has a new apprentice…

 

Saw III (2006)

 

Six months after the second film left off the games continue, but things are different this time around. Kramer’s sick, he’s dying, and he’s kidnapped a doctor to keep him alive as another deadly game unfolds. Lynn (the doctor) is fitted with a shotgun necklace, and must keep the cancer-ridden killer alive as they witness another man whose obsession with revenge over the death of his son makes him the perfect target for Jigsaw. Jeff’s test is to decide whether to save the lives of three people responsible for the death of his son, or watch them die horribly in various unthinkable deathtraps. 

 

We’re witness to new depths of the twisted relationship between Jigsaw and Amanda, the latter of whom has been responsible for the recent string of inescapable traps. Jeff shoots Amanda and cuts John’s throat, failing his test of forgiveness. As the door to the room closes and John’s lifeblood runs from his jugular, a tape recorder reveals that the sadistic killer is the only person who knew where his daughter is hidden. The film ends with Jeff alone in a room full of corpses, after Lynn’s explosive necklace turned her head into a raw hamburger bouquet.

 

Saw IV (2007)

 

John Kramer’s autopsy reveals a wax-coated microcassette in his stomach, meant to inform Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) that he too will be tested, and that the games will continue despite the apparent death of Jigsaw. SWAT Commander Rigg is obsessed with finding Detective Matthews and it’s this weakness that allows him to be abducted by a new killer and thrust into his own game, in which he has but ninety minutes to solve a series of demented traps to save his friend – and himself. Nothing is as it seems, however, as Rigg’s arrival triggers Matthews’ death, as well as his own – but not before Hoffman reveals himself to be the killer. We also come to know FBI agent Strahm, who in tracing Rigg’s movements in finding the killer, makes a target of himself.

 

Saw V (2008)

 

Costas Mandylor reprises his role as Detective Hoffman, the last person alive to carry on the Jigsaw legacy. He rescues Jeff’s daughter in an act that paints him as a hero, while the police declare the killings over. But they’re not! Agent Strahm discovers the truth that Hoffman killed his sister’s murderer and made it look like Jigsaw did it, resulting in his being blackmailed into helping with the games. When Hoffman’s secret is nearly exposed, he goes on the offensive, placing Strahm in a trap. The agent tries to turn the tables by forcing Hoffman inside a crush box, not realizing that the room’s walls will close in and crush anyone not inside the box. He dies brutally after unintentionally ensuring that the killer survives.

 

Saw VI (2009)

 

Agent Strahm is dead, and Jigsaw’s grand scheme is finally unveiled as the FBI closes in on Hoffman, who’s since fully embraced his role as successor to Jigsaw’s murderous throne. After framing Strahm by leaving his fingerprints on the crime scene for the FBI to find. He hadn’t counted on Strahm’s partner Agent Perez (Athena Karkanis), however, who Hoffman thought had died from one of his traps but in actuality survived, and can provide a different history of events from Hoffman’s.

 

Hoffman kidnaps two predatory lenders for the next installment of the deadly games, and an insurance company executive responsible for rejecting John’s experimental procedure coverage, based on a coldly calculating formula he created. As John (through Hoffman) gets his revenge via a gauntlet of horrific games mimicking his profession of deciding people’s fates – except that the subjects this time are William’s colleagues and friends in deadly traps – we’re witness to multiple flashbacks of John and his relationship with Hoffman, and his protégé Amanda, filling in more gaps on a backstory almost too twisted to imagine. 

 

Saw VII (2010)

 

As a deadly battle rages over Jigsaw’s brutal legacy, a group of Jigsaw survivors gathers to seek the support of self-help guru and fellow survivor Bobby Dagen, a man whose own dark secrets unleash a new wave of terror… The first theatrical feature to be shot exclusively on the cutting-edge SI-3D digital camera system, SAW VII 3D brings the horrifying games of Jigsaw to life like never before. And we’ll see the return of Cary Elwes as Dr. Lawrence Gordon!