All 10 of the Saw movies, ranked worst to best

From the worst of the bunch to the best of the best, we're ranking all 10 of the Saw movies while eagerly waiting more news on Saw XI.
Saw X. Photo Credit: Alexandro Bolaños Escamilla
Saw X. Photo Credit: Alexandro Bolaños Escamilla /

After the critical and financial success of Saw X, it feels like the long-running horror franchise has received a second wind. With an eleventh film in the works, Saw XI, slated to release in 2025 after getting pushed back, it seems like there is no ended in sight for the Saw movies, at least not yet.

Beginning in 2004 from filmmakers James Wan and Leigh Whannell, Saw has gone onto become a worldwide phenomenon and for as much vitriol and critical dissonance there has been for these movies, that hasn't stopped them from being profitable. The Saw franchise is the fifth highest-grossing horror franchise and it has expanded into all sorts of other media, including collectibles, video games, and more. There's even a TV series in development (supposedly).

But where do you rank all ten of the Saw movies currently out there? There are a lot of films in this franchise and each one offers something different, though I think most of us agree the ones focusing on titular serial killer John Kramer, or "Jigsaw," tend to be the best. Here's our official ranking, from worst to best.

10. Saw 3D (2010)

I'm not going to pretend that the Saw franchise has ever been a paragon of social justice, but I think most Saw fans agree that the seventh movie (once considered the "final" Saw film) was a disservice to the franchise overall. For all the "torture porn" labels slapped on this franchise, Saw is generally a pretty sexless and nudity-free franchise. Saw 3D is probably the closest the series comes to actually including the latter half of that phrase, with some seriously misogynistic undertones throughout the entire movie.

The part that stands out for me was Jill's dream sequence where she's killed by Hoffman. For some reason, production chose to dress her in a little dress and ensured there was a shot of her bare breast after she was ripped to pieces. I'd argue Jill's character is done a disservice in general in this film, as are all of the other female characters who receive the worst deaths—many of which are used to push the male storylines forward.

9. Jigsaw (2017)

The best part of Jigsaw is the introduction of in-universe Jigsaw super-fan Eleanor, played by Hannah Emily Anderson, I would love to see her return at some point in the future. I also didn't hate Logan Nelson as one of John's apprentices, though he does appear to come out of left field. The characters really aren't the problem with Jigsaw, at least not the main ones, and even the "twist" is interesting.

Jigsaw tries to take a more mainstream approach, losing the dirty, gritty look of earlier films and while that might appeal to people who don't generally love Saw movies, I think long-time fans of the series found the polished vibe a turn off, I know I did.

It felt like it was trying to rehab Saw's image by making it more palatable instead of embracing the seedy charm that makes the series compelling. None of the traps here were particularly memorable and I actually found many of those scenes rather boring. Overall, this movie wasn't terrible, but it wasn't necessarily a stand out either.

Chris Rock (left) as ‘Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks’ and Max Minghella (right) as ‘Detective William’ in Spiral. Image: Brooke Palmer/Lionsgate /

8. Spiral: The Book of Saw (2021)

I can't help but have a bit of a soft spot for Spiral: The Book of Saw because it was the first Saw movie I watched in theaters, and to this movie's credit, it really did get under my skin at the time. I still shiver when I think about that finger trap.

I also thought Chris Rock did a pretty good job as the main character and the antagonist was a fun one, not as good as John Kramer, but still a step-up from Jigsaw. Maybe I'm biased because Max Minghella is just good at playing a hot evil dude. Nonetheless, Spiral wasn't top-tier Saw material but it still had several memorable traps and Samuel L. Jackson's involvement is always a plus.

7. Saw IV (2007)

Here's where Saw started to falter a bit as the writers realized that they'd have to figure out what to do moving forward now that John Kramer is dead. This movie is technically John's "final game," having left behind clues in his wake. This movie also introduces us to Detective Mark Hoffman, who is secretly one of John's other apprentices.

He and Detective Peter Strahm form a unique relationship that transfer into the fifth movie and one that is entertaining to watch, even if it doesn't quite compare to John and Amanda being in control. Overall, Saw IV just felt like a rather forgettable entry in the bunch, not bad, not great, just kind of whatever.

6. Saw III (2006)

Like Saw IV, Saw III is a middle-of-the-road movie in the franchise that doesn't necessarily stand out, but also isn't bad either. It was always going to be hard to follow Saw and Saw II. Saw III does an admirable job continuing the second movie's storyline, but it also makes the mistake of killing off John Kramer and Amanda Young, a mistake that would come back to haunt the franchise. But I have to give this one some credit because the pig vat trap is one of several that I've never been able to forget.

5. Saw VI (2009)

Most Saw fans agree that Saw VI is another underrated entry in the franchise, though at this point I don't know if I'd even call it underrated anymore as if you take a look on Reddit or any other place Saw fans congregate you'll see plenty of love for this movie.

Saw doesn't often play into social commentary, at least not intentionally, but it goes all in on this movie and in Saw X. Both of them put the healthcare industry through the wringer and given the status of the real world healthcare and insurance system, I think there's something cathartic about seeing their bureaucratic stand-ins get some comeuppance. Also, PIR-AN-HA.

4. Saw V (2008)

I think Saw V might be one of the most underrated movies in the franchise for two main reasons, Julie Benz's character Brit and the climax of the cat-and-mouse game between Hoffman and Agent Strahm. Brit might suck but you can't go wrong with Julie Benz, you just can't. She's always excellent and Brit is really fun to watch especially as she has no issue taking charge of each horrific situation and at least attempting to get (most) of the people out alive.

She might be selfish but she's a fascinating character and the ending implies that she did make it out alive. I'd love to see Benz return someday. Saw V also has that epic ending where Hoffman outmaneuvers Strahm yet again and gets him to orchestrate his own death inside a devastating trap.

3. Saw (2004)

I might catch some flack for ranking the original number 3 instead of number 1 but I need to speak my truth! As great as Saw is, I had the ending twist spoiled for me long before I watched it. I did watch these movies in order, so this was up first and I remember thinking, "that's it?"

By the time I got around to seeing Saw I'd heard so much about how gory the series is, unaware that doesn't really hold true for the first film in the series. Having seen it several more times now, I have significantly more appreciation for what this movie accomplishes without all of the gore and I can see why some people tapped out of the franchise altogether after Saw II veered off in a much darker direction.

2. Saw X (2023)

After several polarizing movie releases between Saw 3D, Spiral: The Book of Saw, and Jigsaw, the tenth film in the series, Saw X, was like a breath of fresh air that rejuvenated the franchise and has many of us eagerly awaiting the upcoming eleventh movie Saw XI.

Not only does Saw X mark the return of iconic franchise mainstays Tobin Bell as John Kramer and Shawnee Smith Amanda Young. Set after the first movie, Saw X is actually a prequel to Saw II and sheds light on what happened to John Kramer after he first received his brain cancer diagnosis.

It ended up becoming the best-reviewed Saw film of all time, and considering how much most mainstream critics hate these movies, that's saying something. Saw X is much more character-focused than previous movies, really centering on John and Amanda, and their mentor/apprentice relationship, which has always been a fan-favorite. Saw X also gives us an excellent new antagonist in Cecilia Pederson (Synnøve Macody Lund), someone who could maybe really go toe-to-toe with John Kramer and the ending sets up her return for Saw XI.

And even though Saw X slows things down a little with a more traditional plot for the first part, it doesn't hold back when it comes to gnarly traps. That bone marrow scene is up there as one of the grossest in the entire series for me.

1. Saw II (2005)

The original Saw is considered iconic for a reason, but it's a shame many dismissed Saw II because of how it significantly upped the ante when it comes to the traps and gore. Saw II is one of the best-written Saw movies and it has a few of the series' most iconic scenes, characters, and traps. I mean this is the movie that introduced us to Amanda, further fleshed out John's character, and really started playing with the timeline in a way that was still fresh and shocking.

It's the movie with the needle pit and the razor blade box, two moments that have been seared in my brain ever since. It really showcased the mastermind that is John Kramer and established lore that the series would return to time and time again. Saw was great, but Saw II pushes boundaries and creates a playbook for future films to follow.

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