The GBHBL Definitive Ranking of the Saw Movie Series

Created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the Saw franchise began in 2004 and consists of 9 films, the latest being the ‘spin-off’, Spiral.

Helping make the ‘torture porn’ sub-genre of horror a thing, the Saw franchise surrounds the serial killer, Jigsaw or John Kramer played by Tobin Bell. As each film went on, his character was expanded on going from the minor role in the original to the star later on.

What makes him so special is his methods which actually don’t involve him killing anyone. Instead, he kidnaps his victims and traps them in brutal and violent situations where they have an opportunity to escape and survive. However, to do so they will often have to mutilate themselves or others.

Most of the time his victims are people he has deemed deserving of punishment and his ‘tests’ will help rehabilitate them. This idea would become more and more convoluted as the series went on and Jigsaw apprentices were introduced.

The general consensus is that the Saw franchise massively overstayed its welcome and that most of its sequels are trash. Surprisingly that is not actually the case and regardless of its eventual waning popularity, the franchise has been estimated to have earned over $1 billion worldwide to date.

If you’re going to watch the series as a whole, you really need to start from the beginning as each movie continues the story told in previous ones. There are no standalone Saw movies, although ‘Jigsaw’ and certainly ‘Spiral’ can probably be watched without seeing any of the others. However, the quality of each film certainly doesn’t go in order. This isn’t a franchise that started hot and slowly went downhill. It has had its ups and downs all across 9 films which is why we’ve decided to make our definitive ranking of the series.

As always, this ranking is based on our original scores when we reviewed the movie. If two or more films scored the same, then the order will be based on what we’d prefer to watch again.

9 – Jigsaw (2017)
Our Score: 2/10

The worst film in the franchise, Jigsaw was an attempt to see if there was still any hunger for Saw movies after 2010’s The Final Chapter/3D. The end result is a shocker of a movie that tries so hard to inject the cleverness of the series but trips up and stabs itself in the eye. Its story is incredibly poor, its cast average and worst of all, it offers nothing fresh.

Desperately looking to restart the franchise while tying itself in knots as it tries to link in to the past films. The corpse has rotted away to almost nothing, time to stop making it dance.

Read our full review here.

8 – Saw: The Final Chapter/3D/VII (2010)
Our Score: 3/10

The best thing about Saw: The Final Chapter is that it finally wrapped up the series and answered most questions. Even if it ended up asking more new ones.

A haphazardly told story, one that doesn’t gel together. A re-thread of tired tropes and a cast that seem ready to collect their pay-checks makes this one of the worst film in the franchise. A real shame it didn’t end on a high.

Read our full review here.

7 – Spiral (2021)
Our Score: 3/10

Is this even a Saw movie? You certainly don’t need to watch any that have come before to watch Spiral.

A big problem with Spiral is the finer details. It makes it so difficult to care about these paper thin characters and the flimsy plot, because you just don’t know enough.

Spiral is another movie where they’ve hijacked something well known and used it to project a heavy handed message that doesn’t fit into the original concept’s narrative. The ending is ridiculously over the top and the killer lacks impact. The only positives are the gore effects and Chris Rock is admittedly funny, but Saw isn’t a horror comedy series.

Read our full review here.

6 – Saw VI (2009)
Our Score: 4/10

If you though the franchise had been preachy before, hold on to your flesh and bones because Saw VI is the worst of the bunch. A tedious movie that goes back to basics in regards to the traps but is nothing but an exhaustive rethread of everything we’ve seen before.

Read our full review here.

5 – Saw III (2006)
Our Score: 4/10

The third film in the franchise would also be the first to really expose just how little it had to offer. Not only that, it would be first that really started to lose its way in regards to the story. The tension that the first film had and to a lesser degree the second, is completely absent here. The same goes for scares, what Saw III has in abundance is gore.

This is not a movie for the squeamish and simply put, it goes overboard. Case in point, the lengthy and up-close visuals of open brain surgery. If you want solid proof that the Saw III has little to offer, it is this sequence.

Read the full review here.

4 – Saw IV (2007)
Our Score: 5/10

If you want to see people suffering intense agonies while someone desperately tries to save them, then Saw IV will deliver. However, more than any other film so far, this one just feels like set-piece after set-piece. It also doesn’t help that most of the traps surround characters who we don’t know or who are horrid people.
Saw IV does absolutely nothing new beyond introducing Jigsaw’s replacement for the next couple of films. Yes, it ties up loose ends but, in the process, reveals even more.

Read our full review here.

3 – Saw II (2005)
Our Score: 6/10

For many this is where the ride started to get rocky but is Saw II really as bad as many would have you believe? The short answer is no. It moves along at a good pace and never feels boring. Tobin Bell and Donnie Whalberg are both great in their respective roles and together they really chew the scenery. The twist at the end, another Saw series staple, isn’t as surprising as the original but it is done well and ties into the original movie in gleeful fashion.

Read our full review here.

2 – Saw V (2008)
Our Score: 6.5/10

Saw V rehashes so much of what we saw before, it’s hard to get too excited about it as an entry. However, a less convoluted story and the continuing tying up of loose ends makes it a worthy entry in the series.
It also has one of the franchises most satisfying finales which makes it one of the best in the series.

Read our full review here.

1 – Saw (2004)
Our Score: 7/10

Saw, while nowhere as good as many would have you believe, does still hold up. Its impact is lessened by multiple watches and by an abused franchise but it can be ranked amongst the modern greats.

If it wasn’t the grimy and gritty visuals that had people talking about it, it was the twist ending that shocked audiences.

Read our full review here.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!