The definitive Darkened Corridor Saw film ranking!
I’ve talked about the future of the Saw series on this page before, but now it’s time to rank them in order of my personal preference. Remember this is just my opinion, and i’d love to hear what you think via twitter @Darken_Corridor.
There are a few things I want to look at when assessing each film in order to properly rank them. The quality of the story, the visual interest, and the character developments. With that in mind, lets kick off, worst to best!
I never really liked Saw V. Something about the direction it chose to take wasn’t as appealing as the previous and successive releases. The main trap featured made me think of an extreme corporate team building exercise, rather than the interesting gimmick it was meant to be. The film’s only merit is that we learn a little more about Jigsaw’s longest serving on-screen helper Hoffman, but really it gives us nothing but a hugely exaggerated motive for him to continue Kramer’s work.
I hadn’t watched a Saw film in ages when I stumbled upon an ex-Blockbuster rental version of the film for £1 in a local discount store. When I watched it, I was reminded of exactly why I hadn’t watched Saw in a long time. The film was splashed with criticism of the American healthcare system ; fair enough, if it’s your movie, do as you will. But I found myself not caring in the slightest whether the main trap victim, William Easton - insurance exec and overall arsehole, lived or died. What really got me though is how, following Jigsaw’s message, it could possibly be rationalised to have so many of his staff die as a result of his actions. I doubt their complicity in the events which Jigsaw is punishing them for.
I tend to think of Saw IV as the moment when the franchise started to go downhill. Jigsaw is dead. Like, really dead, from pale, bloodless face to wrinkly ball sack, the guy isn’t teaching anyone how to cherish their life anymore. So what happens next? The iconic villain of the piece is no longer with us? Well, make way for a quadrillion people who are actively supporting his work, all not necessarily aware of each other, but all certain that they are the next Jigsaw. Following his every word - by their own interpretations of course- I find it hard to believe that each significant person is able to masterfully maintain their anonymity for so long. But I digress. Saw IV follows from what now is somewhat a trope of the Saw films, the messed up timeline. Since Saw II, we’d been made to feel sceptical of it, but Saw IV taught us to expect it (which would serve well later on). It’s great as a one off twist, but really the Saw films jump around in time almost as much as Dr.Who at this point.
Saw had had a 7 year hiatus between Saw 3D, and Jigsaw. As it should, I mean, Saw 3D was called the Final Chapter after all, and it’s a proven fact that 7 years is the exact amount of time it takes everyone to forget that you printed a big lie on your film just to push your movie.
The film is clearly an attempt to reignite the series, but not necessarily in the way I would go about it, see my Saw futures blog for more info. In trying to set itself apart from the other films, Jigsaw tries the old Saw trick of shifting timelines. Yay. The only way in which this film manages to edge ahead of Saw IV is that it atleast shows us Jigsaw’s first real trap, which is kind of cool, but as I discussed in my other Saw blog, this is potentially terrible for the franchise in the long term.
And so it was, the final chapter was proclaimed. Seriously, I know I ranted about this a few paragraphs ago, but it’s a retrospective lie, which looks like it may well be broken for a second when Saw 9 drops. All that said, I did much prefer Saw 3D to Jigsaw or it’s predecessor Saw VI. We finally got rid of Hoffman (maybe, we didn’t actually see him die, and these tricksy Saw writers may well bring him back one day). It also brought back the beloved Dr.Lawrence Gordon as Jigsaw’s new best buddy. This was a fan theory that had been around for ages, and was sewn in some not very subtle seeds. Don’t get me wrong, I’d grown to rather like the good Doc after the first film, and to see he was okay was all good by me. I love the scene at the end where he gets to have a good look at his own mummified foot. But the thing I like most about Saw 3D is that the film makes a really thoroughly unpleasant character the main victim of the trap. In a similar way to Paris Hilton’s character’s death in House of Wax being the best part, I think that, rather than sympathising with Dagen, we’re sort of glad to see him go.
Saw III is the film where we lose Jigsaw. It’s difficult to see why the chose to kill him off so early. Did they not have faith in the series continuing much longer (quite likely), or had they already decided that they were going to chop and change Jigsaw killers in each subsequent film (possible). Saw III sort of picked up where Saw II left off, trying to emulate the formula and develop Amanda’s character better. The reason that I like this film less than Saw II is that it didn’t offer as much in the way of interesting twists. That said, it does contain what I consider to be one of the most iconic Saw traps, the Rack, which painfully twists each limb in succession. Ouch!
In many ways Saw II was the ultimate Saw film. It had it all, gore, Jigsaw, twists. Some of the characters were decent, and dare I say, even mildly relatable. The desperate father searching for his son for example. The increasing wooziness in this film because of a gas being pumped in, put me in mind of Chris Nolan’s Insomnia, although that’s the only comparison I will make. The film was the first to employ the timeline shenanigans, and at the time it was at the time a genuinely interesting trope.
What can I say about Saw. It’s really low budget, but rather than having it as a hamstring, Wan and Whannell worked with it, and developed a claustrophobic atmosphere that aided their story. It has genuine interest throughout because we’re learning about Jigsaw for the first time, and we’re interested in watching what each character’s limit is. The film also focused the iconic Hello Zepp by Charlie Clouser, which is one of my favourite film themes of all time. Whilst I will admit Jigsaw being in the room the whole time and under the influence of a stasis inducing drug is a bit cheesy, but atleast we can say it wasn’t entirely expected.
So there we have it. Do you agree with my lists? Let me know @Darken_Corridor on twitter!