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Whether you're a #horror fan or not, you've heard of the #Saw franchise, which quickly became the highest-grossing in horror history after its start in 2004, and — thanks to a growing fanbase — expanded into seven installments. We even have a long-awaited eighth film, Saw: Legacy, coming this October.
But even with all of its success, plenty of people have never sat down and watched a single Saw movie. Or perhaps they've seen one or two and never watched the entire franchise.
Seeing how all seven Saw films are connected into one expansive storyline, it's difficult to really talk about #SawLegacy's possibilities unless you know what has happened in each movie. So here I am to help you catch up on everything that's happened in the Saw franchise (so far). Spoilers follow for all seven Saw movies.
What Is The Saw Franchise Even About?
The basic premise of the Saw franchise surrounds a middle-aged, terminally ill cancer patient named John Kramer (a.k.a. Jigsaw), who began capturing those who had personally wronged him and his apprentices, putting them through potentially fatal games to test their will to live — and change their lives for the better. It all began with James Wan's 2003 short film, now retroactively known as Saw 0.5:
Saw brought us to an abandoned warehouse bathroom; Adam and Dr. Lawrence Gordon were chained at the ankle to pipes, with a dead man in the middle of the room. Dr. Gordon eventually saws off his foot to escape the bathroom, and wounds Adam in the process. (Dr. Gordon's aim in the game was to kill Adam in order to save his wife and daughter.)
This movie also introduced us to Amanda and the iconic "reverse bear trap" game, along with the razor wire trap. Not to mention the twist that the man in the room wasn't dead after all!
Saw II (2005)
Saw II expanded our cast of characters and formally introduced us to John Kramer. We meet a group of individuals all connected by one police officer (Eric Matthews), who try and survive a game involving nerve gas. In the meantime Detective Matthews is led to Jigsaw in his lair and has to complete his own game to be reunited with his son, Daniel, who is inside of the house.
We also learn that Amanda's reason for being in the game was to protect Daniel at all costs. Why? Well, she was serving as a secret Jigsaw apprentice. Surprise!
Saw III (2006)
Saw III introduced us to the close relationship that Jigsaw and Amanda had formed as she kidnaps a surgeon named Lynn Denlon to keep him alive during his final game. In addition to Lynn's game, we watch a man named Jeff make his way through a maze where he must choose to save or kill people who were involved in the death of his young son.
Eventually we find out that Lynn and Jeff are married and that Lynn's game wasn't just to keep Jigsaw alive. We were led to believe that Amanda had been making games unwinnable (and that she had killed Eric Matthews), so Jigsaw had tricked Amanda to test her will to keep Lynn alive. Because Amanda ultimately killed Lynn, Jeff kills Amanda and then kills Jigsaw. However, it didn't come without a price.
Saw IV (2007)
Saw IV is where things got pretty complicated. The central game is centered around Detective Rigg, who was present in both Saw II and Saw III. He is confronted with demons from his past to test his ability to trust Jigsaw and follow the rules of his game. After all, you can't save everyone, right?
In addition to Rigg's game, we're introduced to two new FBI detectives, Agent Strahm and Agent Perez. They are brought in to examine the previous traps and try to uncover Jigsaw's second apprentice: Detective Hoffman, revealed after Rigg fails his final test and inadvertently kills Eric Matthews (surprise, Amanda didn't kill him after all).
Oh yeah, we're also introduced to Jigsaw's ex-wife, Jill Tuck, and why John Kramer started his work in the first place. We will get back to Jill later, though.
Saw V (2008)
Saw V moves us away from the legacy of Jigsaw and Amanda for a bit and focuses more on how Detective Hoffman became an apprentice to John Kramer. We learn the catalyst that forced Hoffman to fake a Jigsaw murder, and what happened to him when Jigsaw found out.
Agent Strahm continues to harass Jill Tuck over the Jigsaw murders and eventually uncovers the truth that Detective Hoffman is the second apprentice. All of this comes after he's captured by Hoffman and placed in a seemingly unwinnable trap, but he manages to survive to avenge his fallen partner, Agent Perez.
We also have a trap with five people who must work together to survive, and all but two of them fail. Honestly, the "fatal five" don't have much importance to the actual story at the end of the day.
Saw VI (2009)
Saw VI was perhaps the most emotional installment since Saw III. It brings Jigsaw back via flashbacks as we learn the struggles he had to receive cancer treatments under his insurance company. As a result, William Easton is put to the ultimate test as he must exercise the insurance policies he's implemented with customers on his own employees.
In addition to William's game, we learn much more about Jigsaw's relationship with his wife, Jill, and more about the loss of their child, Gideon. Unfortunately, that means revealing that Amanda was the one who was ultimately responsible. She was blackmailed by Detective Hoffman back in Saw III to kill Lynn or else he would reveal to John that she was responsible.
We also see that Jill was involved the whole time and was given posthumous instructions by her ex-husband to end everything (or try to). She places Hoffman in an updated reverse bear trap in an attempt to kill him, and delivers a package to a surprise third apprentice. Unfortunately, Hoffman survives the trap and returns with a vengeance in Saw 3D: The Final Chapter.
Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)
Saw 3D is where a lot of fans felt like the series got lost, but we will talk about it anyway. The basic premise of the film surrounded a Jigsaw survivor named Bobby Dagen as he made a fortune telling his story, becoming somewhat of a self-help guru. However, Bobby is placed into his own game after it's revealed that he made up his story just to get rich.
Aside from Bobby, we're brought back to Jill Tuck as she seeks help from the police after discovering that Hoffman survived his trap and was seeking revenge. After all's said and done, Jill is killed by Hoffman. Not only does Jill die, but the package she delivered to the third apprentice is revealed to have been given to Dr. Gordon.
Yes, Dr. Gordon was also involved the whole time. He's instructed to take care of things if anything happens to Jill, so he (and two of his own apprentices) capture Hoffman and leave him to die, chained in the original bathroom trap.
What do you think is coming with Saw: Legacy? Let us know in the comments!