"If it's Halloween, it must be Saw."
Prior to its end in 2010, Saw was an annual event for seven years of our lives. The franchise not only gained a loyal fanbase, but it somewhat reinvented the nature of the modern horror film in terms of mixing gore with a genuine plot that required your attention. Aside from the actual storyline of Jigsaw and the importance of the victims, what gathered the most attention was the franchise's usage of elaborate and brutal traps. These traps were utilized in all seven Saw films and got more murderous as the franchise went on. After watching the later films you can look back at some in the first two movies and think they are fairly tame in comparison.
With this list we will focus on the 15 most brutal and elaborate traps within the Saw franchise. They include solo traps as well as multi-victim traps and do not feature overall games.
15. The Breathing Room - Saw VI (2009)
The breathing room is one of those traps that channels what a lot of people fear. The idea of suffocating to death is scary enough. Add in the idea of sharing oxygen with another person and facing being crushed by a vice once you take a breath and you have quite the uneasy situation.
14. The Water Cube - Saw V (2008)
Drowning is another widespread fear shared by many people. With the water cube, we were first introduced to the unbeatable traps of the Saw franchise, but we also were terrified by the idea of drowning to death in a clear box. Luckily, Agent Strahm taught us to always carry a pen in your pocket.
13. The Pendulum - Saw V (2008)
Another trap designed to be unbeatable, the pendulum works as a clock in the sense that it lowers as it swings to and fro. The reasoning behind the trap was rather dumb for a lot of fans, but the mechanics of the trap itself is what lands it on the list.
12. The Venus Fly Trap - Saw II (2005)
Serving as the opening trap for Saw II, the venus fly trap puts the victim in the sensitive position of choosing death or choosing to cut your eye out to retrieve the key to the device. Not an easy choice, is it? The overall vulnerability the device leaves you in is scary on its own, but the idea of having to sacrifice a body part that many take for granted isn't a decision most could make in 60 seconds.
11. Shotgun Collar - Saw III (2006)
This trap is beautiful, and despite how sick it may sound, you really can appreciate how simple it is. The device itself features multiple shotgun shells aimed right at the the doctor's head. Once charged, it is linked to the heart rate monitor of our own Jigsaw, John Kramer, as he lies on his death bed. If his life ends, so does the life of Dr. Denlon. Quite a tool to manipulate someone into doing your bidding, eh?
10. Flammable Jelly - Saw (2004)
Despite being a bit vague in terms of the overall purpose, the flammable jelly room is intricate in a way that is almost perfect. To be completely naked and smeared with a flammable substance in a room of broken glass makes your skin crawl. Add to that the fact that you don't know the combination to the safe that contains the only antidote, it can't possibly get any worse. Right? Wrong; your only light source is a small burning candle. Did I mention you were covered in flammable jelly?
9. The Bedroom - Saw IV (2007)
The bedroom is a trap often overlooked even by devoted fans and I never fully understood why. The concept of the trap is really terrifying because it puts you face to face with your past choices. In this case, a voyeur named Ivan was given the choice to remove his eyesight or face lethal consequences. Would you gouge out your own eyes to save your life?
8. The Carousel - Saw VI (2009)
Part of William's game in Saw VI, the carousel isn't as intricate as other traps but the choice it gives to the executioner is very unnerving. Giving William the power to choose which two out of six live, at the cost of his own body, isn't an easy choice. I'm not sure many people would even make a choice at all. Add in spinning around for who knows how long in the dark with your arms tied behind your back and this is just another day at the office for Jigsaw.
7. Knife Chair - Saw IV (2007)
"I'm bleeding, man!"
This trap sends a shiver down my spine. It's bad enough to be nailed to a chair, but to have a bunch of kitchen knives placed in front of your face is the nail in the coffin. If you do make it out, you're left with some pretty deep cuts to the face. You might even bleed out.
6. The Rack - Saw III (2006)
The rack is no doubt one of the most brutal traps in the Saw universe and easily one of the most uncomfortable to watch. Religious symbolism aside, this trap featured Timothy nailed to a steely cross with his arms, legs, and head attached to rotating gears. After the trap begins, it was up to his nemesis to save his life by retrieving a key attached to a shotgun trigger. Nothing like being crucified and then have your extremities mangled in the process.
5. The Angel - Saw III (2006)
The most brutal trap of Saw III finds Detective Kerry in a sticky situation as she is captured and placed into a trap which hooks her ribcage to a device designed to rip her chest apart once time is up. The only way to free herself was to retrieve a key before it dissolves in a beaker full of acid. Unfortunately for her, she was placed in an unbeatable trap and was left rib-less with a melted hand. Poor thing.
4. Razor Box - Saw II (2005)
For me, the razor box ranks highly in terms of both brutality and the overall concept. All of the traps in Saw II depended on the victim's vulnerability and desperation and this was no different. By hiding an antidote to the nerve gas in plain sight, it's easy for Addison to reach right into the box without even thinking twice. But she didn't expect to get her arms caught by huge razor blades and be left to bleed to death.
3. The Needle Pit - Saw II (2005)
"It will be like finding a needle in a haystack."
Trypanophobia (a.k.a., the fear of needles) is one of the top fears among Americans and there's no better way to get the shivers than watching someone get thrown into a pit of dirty hypodermic needles. The objective? Dig through the needles to find a key to get the antidote to the nerve gas. That's a big bag of nope right there.
2. The Reverse Bear Trap - Saw (2004)
Often considered to be the best trap of the franchise, the original reverse bear trap worn by Shawnee Smith in Saw is one of the most brutal and high stakes traps ever created. The purpose of the device is basically to permanently rip your mouth open. Attached to your upper and lower jaw, there really is no getting out of this one. Not unless you have the guts to retrieve the key from an immobilized, but alive, man's stomach. This trap remains as perhaps the most iconic within the franchise for the sheer fact that prior to the later Saw films, this was the only time the victim survived. Not to mention the trap was the main feature on the film's main poster.
1. The Bathroom - Saw (2004)
It's debatable among fans and viewers alike whether the bathroom as a whole is a trap or merely a game, but I have always considered it a trap. One big, complicated trap.
Introducing us to Dr. Gordon and Adam, the pair find themselves chained to the walls by their feet and throughout their game they are faced with a series of tests and games meant to confuse them, torture them, and enlighten them. I have always found the bathroom to be a trap because within the franchise, you are placed into a trap and it's up to you to find a way out. Well, the characters being locked in this room and given one option to get out has always led me to think this was a trap and not just a game. The idea of having to cut your foot off to get out isn't usually part of a game or test.