How to Watch the Saw Movies in Chronological Order

“I want to play a game.”

When you hear that phrase, especially when it comes from an insane doll on a toddler tricycle, chances are you’re getting into a game of life and death. Well, maimed life or maimed death to be more precise. John Kramer – also known as the devilish Jigsaw from the Saw series – has marked you for the ultimate test. And nine films in, with a tenth on the way this October, the fog-and-mirror surprises those films produce are often as harrowingly complicated as the main traps of the madman himself.

That makes listing these films a bit of a challenge chronologically. Full of twists and flashbacks, and with no official “prequels,” the Saw saga is only a semi-straight path, the rest is an avalanche of retcons and revamps involving time tricks and secret “hidden in plain sight” jigsaw apprentices involved in the cause Systems were involved, yes, since before the first film. So we split the rundown here. We’ve listed the Saw movies simply, and for those who want to piece together the flashback timeline, we’ve also listed those moments in chronological order.

jump to:

How many saw films are there?

There are nine films in all takes place in the Saw universe. Created by James Wan (The Conjuring series, Insidious franchise) and Leigh Whannell (Insidious franchise, The Invisible Man), Saw went gold in 2004 and we got a Saw movie every year thereafter – usually an October tradition – until 2010 Then came the eighth film, Jigsaw, until 2017. Then four years later for the in-universe spinoff Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Saw X (not the official title) will be released on October 27, 2023.

The Saw movies in (today’s) chronological order

1st saw (2004)

where to see: Rentable on Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Pluto TV or on most platforms.

Saw, the first installment in this mega-horror franchise, is actually unlike any other Saw film. Set mostly in one room, it behaves like a menacing, deadly escape room in which a scumbag doctor (Cary Elwes) and a sleazy photographer (author Leigh Whannell) are forced to save their own lives by playing a mysterious game that was staged by an invisible madman. Of course, there is a murderous twist at the end, the first of many shocking revelations these films would unleash.

Read  How to protect your crypto from hacks

Read ours Saw review.

2nd Saw II (2005)

Where to see: Pluto TV or rentable on most platforms.

Saw II greatly expanded the evil world of Saw, giving the trapper Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) a face and voice, as well as motivations and beliefs. As a cruel jailer, Jigsaw runs a “game” with several participants, each of whom he wants to teach a valuable lesson, including the son of a violent homicide detective (Donnie Wahlberg). Once again the clock is ticking and SAW II, a worthy sequel, ends up dropping two different major swerves – tricks that would become hallmarks of the series.

Read ours Review of Saw II.

3rd Saw III (2006)

where to see: Pluto TV or rentable on most platforms.

Things are getting undeniably brutal in Saw III, as “torture porn” begins to become a label for this subgenre of horror. Jigsaw, on the verge of succumbing to terminal cancer, performs (it seems) one last game. But who is the test for? How is everything related? A grieving father (Angus Macfadyen) is put through a horrific ordeal by fire while a doctor (Bahar Soomekh) is forced to keep Jigsaw alive long enough to complete his masterpiece. Believe it or not, this is (sort of) the last movie that has Jigsaw living in the present.

Read ours Review of Saw III.

4th Saw IV (2007)

where to see: Hulu, Pluto TV or rentable on most platforms.

Saw II showed us Jigsaw’s disdain for bad cops. Saw IV – which probably marks the end of the show’s best “you’ll never see this coming” twists – also featured him taking on cops… who cared? Whatever the case, although Jigsaw literally died in the previous film, an overly determined cop (Lyriq Bent) follows a trail of insane leads to save the day. It also introduces Costas Mandylor’s detective Mark Hoffman. Yes, the Hoffman era is officially underway.

Read ours Review of Saw IV.

5. Saw V (2008)

where to see: Hulu, Pluto TV or rentable on most platforms.

Saw V gives us a new villain, a Jigsaw sequel, and the “on the movie poster” promise of an ending we wouldn’t believe. Don’t get us wrong, the ending was creepy and gross, but it was a far cry from the ambush endings we’d seen in the previous four films. Saw V is one of the saga’s low points, as a multi-room “game” is played out by multiple victims while an FBI agent (Scott Patterson) comes within a hair’s breadth of cornering the town’s new bogeyman.

Read ours Review of Saw V

6. Saw VI (2009)

where to see: Hulu, Pluto TV or rentable on most platforms.

Although Saw VI still lands squarely in the middle of the Hoffmanaissance, it is considered the pinnacle of Saw’s back half. In this installment, Detective Hoffman and Jigsaw’s ex-wife Jill (Betsy Russell) go head-to-head as they take on an obnoxious health insurance executive (Peter Outerbridge) — and even a couple of predatory lenders — in a “game” that ends with them one of the meanest kills in the series.

Read  How to unlock new cards - Marvel Snap

Read ours Review of Saw VI.

7. Saw 3D (2010)

where to see: Hulu, Pluto TV or rentable on most platforms.

As a reward to the fans who saw and became obsessed with each film, the best twist was saved for last and Saw 3D fell flat. Yes, including the big “gotcha” conclusion, which was just a rework of things we’d seen before, was done better. Dubbed “The Final Chapter,” this film focuses on a fake “Trap Survivor” life coach (Sean Patrick Flanery) who is forced to do the Jigsaw dance for real. Everything closed here, but the end result felt empty.

Read ours Review for Saw 3D.

8.Jigsaw Puzzles (2017)

where to see: Peacock, Fubo, DirecTV or rentable on most platforms.

Seven years after the “final chapter,” someone is playing a game again and taunting the police with mutilated bodies to boot. Is it a Jigsaw copycat? Or did the Real Deal somehow come back from the great afterlife? The folks behind Jigsaw thought the long hiatus might make old twists feel new again. Unfortunately you were wrong. Go back to Jigsaw’s early days and reveal it yet another Apprentice We’d Never Seen Before seemed like the only way to continue a franchise that killed its main villain in the third film.

Read ours Review of Jigsaw.

Spiral 8: From the Book of the Saw (2021)

Where to see: Rentable on most platforms.

When Chris Rock decided to make a Saw movie based on a story of his own making, excitement about the franchise was renewed. The final product was a bit lacking, however, as Rock, who plays a detective stalking a (real this time) Jigsaw copycat who targets bad cops, does more by the numbers than audiences were expecting. Spiral is the first film Tobin Bell doesn’t play Jigsaw/John Kramer in, and while previous films certainly ran out of flashback material for him, his absence was noticeable.

Read ours Review of Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

The Saw movies in (flashback) chronological order

OK, let’s go. These small blurbs contain SPOILER for the Saw franchise, as this list follows John Kramer, aka Jigsaw, and his progression from married engineer to divorced, dying torture maniac. And that includes all people he recruited to help him along the way, which appear as plot twists throughout the series. So, to watch John’s life unfold, do it in this order…

IV seen

Immediately after the series killed him in Saw III, Tobin Bell had to stay for a recap of John’s life, married to Jill, then pregnant and the head of a rehab clinic. A violent encounter with a junkie causes a miscarriage. A strained marriage ends in divorce. John tries to kill himself but survives, helping him create “games” where people can prove how much they value their lives by hurting themselves to survive death.

Read  How To Quit Vaping – Cleveland Clinic


Now it is finally unclear who the first apprentice was: Logan Nelson or Mark Hoffman. There are arguments for both sides. But because Nelson never showed up with Hoffman or Amanda, he’s this levitating satellite recruit who may have been the first person taken under Jigsaw’s wing. He was a player who accidentally survived his test (placed there because his botch resulted in John’s cancer diagnosis being delayed). After sparing his life, John adopts the Jigsaw philosophy and helps build the dreaded, famous reverse bear trap.

V seen

Saw IV revealed that Mark Hoffman was with Jigsaw, but Saw V showed how that meeting and guidance came about. Mark, a corrupt cop looking to avenge his sister’s death, killed his sister’s attacker in a jigsaw trap style to cover up his crime so John would be blamed. However, John finds him and more or less forces him to become his henchman, and the two are shown setting traps and games from the previous films.

saw II

In one of the two major twists in the film, Amanda Young is revealed to be a new apprentice implanted in the game itself. Amanda, who appears in the first film, is an actual (non-accidental) trap survivor who then finds redemption in John’s crazy mission.

saw III

This is another Amanda-heavy story (we know why by the end) and we see flashbacks of her and John setting up the escape room trap scenario from the first Saw movie.


Saw is saw is saw.

3D seen

This revealed at the very end that Dr. Gordon was rescued from the first saw by Jigsaw and turned into an apprentice the others didn’t even know about, with orders to exact violent retaliation if anything ever happened to Jill.

Saw VI

We see the tension between Hoffman and Amanda as Hoffman blackmails her into knowing she is connected to the incident that caused Jill’s miscarriage.

How to watch The Saw movies by release date

If you want to watch all the movies in theatrical release order, below is the correct list:

Matt Fowler is a freelance entertainment writer/critic who has been covering television news, reviews, interviews and features on IGN for more than 13 years.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button