The 13 Best (Worst?) ‘Saw’ Traps
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Film The 13 Best (Worst?) ‘Saw’ Traps

The 13 Best (Worst?) ‘Saw’ Traps



The 13 Best (Worst?) ‘Saw’ Traps

In an early scene in “Saw X,” John Kramer (Tobin Bell) offers a succinct summary of how he chooses to spend his free time: “I help people enact positive change in their lives.”

It’s a statement that would elicit some pushback from his victims, but it feels like a fair phrasing of his perspective. The man commonly known as Jigsaw is not a serial killer in any conventional sense of the word. While he’s probably responsible for more deaths, dismemberments, and general maimings than everyone reading this combined, he never holds the weapon himself. Instead he prefers to place his victims in elaborate DIY torture devices that force them to willingly inflict massive amounts of bodily harm on themselves in order to save their lives. If they fail to perform his tasks in the impossibly short time windows that he gives them, Jigsaw feels that they have nobody but themselves to blame for their deaths.

Over two decades and ten movies, Jigsaw and his proteges have robbed victims of their limbs, internal organs, fluids, and general dignity in a variety of traps. But the grotesque results often masks the creativity that goes into Kramer’s engineering. If you’ve ever wondered what might have been produced if Rube Goldberg and Marquis de Sade hung out, look no further than a “Saw” trap.

Kramer’s clever engineering often creates a horrifying marriage of form and function. The early “Saw” films famously ensured that all of the traps actually worked and could theoretically be built in real life. (That standard was abandoned as the films got more outlandish, but was reintroduced for “Saw X,” which takes place just three weeks after the original “Saw.“) At first glance his traps look like something out of a Gothic museum — and even after learning about their nauseating purposes, the temptation to be impressed that he built them never quite goes away.

Steve Jobs famously said that “design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” It’s a sentiment that Jigsaw would likely agree with, as his personal sadism shines through in every step of each trap. Keep reading for our 13 favorite exercises in brutality from the “Saw” franchise — listed in chronological order. Warning: Spoilers ahead! 

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