Sunday Lists: Saw Franchise – Best to Worst

Saw Franchise

Its Sunday! Time for another list. If you missed the kickoff Sunday Lists post, you can find it HERE as I start off the list of my favorite TV Ships.

After some pondering, we’re taking a look at the franchise I just caught up with for the Halloween marathon in October – the Saw franchise. There’s only one movie I haven’t seen yet so it will be excluded until I  see it, then the list will be updated accordingly.

The list will Best to Worst so my favorite will be the first and least favorite will be the last. You all understand the drill.

1. Saw (2004)

Saw

The best movie in the franchise is the one that started it all. Saw was a psychological thriller with body horror elements. It had a fantastic script, an eerie one location setting (for the most part) and a great introduction of Jigsaw. It was a thrill to watch through and through and just made so smart. James Wan has an eye for horror, and this film definitely showcases that perfectly whereas Leigh Whanell co-writes with him an engaging story that lets us learn about these characters and wonder why they are chosen to be here and their secrets. Read my review HERE.

2.Saw VI (2009)

Saw VI

Its a tough one to choose for the 2nd because the rest of these are hard to place. However, Saw VI brought back some of the more psychological aspects. It definitely has gotten comfortable in its body horror/torture porn focus. While there are parts that hard to stomach, what stands out here is its look at why Jigsaw chooses his victims and dives into something of a more ethic and morals oriented motive which is why a lot of the victims are chosen because they don’t cherish their life. Saw VI brings a lot of those aspects back as the choices test limits. Read my review HERE.

3. Saw II (2005)

Saw 2

What started out as a film I didn’t like so much when I started the franchise after some thought came in third place. Saw II had a myriad of characters that weren’t really anyone you wanted to vouch for. It was the sequel and the okay to broaden the scope a ton by opening up the room concept to a house full of traps for each of these captives. It had some great ideas but the execution at times weren’t all that great. To be honest, the reason I didn’t like this so much was for one of the characters who was meant to be hated so means he did do a good job as I looked at it again. Read my review HERE.

4. Saw IV (2007)

saw IV

Next up, Saw IV takes on the 4th place coincidentally (perhaps for now). Saw IV saw the insert of some new faces particularly Scott Patterson as Agent Strahm who adds some color to the role. It does bring a change in pace with the police that is competent. This one also saw the introduction of a deeper look into Jigsaw and what brought him to become the man he is now. Call it something of an origin story and it worked for the most part. Read my review HERE.

5. Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010)

saw the final chapter

While most Saw 3D scores are pretty low, I did find some enjoyment out of this one. A lot of the reasons are the embrace of the ethics in the games although this captive and the game was much more predictable and the beginning characters were a little dumb. However, the final twist of the whole thing made up for a lot of its fault bumping this one up. Read my review HERE.

6. Saw V (2008)

Saw V

Saw V is quite near the end. Its problem being that its forgettable. I don’t remember much of what happened in it except that a lot of it didn’t make sense. I’m sure a lot of people could say that for a lot of the 4, 5, and 6 logically does feel nonsensical. This one was boring and if you think about it, a tad ridiculous. However, it does save itself a little because it strengthens the role of the apprentice ever so slightly. Read my review HERE.

7. Saw III (2006)

Saw III

And the bottom of the barrel and hard to probably escape from it would be Saw III. The reasons being that it felt really unfitting to the series. This one went into the extreme body horror path which was gratuitous and over the top which was plain disgusting and betrayed what particularly the first movie was about. It went in the direction I had heard the Saw franchise being about and what had stopped me from catching the franchise in the first place but adding in a lot of pretty ridiculous moments and characters. It wasn’t fun to watch and wasn’t engaging. Read my review HERE.

Movies remaining to watch and rate in franchise:

  • Jigsaw (2017)

Here’s how I’d rate it from best to worst? Do you agree? How would your list change?
Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Horror Marathon: Saw V (2008)

Moving back into the Saw franchise, we go to the fifth installment! So far, its getting disappointing but some have told me it’ll get better. So fingers crossed, I guess…

Let’s check it out!

Saw V (2008)

Saw V

Director: David Hackl

Cast: Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Tobin Bell, Betsy Russell, Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Mark Erickson, Greg Bryk

Following Jigsaw’s grisly demise, Mark Hoffman is commended as a hero, but Agent Strahm is suspicious, and delves into Hoffman’s past. Meanwhile, another group of people are put through a series of gruesome tests. – IMDB

Saw V deepens the story a little more as we take a look at how Hoffman got chosen by Jigsaw as his apprentice and to pick up the job after his passing. It ties in some parts of the past movies and actually does kind of make sense. Saw V has its gory moments particularly one of the first deaths at the beginning which is literally gut wrenchingly disgusting. Its really not my cup of tea. It didn’t make me feel scared or anything, just made me turn away so I wouldn’t get all nausea and shut the movie off. However, once we get past that part, the story driven elements runs a little deeper here, its interesting to kind of get a better idea of the timeline of the story while still having that element of the Jigsaw game. Its also cool that its quite obvious that the Jigsaw voice has changed to Hoffman’s (maybe slightly) distorted voice. Point is, I like the general direction of this one a little more than the previous two, at least. The only issue is that the movie does jump from scene to scene from Jigsaw and Hoffman to the elaborated captives trying to escape and then to Agent Strahm who is tracing back the steps. At times, this makes it feel slightly fragmented/disjointed.

Saw 5

I guess the approach here is to look at the three stories they are telling. Hoffman and Jigsaw are interesting characters. Hoffman is kind of a messed up cop because of a tragedy and he is vengeful as well and in some ways, Jigsaw was about to see through it in a see of people and know it was him and handpicked him to have an opportunity to learn his talent of anticipating human nature so that while it seems like his victims have a choice, they actually have to break out of their instinctive nature to make it out. And its pretty clever in that way, especially when we see Hoffman finally embracing that at the end of this one. Is that considered a spoiler? Maybe…I’m sorry.

Saw V

This brings us to the captives caught in the game which may have a deeper purpose in the story which I haven’t quite figured out yet or the story hasn’t gone there but it did help emphasize on the fact that these were people connected because of an incident which they eventually figure out however, they also become victims of their own nature of self-preservation and not being able to break out of that mentality causing them to have deadly endings. In a way, its also pretty clever, especially the games in each room they have to encounter because by the end, you see that the game was set up so that everyone could survive as long as they were able to think out of the box, which obviously they didn’t. The games itself weren’t particularly gory instead it was on the effect and surprise of what had to be achieved. There’s a little more of a psychological aspect here even if at times, who was going to die or make it became slightly predictable.

Saw V

The reason and motivation of my desire to continue after the third was all on Scott Patterson and my love for his character in Luke. Sigh~ I have to say that he takes on Agent Strahm and is the highlight of the last two. His character is cool because he’s smart and he traces through all these things and then realizes that he’s caught up in something that is way ahead of his expectations. However, his part as he traces to Jigsaw’s building and then goes underground and goes back to these traps (that somehow are still there) and looks back at previous movies of why they are there. My main issue with this is that he finds these trap doors or something in the walls and yet the police and forensic  or whatever investigative team didn’t find it the first time around. Doesn’t that feel like a trap? It just lacks a little bit of sense.

While it seems like I’m really not enjoying Saw V, there are some redeemable parts of it as long as you don’t try to make it too sensible. I have issues with how the story flows and even the timeline of it. But I have a feeling that when Hoffman’s lifespan as the Jigsaw apprentice wraps up, depending how long that is, we will start to get a full picture and everything should piece together. At least I sure hope so. As for expectations for Saw VI? I have none. Its the best way to get into these movies at this point. I just need it to somehow piece together without the feeling that the best parts are always in their finale because this formula is getting old really fast.

Have you seen Saw V?

Horror Marathon: Saw (2004)

We always kick off the Horror Marathon with our headliner! This year is Saw in case you missed the announcement yesterday. If you did, you can get a sneak peek of a few upcoming entries as well. I’m still in the process of watching as I’m drafting this review up so even if you asked me for other titles, I might not be completely sure. So let’s all be surprised, right?

I’ve always had the impression that Saw was a gore fest and its one of the reasons why I’ve avoided it all these years however, I’ve also learned that gore and torture porn while may not always be my constant watch, they tend to not scare me so much either. They make me uneasy if done really well but no lingering effects for the most part. However, the first Saw had its surprises for sure.

Let’s check it out!

 Saw (2004)

Saw

Director (and co-writer): James Wan

Cast: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whanell, Danny Glover, Ken Leung, Tobin Bell

Two strangers awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there or why, and soon discover they are pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer. – IMDB

Cary Elwes and Leigh Whanell! Wow, it sure shows how little I know about Saw. Right off the bat, Saw starts off in tense moments showing us exactly the intricacy of Jigsaw’s plans. By the time, we get to Cary Elwes as the doctor and Leigh Whanell as the photographer trapped in the room with him, it starts being more psychological. If anything, Jigsaw and the Saw franchise is who started the escape room craze in an extreme way of working together and just with incredibly higher stakes. Saw is a psychological journey and a pretty tense and smart one at that. Jigsaw puts down these elaborate plans to reveal these characters’ secrets while using it as an extra layer of his obsession to push his captives to fight for survival to cherish their life.

Saw

Based on this entry piece for Saw, its not hard to see how this had a sequel. Jigsaw is still a huge mystery and that is mostly because his game gives his characters many layers to learn about and build up. Just like our two captives here. Both Leigh Whanell and Cary Elwes delivers some great performances. Sure, there are some over the top moments but somehow they all seem deliberate to either create some humor that could break the tension however, humor is definitely far and few here. On the other hand, the captives are also followed with a back story of sorts as we follow the detectives who try to track down Jigsaw played by Danny Glover and his partner played by Ken Leung. It is also through the investigation that we learn a little more about Jigsaw.

Saw

Perhaps here is the perfect place to talk about the story because James Wan and Leigh Whanell truly write a fantastic story. Its twisted and intriguing. Its characters are unraveled in a great pace and have enough depth to make them both mysterious and suspicous. As great as the actors here are, it does help that the script is very strong.

Overall, Saw is a great way to start a franchise and it will be interesting to see where the story goes next. Sequels rarely are as strong as their first part so I’m going to keep my expectations tame for Saw 2. However, for this marathon, its also an awesome to start with something both psychologically thrilling and disturbing all at the same time. I’m starting to feel a little silly that I’ve put off watching Saw for so long.

Have you seen Saw? Which is your favorite entry of this franchise?

Halloween Horror Marathon Announcement!!

Its the 5th ANNUAL HALLOWEEN HORROR MARATHON ANNOUNCEMENT!

Another year sure passes by fast! 5 years since I’ve officially hopped back into the horror scene! For those who don’t know, I had stopped for a while from horror films mostly because I’m just a major scaredy-cat and almost anything scares me. My husband scares me occassionally just by walking up when I’m working. Jumpy? That I am. Anyways, the break was needed and in 2012, I decided to hop back in and man, has it been a fantastic journey. Most of my horror films now are seen in this month or during Fantasia Festival in July. And then its incredibly scattered throughout the year mostly whenever I feel like it, which isn’t too often because its a whole new challenge to figure out what horror subgenre I’d like to watch and then deciding on the film. Okay..stopping the rambling.

In the last 5 years, we’ve done a lot of the big franchises: Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th and even did Scream and Evil Dead last year. So, what next? The contenders for this year went from Hellraiser (which was abandoned because apparently one or two of the Hellraiser sequels are impossible to find) then Final Destination (which I heard is pretty disgusting) and finally, the final final decision is THE SAW FRANCHISE! Barring the last movie that will open in October because I’ll be swamped at work at that time frame so we will be looking at 7 existing movies!

Alongside that will be a few book reviews, TV binges and of course, other movie selection. I had a head start this year so some absolute ones making an appearance will be Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1 TV Binge for example. In terms of books, IT is being read but its taking a long time so I fill in the breaks with Horror Movies A Day. Hopefully that might inspire some of the movie choices if I can find them. As for movies, The Autopsy of Jane Doe review is coming up.

Those are just three (or four) entries that you will see. Add in the 7 from Saw, we still have a lot of empty space… You know what else I’m doing which is incredibly overdue is to watch George A Romero’s films. We can’t afford to buy any ones that we don’t own so we have 3 more selections that will be reviewed. All first time viewings! I think it’ll be fun and interesting 🙂

So we have close to 15 entries set along with some random posts like Music Obsessions, My Weekly Adventures and such. The rest will be surprises as I haven’t started them yet but hopefully, they’ll all get some love. I’ll try to pick from Netflix and my unwatched physical copies.

As usual, if you have any suggestions, please do tell me what you’d like me to watch and I’ll try my best to see if I can access it. However, if you do suggest, you can check out if I’ve reviewed it before right HERE. At the time you are looking at it, it should be updated till the end of September!

See you all tomorrow for the first entry as we kick off with the review of Saw!