Although the Saw film franchise has had a few big name stars attached to itself over the years, including Chris Rock, Cary Elwes, and franchise regular Tobin Bell—who at this point has appeared in more Saw movies since his character was killed off at the end of 2006’s Saw III than before—the true star of the series has always been its traps. Call them “games,” call them “tests,” but always call them what they are: The reason people have showed up to this franchise nine times over, with the 10th, Saw X (pronounced, obviously, “Socks”) arriving in theaters this week.
But not all traps are created equal—especially once you start factoring in Jigsaw’s apparently inexhaustible supply of cut-rate apprentices, students, and Costas Mandylors from the sequels into the mix. And so, in the interest of furthering the murder-sciences, we’ve done a harrowing, exceptionally sanguine run through all nine extant Saw films (including technical spin-off Spiral, from 2021) in order to figure out which ones pass muster as the franchise takes its latest overly elaborate stab at reviving itself. And since that also necessitated watching all of the franchise’s lazy and stupid traps too—there are a lot of them, Saw IV is awful—we’ve gone ahead and ranked the five worst for you, while we’re at it.
So, without further ado: We’d like to play a game. (The game is ranking most of the traps from Saw.)