How to watch the Saw movies in order

Jigsaw has been responsible for some of the goriest horror movies this century, and we've put all the Saw movies in order if you're looking to catch up

Saw movies in order

How do you watch the Saw movies in order? Would you like to play a game? The defining horror movie franchise of the 2000s, Saw quickly evolved from a clever, well-made chiller into a sprawling franchise that now nine films deep.

Along the way, we’ve followed John Kramer (Tobin Bell), who becomes the serial killer Jigsaw when the American healthcare system refuses to help his terminal cancer diagnosis. Well, “Serial killer” is technically incorrect, because he never murders anyone, they just kill themselves by failing to escape some horrendous puzzles he makes for them. However, that’s excusing how he stalks and kidnaps them, even if he offers a way out.

Philosophical misgivings asides, Saw traps have long made the thriller movies a prime attraction for people who want some gore on the big screen. Around all the drowning pig carcasses and acid baths, there’s a long, expansive lore built around John Kramer and his convincing way of enlisting others to his cause. This makes following all the Saw movies in order a task, but one we’re here to help with. No games, just good, honest information!

How to watch the Saw movies in order:

  • Jigsaw (first half)
  • Saw
  • Saw 2
  • Saw 3
  • Saw 4
  • Saw 5
  • Saw 6
  • Saw 3D
  • Jigsaw (second half)
  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Saw movies in order: Jigsaw

Jigsaw (first half)

The twisted games of Jigsaw start in his namesake instalment, the eighth film in the franchise. An extended flashback that composes the entire first act shows his first experiment and the poor victims who suffered because of it. It’s not the entire first half, but it’s close enough, and if you want the full story from the start, this is where to go.

Saw movies in order: Saw

Saw

James Wan’s classic bottleneck detective movie that started it all. You know the premise by now: two men wake up chained to opposite sides of a bathroom, one of them instructed to kill the other to save his family. As they try to figure out what to do, a parallel subplot has detectives hunting for the Jigsaw Killer, who’s become well-known for his sadistic traps. Works as a stand-alone film or as part of this greater mythology.

Saw movies in order: Saw 2

Saw 2

Right after Saw, Jigsaw, otherwise known as John Kramer, is caught by detective Eric Matthews. Always two steps ahead, John has Eric’s son Daniel in one of his games. Daniel is locked inside an unidentified house with eight other people, and they all have two hours to live. Stressful. Flashbacks reveal that Jigsaw has terminal cancer, setting up his downward spiral.

Saw movies in order: Saw 3

Saw 3

Here’s where things start to get a little tricky. Amanda, from Saw 2, is now an apprentice Jigsaw Killer, along with detective Mark Hoffman. In Saw 3 and Saw 4, they each initiate different methods of torture, demonstrating what John taught them, at the same time, around six months on from the last film.

Amanda’s charged John himself, keeping a doctor in charge of his fading body by strapping them into a headpiece that’ll blast them with five shotgun shells if they run. Meanwhile, a grieving father is forced to punish those involved in the death of his son from a drink-driving accent. Gruelling, and where the endings start to become truly obtuse.

Saw movies in order: Saw 4

Saw 4

Away from all that, Mark puts an investigator on Jigsaw’s case through utter hell. Lieutenant Daniel Rigg moves from victim to victim, all in a vain effort to finally apprehend John Kramer. He fails, and the rabbit hole of Jigsaw’s influence gets deeper and deeper. The Saw movies have fully transitioned into ‘gorenographic’ territory by this point.

Saw movies in order: Saw 5

Saw 5

In the aftermath of Saw 4, Mark sealed the case on Jigsaw and gets promoted. He doesn’t have everyone convinced, though, and FBI agent Peter Strahm is on his trail. Five more victims are locked in an explosive, deadly game in n underground bunker, and Peter finds the Jigsaw case a crushing one to follow – literally and figuratively. Mark, in contrast to Jigsaw, clearly enjoys the cruelty, breaking away from the ethos of offering a “fair” escape for the subject.

Saw movies in order: Saw 6

Saw 6

Mark takes over another game at the posthumous request of Jigsaw, targeting William Easton, the head of a dubious health insurance company that refused to cover John for his cancer. In the end, Jill, Jigsaw’s widow, reveals a plan to take out Mark, but he survives, setting up a big clash for Saw 7.

Saw movies in order: Saw 7

Saw 3D

Remember when Avatar came out and 3D was inescapable for a few years? Even Saw got involved. Jill trades information on Mark and Jigsaw for immunity from the FBI. As detective Matt Gibson searches for Mark, another game involving white supremacists takes place. In a massive twist, Dr Lawrence Gordon, a survivor from the first movie, is revealed to be another apprentice, and he traps Mark as the credits roll.

Saw movies in order: Jigsaw

Jigsaw (second half)

And we’re right back into Jigsaw, where, a decade after Saw 3, another of John’s dedicated followers emerges. Logan Nelson, who survived another Saw trap, is now carrying on the criminal mastermind’s work. Yet more history on John’s masterplan is revealed. Ultimately, it’s just about all the gore.

Saw movies in order: Spiral

Spiral: From the Book of Saw

The latest chapter of Saw is Spiral, the Chris Rock-fronted spin-off about a copycat Jigsaw. Samuel L Jackson joins the franchise as well. Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed Saw 2, Saw 3, and Saw 4, helms the film, which mostly serves to give us a brand new Jigsaw, who outwits and outsmarts everyone to maximum bloody results. We’ll have to wait for Saw 10 to see what other terrors await.

Saw movies in order: Jigsaw

How to watch the Saw movies in release order:

  • Saw
  • Saw 2
  • Saw 3
  • Saw 4
  • Saw 5
  • Saw 6
  • Saw 3D
  • Jigsaw
  • Spiral: From the Book of Saw

Unlike Jigsaw’s heinous puzzles, the Saw timeline is straightforward regardless of what way you watch it. If you choose release order, the Saw movies are exactly the same bar the first act of Jigsaw.

Then you’re into seven instalments of John Kramer’s particular brand of justice, and then Jigsaw and Spiral, and the next era of Saw. Whatever happens next, rest assured that somehow John has it covered. Have a look at our guides to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre timelines and the Halloween movies for other ominous killers.