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YMMV: SAW
Hello, troper.

I wrote this note as an... insurance policy, of sorts. If you are reading this, it is because, while adding tropes to the main page of my films, you added... a YMMV item.

You knew full well the consequences of doing so, yet you put the trope on the main page anyways, foolhardy in your beliefs as to how widespread your opinion was.

Well now you have one last shot at redemption. Below is a partial listing, started by those who came before and made the same grave mistake as you, of subjective tropes found in my films. If you wish to escape your predicament, you must complete this list, before that anvil drops. It is closer now, troper, but luckily for you, there are fewer subjective tropes than tropes that belong on the main page.

And remember, troper, all of these items are subjective; if you do not take into account the opinions of those who disagree with you while adding examples, you will not succeed.

Your opinions brought you here, and now you must put them on display for all to see if you wish to escape with your life.

Live or die, troper.

Make your tropes.


  • Acceptable Targets: Many of Jigsaw's victims are deplorable characters, such as thieves, druggies, racists, gangsters, killers, rapists, and lawyers. In some cases, though, the victims have only made minor mistakes in their lives, and others are completely innocent.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is Jigsaw a true monster, or a legitimately sick and tragically misguided social engineer?
    • Given his capabilities, more like an anthropomorphic personification of a force of nature. A few myths come to mind as well for more specific possibilities.
    • There's another dimension to him as of the sixth movie. The main character was employed by the company that denied his insurance claims. In four and five, his lawyer and the man who (accidentally, but was still a horrible person) killed his unborn kid, the second movie was about the cops that were after him, and the first film featured his doctor who didn't even bother to remember his name. On top of that, many of the other victims are people he was jealous of. Not saying he didn't actually kill some truly rotten people, but the more the series goes on, the more it seems like the entire series is his petty revenge list.
  • Anvilicious: The sixth film. Released right in the middle of a bad recession and a heated debate on health care, the writers give us an opening trap featuring two bankers who gave loans to people they knew couldn't pay, and the main game's victim, William, is an executive at a health insurance company who gets to make some fantastically gory life-or-death decisions for his co-workers before getting killed by the widow and son of a man he denied coverage. One scene is an outright Author Filibuster in which Jigsaw, in a flashback in William's office, states that it's hypocritical to attack the government for trying to take life-and-death decisions away from doctors and their patients, when the health insurance industry does this regularly by denying coverage.
  • Ass Pull: Hoffman being Jigsaw's second/first (depends on how you look at it) apprentice in Saw IV.
    • Dr. Gordon being the third apprentice was an Ass Pull the size of a small moon.
  • Badass Decay: Jill Tuck in Saw 3D. In Saw VI, she Took a Level in Badass and placed an upgraded Reverse Bear Trap on Hoffman, and then leaves him to die without any sign of remorse. After her plan fails, her badassness immediately goes away and she willingly puts herself under Witness Protection and spends most of the movie sitting at a safe house or in a jail cell. But the worst part was at the end where she starts screaming and wailing for help at the top of her lungs when Hoffman finds her in her cell.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Horsepower Trap in Saw 3D seems to serve no other purpose than to deliver a "Racism is bad!" message. Although the resulting corpses later play a crucial role in Hoffman's plan.
  • Broken Base: After Saw III hit the screens, THE ENTIRE FUCKING FANBASE argued about it. Online and off. History repeated itself with the final movie, Saw 3D.
  • Complete Monster: Detective Mark Hoffman is Jigsaw's second apprentice and surpasses both his Well-Intentioned Extremist mentor and Ax-Crazy Broken Bird alumnus Amanda in evil in how many lines he is willing to cross. Unlike Jigsaw's traps, which tended to give a chance for survival, Hoffman places his victims into traps simply to kill them to satisfy his own sadism and cruelty. He frames Agent Peter Strahm for his crimes and then arranges his horrible death by being crushed by compacting walls. To cover his tracks, Hoffman begins murdering innocent people and then goes on a rampage in the police station, killing every officer he finds before placing his rival and Jigsaw's wife Jill in a trap to kill her horribly.
  • Contested Sequel: Saw 3D gained a lot of hatred from the fanbase for the widespread 3D gimmicks and sacrificing of the plot for more Gorn. Some see 3D as falling straight into the Torture Porn nadir that the series used to mostly avert. The well-documented Executive Meddling didn't help things either.
    • The same could be said for Saw 3 - many claimed it focused more on making the audience vomit than the actual plot.
  • Crack Pairing: A lot, most notably Hoffman/Amanda. They hate each other's guts but that doesn't keep the fans from shipping them.
  • Creepy Awesome: Jigsaw and his two disciples, Amanda and Mark.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: Simone, the survivor of the flesh scale trap from the beginning of Saw VI, attends a Jigsaw Survivor meeting in the following movie. While the other survivors talk on about how grateful they are for having gone through their tests and what a great method Jigsaw employs, Simone rightly points out what monstrous sociopaths Jigsaw and his apprentices are. The best part is when one of the survivors claims that her life's improved due to Jigsaw helping her escape an abusive relationship (i.e. putting her in a contest where she was forced to kick her partner into a room full of rotating lawnmower blades) she calls her out on how ridiculous that is.
    Simone: He had to die for you to leave him!?
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The Series' main Theme, commonly known as "Hello Zepp".
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: After a few films, it's hard to care about the protagonists since more often than not, they will die anyway.
  • Designated Hero: Strahm. In Saw IV, he was a Jerkass and a borderline Smug Snake who always talked to Jill with a condescending tone. And as Erickson pointed out, he failed to save anyone from the third or fourth movies. In Saw V, he Took a Level in Dumbass and became one of the most boring characters in the series who seemed to rely on taking the Leeroy Jenkins option in order to get things done. It's amazing that he didn't die until the very end of the fifth film, let alone survived the fourth one.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Hoffman has quite a large fanbase who see him as undeniably awesome for escaping the Reverse Bear Trap. In fact, many choose to disregard Word of God saying that he dies in the bathroom.
  • Epileptic Trees: Mostly regarding the fate of Dr. Gordon. Not that it matters as of Saw 3D.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Hoffman fanbase generally ignores Word of God stating that Hoffman dies in the bathroom at the end of 3D.
  • Growing the Beard: Saw VI was considered a huge improvement over the previous two films by fans (and critics) alike. Unfortunately, it is one of the least successful financially because the poor quality of the previous few entries had turned people off the series.
  • He's Just Hiding: Some fans refuse to believe that Adam is dead and theorize his body in the sequels has been replaced with another one because of a continuity error (his corpse is shown to be chained by his right ankle while in the first movie he was chained by his left).
  • Ho Yay: Believe it or not, it's actually been suggested between Lawrence and Adam.
  • Idiot Plot: Even people who've dealt with Jigsaw in the past turn into flailing idiots when the plot requires it of them.
    • Subverted with Hoffman at the end of Saw VI, who gets right to work escaping the reverse bear trap 2.0 and manages to find a creative way of preventing it from opening fully when he can't get it off in time. The subversion is justified since he is Jigsaw's second apprentice, after all, and the more stable-minded of the two.
    • Also, the tape players. People always play them, even though that starts the timer. While some automatically start when they wake up, the ones that have to be started manually could be bypassed, given them more time to figure out the trap, and how to beat it. (Though in Saw II the Needle Pit timer was already on when the group entered the room.)
    • It seems that the law enforcement will always follow this. Jigsaw giving clues as to where he is? You can bet your ass the police will go charging in, despite the fact that he's known for TRAPS. That, and they can't seem to catch a terminally ill old man. (They did in Saw 2 but as usual he managed to get away.)
      • This is actually subverted in Saw IV. As soon as they recognize a potential trap they send a robot drone in ahead to scout and secure the area first. Rigg charges in as soon as the body's found, but that's because he lost his head when he realized who the person was. And then they go right back to drooling idiots in Saw 3D.
  • It Was His Sled: At this point, it's nearly impossible to read anything about the series— including this page— without finding out that Jigsaw is John Kramer. (See?) The once-shocking twist is also naturally lost on anybody who watches the films out of order.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Bobby Dagen in 3D, never more so than when he fails his final test. It was bad enough seeing him lose all of his friends and co-workers; seeing him lose his wife — in one of the franchise's most disturbing death scenes — was just icing on the Woobie portion of the cake.
  • Les Yay: Well, kinda. Amanda and Lynn in Saw III had some serious tension between them in the movie. Amanda certainly looked like she enjoyed Lynn shoving her up against a fence.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Jigsaw and Hoffman.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Some fans think that what Jigsaw does isn't murder because he gives his victims a way out, and that Jigsaw's principle is noble in that those who survive his games will become better people. Perhaps because of this, one of the main themes of Saw III was that Jigsaw's work was ultimately a failure, and that those who survived his games weren't changed at all. (Amanda, for example, had resumed cutting herself, and still had the same psychological issues that she had before Jigsaw 'helped' her...and now, thanks to Jigsaw, she had murder as an outlet for them.)
  • Moral Event Horizon: Chavez throwing Amanda into the pit of needles and forcing her to solve his test for him.
    • Hoffman killing Jill is the point John implicitly gives Gordon the order to take him out.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Right now, you're feeling helpless.
  • Nightmare Fuel: And how. See this page for examples.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Detective Hoffman
    • Take That, Scrappy!: The end of Saw 3D finally has him getting his just deserts.
    • Gibson, good lord.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Two cases:
  • Tear Jerker: One of the most depressing moments in the franchise is Adam being left to die in the bathroom at the end of the original. Just listen to his increasingly panicked screams over the end credits.
  • The Scrappy: As the sequel number increases, so do the number of annoying or useless characters. The original Saw is the only one that doesn't have a scrappy in it. It gets rather frustrating when the main character being tested is the scrappy. It gets even more frustrating when scrappies are going to get out of the heap, but end up getting killed.
    • Saw II avoided having a scrappy as well. The only completely unlikeable character is Xavier, who's a villain.
    • The trope should just be renamed 'The Brent', after the horribly annoying and murderous character from VI. Not even having recently lost his father can make him in any way endearing or likeable, or even understandable.
    • Shelby from the Carousel trap and Simone from the opening trap of VI. Simone gets subtly Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in The Final Chapter, but Shelby? No such luck.
  • Sequelitis: Each fan of the series has his or her own opinion of just where it went off the rails. Some say it was the second film ("Saw never needed a sequel!"), others say it was the fourth ("the third movie finished the trilogy perfectly!"), and others say it was the fifth ("that movie just plain sucked!"). Averted, however, with the reaction to the sixth film, which many people feel is a return to form for the series. Played straight, however, with Saw 3D, which was almost universally panned by fans and critics alike.
  • Special Effects Failure: In several shots it's quite obvious that the "glass" shards in the box at the end of Saw V are actually made out of rubber.
    • The much maligned "pink blood" in 3D is often described as this. Behind the scenes shots show that the blood actually did look pretty real, but was changed to a pinkish color in editing for unexplained reasons.
  • Squick: Lots of it. Every film in the franchise (following the first) is practically built on it.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Some fans feel this way about Jigsaw.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: Saw VI
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Saw 3D had two potential interesting plot points: what made Dr. Gordon join Jigsaw and the Jigsaw survivor group. Both of them were ignored in favor of Bobby Dagen's storyline; the survivor's group goes nowhere and Gordon's role amounts to little more than a cameo and doesn't tell us anything that the fans hadn't already guessed years ago. Several concepts were scrapped as a result of the final two movies being crammed into one.
    • The seventh movie also begins with a new concept: A trap appearing in public, where three victims are sealed behind bulletproof glass in front of a busy street. This would've been a very intriguing subplot (how does the crowd react, the societal impact, the added difficulty of setting these traps up without being discovered etc.) Sadly, it's never followed up on, and is hardly even mentioned after the first scene.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Saw VI has the implications that men don't deserve to live (the only male survivor of a trap in the movie is The Bad Guy Hoffman).
    • Then on the flip side, Saw 3D was accused of being misogynistic because six out of the ten people we see killed in the traps were female and their deaths were much more brutal than the ones the male victims experienced. Though take the series as a whole, it's actually the opposite case (especially, as stated above, Saw VI and the first movie in which no women die or are harmed).
    • The series as a whole is seen by people who don't know the saga as promoting the idea that 'torture is cool' when it's clearly not. Since the films themselves spend so much time on the gory details, this last point is easily missed by some of the actual viewers as well.
      • This issue happened mostly from two things: 1) the first two movies had elements of Bloodless Carnage, which at least avoided any possible fetishization from the more extreme Gorn of the later movies, and 2) the sequels after Saw III tend to streamline the obvious fact that Jigsaw's philosophy is flawed to the core. Since Hoffman became Jigsaw, it's easy to ignore the shaky moral pretense formed by the first trilogy.
  • Villain Sue / The Bad Guy Wins: Don't expect Jigsaw to ever get his comeuppance or fail in his plans. The same generally goes for his followers/"apprentices" as well, with rare exceptions.
    • Until he dies in the 3rd film along with Amanda. Not to mention Hoffman being locked in a bathroom to die and Jill having her face destroyed with the RBT. Really, the only villain to get away is Dr. Gordon
  • Wangst: Jeff Denlon.
  • The Woobie: It's hard not to feel sorry for Jill as she struggles and fails to escape the Reverse Bear Trap at the end of 3D, with her happier times with John flashing before her eyes.


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