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Film / Jigsaw

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WARNING: All spoilers from previous films in the Saw franchise are unmarked here. Read on or go backmake your choice.
"The truth will set you free."

"Now, the game's simple. Best ones are. You want mercy? Play by the rules."

Jigsaw is the eighth film in the Saw horror film series, and its first installment after a seven-year hiatus that followed Saw 3D (which originally served as the series' finale). It was directed by The Spierig Brothers and written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger. The film was released on October 27, 2017, keeping with the franchise tradition of releasing a new film just before Halloween.

Police have no answers when the bodies of murder victims start dropping into their laps, each one having met with a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to the most unlikely perpetrator — "The Jigsaw Killer", John Kramer. But he cannot be responsible for these murders... because he has been dead for over a decade.

If Kramer isn't responsible, then who is the copycat behind these new "games" — and can the police stop them before they kill again?


Preceded by Saw 3D. Followed by Spiral.

Previews: Trailer

Jigsaw provides examples of:

General examples

    General Examples 
  • Accidental Child-Killer Backstory: Subverted with Anna. Just before the second trap of the barn game begins, Anna tells the other victims that she and her husband simply lost their child, but it's revealed near the end that she actually asphyxiated the baby intentionally and tricked her husband into thinking he did it accidentally, which drove him to suicide.
  • An Arm and a Leg: When Ryan tries to cheat by leaving the barn before his test, the floor collapses and 3 pieces of razor wire wrap around his right leg. Jigsaw tells him that Anna and Mitch will be freed from the silo trap if he activates a device that will "free" him — by slicing his leg into pieces.
  • And I Must Scream: Keeping with the Saw tradition of a character being left to die in an abandoned room (preferably with a dead body), Ryan ends up trapped in a room with Anna's corpse, with her having destroyed their only means of escape, and eventually dies of either dehydration or blood loss. This instance is unique in that Ryan's fate isn't sealed by a villainous (or heroic, relatively speaking) character; it's sealed by the genuine incompetence and impulsiveness of his fellow group member.
  • Anyone Can Die: As per the norm for the series. Once again, the protagonists ultimately fail their tests and die as a result. Well, except for one — who later goes on to become the new Jigsaw.
  • Ax-Crazy: Anna, who murdered her baby in a fit of rage then framed her husband for it without any remorse. She then tries to kill Ryan, who calls her out for being a "psycho-bitch," to save herself, which really says a lot about how utterly fucked up she is mentally.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: The final trap in the Barn the first time around is a shotgun rigged to fire backwards, with keys hidden inside the shotgun round. Ryan and Anna are the sole survivors by the time John introduces it, hinting at its true nature with his statements that the shotgun round is their "key to freedom" and that the two must realize that they've "been doing it backwards". By the time Ryan dawns upon the realization, it's a split second before Anna pulls the trigger, sealing both of their fates.
  • Big Bad: While Halloran isn't involved in the new Jigsaw killings, his constant antagonizing of Logan and Eleanor, as well as his corruption and enabling of criminals like Edgar, makes him the main antagonist of Jigsaw to Logan's Villain Protagonist.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Every single person trapped in the Barn could qualify, albeit to varying degrees, but special mention goes to Anna, who murdered her infant child and made it look like her husband had accidentally rolled on top of and thus suffocated the baby. She keeps up the lie as long as possible and shows no remorse for doing so, despite her husband being Driven to Suicide.
    • The sole possible exception is Ryan, who is something of a Jerkass up front and ends up being closer to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold by the end.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Edgar gets the trigger blasted out of his hands, but he also gets hit in the chest. Logan leads many to believe Halloran did it, as he was one of the people who shot at him, but the ending reveals that he sniped Edgar from afar.
  • Bookends: A variant that has more to do with the movie's timeline than its actual opening and ending. The trap that Anna and Ryan go through for the last time is in the same room as Logan and Halloran's trap.
  • Call-Back: Many of the traps and scenarios are quite reminiscent to ones from the previous entries. However, the traps being referenced are chronologically the later ones.
    • The Bucket Room Trap bears a strong resemblance to the Neck Tie Trap from Saw V, since both involve a group of five people threatened with being pulled into deadly blades on the wall. Unlike the Neck Tie Trap, the blades are in front of the players and they must go up to them and cut themselves to be freed, rather than the blades being behind them and purely being a penalty for failing to free themselves.
    • Ryan trying to break open a door with a shovel is similar to a scene in Saw II, where Xavier does the same with a studded baseball bat.
    • The Laser Collar Trap is an obvious call-back to the Shotgun Collar from Saw III.
    • The Chain Hangers are a lot like the Mausoleum Trap from Saw IV, as well as the Acid Room from Saw VI, with hints, perhaps, of the antidote drama in the game of Saw II.
    • Similarly to Saw II, the game and investigation plots aren't taking place at the same time or a close time gap.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Logan wakes up to one straight after the scene where Ryan screams as Anna is trying to patch up his recently-amputated leg.
  • Catchphrase: "Live or die — the choice is yours." Not precisely the original ("make your choice"), but close enough to count.
  • Central Theme: "The truth will set you free." Nearly every character in this movie (including Anna and Logan) has committed some kind of crime, and must confess their sins or they'll be in even deeper shit.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Ryan tries to cheat the game by leaving through the No Exit door. He gets his right leg ensnared in a trap and eventually sliced into pieces for his trouble.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Laser Cutter used to cut the bucket from the first victim during the autopsy. A whole bunch of them arranged in a collar are used for the final test of the movie.
  • The Coroner: Logan and Eleanor are the two medical examiners who are involved in the case of the new Jigsaw killing spree.
  • Dead All Along: John has indeed been dead for over a decade... along with Carly, Mitch, Ryan, and Anna. They were in one of John's first "games," along with Logan. The bodies the police had been finding were criminals Halloran allowed to walk free, whom Logan killed and disfigured in similar ways.
  • Deadly Disc: The first test in the Barn involves the players being dragged by chains locked around their necks. At the other end of those chains sits a series of rapidly-spinning buzzsaws. The players must give a blood offering to stop the blades from killing them, which involves sticking something out and letting that bleed on the blade. Logan does not hear the rules and gets cut up rather badly. He survives only because of Jigsaw, who saves Logan's life out of a twisted sense of "fair play".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ryan has a couple of good sarcastic quips early on. For example...
    • When he sees the new and improved Billy for the first time:
      Ryan: No, that's not creepy at all.
    • And when he tries to wriggle confessions out of Carly, Mitch, and Anna, after Anna reveals hers:
      Ryan: No, no. A confession is "I killed a hooker in Tulsa," or "I ate my fucking neighbors," not "I need marriage counseling."
  • Decoy Protagonist: The protagonist of the Barn storyline appears to be Anna, but it turns out that she's one of the biggest Hate Sinks in the franchise. The real protagonist is Ryan.
  • Delayed Reaction: Two examples arise:
    • When the chains retract, Logan, who isn't awake, is dragged to the blades like a reluctant dog on a leash. When he does awaken, he gets sliced up badly, so John saves him from a gruesome fate.
    • When Mitch's mangled body comes out of the Spiralizer, Ryan, who's laying on a hay bale and pale from blood loss, looks at him and shrugs at first, before realizing the situation, lifting his head and screaming.
  • Dirty Cop: Halloran is guilty of tampering with evidence, putting innocent people in jail, taking bribes, and letting his criminal informants go, one of whom ended up killing Logan's wife.
  • Disney Death: To the other players, Logan dies in the room with the saws, even though John saved him from the fate.
  • Door-Closes Ending: A Saw tradition; the film ends with Logan slamming the door on Halloran after he falls to the floor dead, albeit saying "I speak for the dead" rather than "Game over".
  • Driven to Suicide: Anna's husband hangs himself in his cell after going mad from taking a Frame-Up from his wife, unable to go on living anymore.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Jigsaw's trap for Mitch was because he willingly sold a faulty motorcycle to his nephew, who John describes as "someone who would never hurt anyone".
  • Eye Scream: Averted. This is hinted at in one of the trailers when one of the participants in the Barn game falls dangerously close to a set of outstretched spikes, but it never happens.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When he realizes he's doomed, Ryan sincerely apologizes for everything bad he's done in life and lies down quietly next to Anna's corpse. The fact his corpse is in the same position in the present implies he didn't try to escape his fate (not that he could).
  • Faking the Dead:
    • The film goes through some lengths to imply the original Jigsaw might still be alive. Subverted by its status as a Stealth Prequel. Any scenes featuring John Kramer are flashbacks, and anything that implies he is still alive turns out to be a misdirect planned out by the new Jigsaw.
    • Logan appears to die despite "confessing" in the milking room when his lasers reach his neck.
  • Fan Disservice: A naked woman's breasts are seen... but she's already dead, part of her face is melted off, and her chest has been cut open by a mortician.
  • Final Girl:
    • Played With. Anna shows all the traits of a traditional final girl early on: she's a resourceful and intelligent Action Survivor who comes across as kind, compassionate, and level-headed in comparison to the other players. But much of this is an act, so she eventually suffers a well-deserved Karmic Death. This leaves Ryan as the last man standing... but then he dies. The film then reveals that Logan, the first victim of the Barn, both survived his "death" — making him the Final Boy and sole survivor of the Barn — and later became the new Jigsaw.
    • Ten years later, it is shown that Eleanor is somewhat of a final girl in and of herself.
  • Flipping the Bird: In the barn game's first trap, Ryan does this towards the speaker from which the instructions are told, complete with a loud "FUCK YOU!".
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Apart from the grisly close-ups on the mutilated bodies coming in, the camera also doesn't shy away from Halloran's laser-sliced head splitting apart into eight pieces.
  • Hate Sink: Anna seems like an empathetic Final Girl figure throughout the movie, trying to help others caught in one of Jigsaw's games, but is soon to be revealed one of his most deserving victims. It's revealed she was neighbors with John, who witnessed how she smothered her baby to death because the crying annoyed her, and framed and gaslighted her husband into thinking he did it. This causes her husband to be institutionalized and commit suicide out of guilt. The reason Jigsaw picked her for his game was to force penance on her. What makes her worse is not only does she not feel remorse, but she believes she did nothing wrong as well and doesn't deserve what's happening to her. She also selfishly tries to kill Ryan, thinking it'll ensure her survival.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Invoked In-Universe. Logan mentions that as a result of his stealing John's body and planting his blood on fresh victims, many people will become convinced that John is still alive and in hiding, carrying out his work.
  • Hero Antagonist: Halloran turns out to be this, albeit a Nominal Hero.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ryan is fairly abrasive, unfaithful to his two wives, reckless, and irresponsible. But unlike many of the other Barn victims, he is not nearly as self-absorbed or ill-intentioned. The deaths he caused are genuinely accidental, albeit brought on by his own recklessness. He also cuts off his own leg to save Mitch and Anna, then refuses to shoot Anna at the end. He even tries to warn her at the last second what will happen if she fires the gun.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Anna, point blank. She takes the shotgun and bullet John leaves behind, intending to murder Ryan and save herself. Turns out the shotgun was rigged to backfire, so Anna shoots herself in the face. Unfortunately for Ryan, she also destroys their keys to escape.
    • Halloran could also qualify, given how he allowed criminals to walk free and forced Logan into going first in the Laser Cutter trap, which would make this a literal case of Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Laser Cutter: The film's final trap: a collar lined with laser cutters that will slice the remaining two players' heads if they do not confess their sins to Jigsaw. Turns out the trap is a setup — Logan, who is the new Jigsaw, put Halloran into the trap to force out a confession that he let criminals walk free. One of those criminals killed Logan's wife two years prior. Despite getting the confession, Logan notes that Halloran broke the rules twice by not confessing all his sins and forcing Logan to go first. He ultimately lets the lasers on his collar go all the way down, slicing through Halloran's head.
  • Literal Metaphor: During the final game, Jigsaw holds up a shotgun shell and says, "Here's your key to freedom," before loading it into a gun. Anna takes this to mean that she needs to shoot Ryan with it, which backfires on her. Turns out, the keys to their shackles were literally hidden inside the shell, and firing it destroyed them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While Carly seems to be trying to decide which of the three syringes to try, Ryan is repeatedly and aggressively demanding she choose one and choose it quickly. While justified due to the game about to start and everyone about to be killed, it clearly wracks at Carly's nerves. When she comes upon the syringe labeled 3.53, she halts as if she's onto something, like she believes this to be the one that will save her. However, Ryan's nonstop demanding and threats to just jam all three into her neck push her into a panic and she refuses to choose. While YMMV on this one, and Carly does appear to be a Dirty Coward for refusing to choose and risking everyone's survival, Ryan antagonizing her costs her her life.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Eleanor, who's obsessed with the Jigsaw Killer and his crimes, even going to the extent of building replicas of his traps. Other characters call her out on how creepy this is, and she becomes a suspect because of it.
  • Not Helping Your Case: When Halloran realizes he's going to die, he tries to appeal to Logan, saying that his death won't bring Logan's wife back, and that John gave people a chance to win his games. For a second, Logan seems to seriously consider letting him go... And then Halloran immediately tries to take a swing at him.
  • Offing the Offspring: Anna literally smothered her baby with a pillow.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The games we see happen are in the past. The autopsy and other scenes happen a decade later.
  • Plot Hole:
    • It seems impossible that Jigsaw could find out about all the crimes and misdeeds the victims in his game got away with. He didn't know them personally, and since the police apparently never discovered their wrongdoing, how could Jigsaw have learned of them?
    • The game is actually taking place a decade earlier, so why does Billy look so different and how does that explain the presence of modern flatscreen televisions?
  • Posthumous Character: Despite his character's definitive onscreen death at the end of Saw III — and the ensuing autopsy shown at the beginning of Saw IVTobin Bell returns to play the role of John in this film. He appears only in what are eventually revealed as flashbacks to one of his first games.
  • Red Herring: The viewers are led to believe that Eleanor is the new Jigsaw killer because she's a Fangirl of Jigsaw and has built replicas of many of his previous traps. Clues then point to Halloran due to his past dealings with Edgar and Hunt finding the missing jigsaw-shaped pieces of flesh from the victims in his refrigerator. It turns out the true mastermind is Logan.
  • Rugged Scar: Logan has several on his back, both from the game a decade ago and from his time in Fallujah.
  • Sadistic Choice: Realizing he's about to die, Halloran tries to appeal to Logan, saying that John Kramer gave his victims a chance to win their games, a choice as to whether they wanted to live or die. The response he gets?
    Logan: You have a choice: scream, or don't.
  • Sequencing Deception: The barn game is revealed to take place over ten years before the rest of the movie's events.
  • Series Continuity Error: The franchise's timeline was already very complex, so much that even dedicated fans can get frustrated getting a grasp on the sequence of events, especially since some movies happen out of chronological order or even during another; however, the timeline was still carefully constructed, and could be understood clearly when put in order. Then along came this film, which dropped a bomb on everyone by revealing that Logan was the first Jigsaw apprentice, not Hoffman. Fans were baffled at this reveal, since it disrupted the timeline the previous films had, and when the issue was brought up to the film's writers, they admitted that knowing the revised timeline didn't make any sense, and were hoping that nobody would notice it.
  • The Sociopath: Anna could qualify as a high-functioning one, as she murdered her baby and framed her husband for it, which led to him being Driven to Suicide, while showing no remorse or regret for what she has done. Her empathy towards the other test subjects could've been pragmatic Bait the Dog attempts to get them to trust her and help her escape. When she turns the gun on Ryan to save herself, she appears to be an Apologetic Attacker towards him, but her weeping as she aims the shotgun at Ryan were likely just Crocodile Tears for her to pass herself as a victim, rather than the self-centered and heartless witch she is at heart.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The first trailer shows off the kind of imagery associated with the franchise as "Running Scared" by Roy Orbison plays in the background.
  • Stealth Prequel: Not the entire movie, mind, but the scenes with the victims in the barn, which are assumed to take place shortly before Halloran's investigation, are this for the entire franchise, taking place at some point between John's first murder and his encounter with Hoffman.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The Barn players watch as the infamous Billy doll rides a bike towards them, then lets out a laugh. Ryan gets in the line about how that's not creepy at all.—which is followed by the group being pulled into a new "game".
    • Anna seemingly saves Mitch from the blade shredder trap he is in, after stopping the motorcycle powering it by jamming a bar into its wheel. Mitch is elated that Anna saved him and keeps saying "[she] did it". The bar then immediately breaks away and he is promptly killed.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • When Logan was still an intern, he accidentally mislabeled two x-rays, resulting in John's brain tumor not being found until it was too late.
    • Edgar's murder of Logan's wife is a main motivating factor to why Logan decides to take up the then-dormant mantle of Jigsaw.
  • Villainous Legacy: The original Jigsaw is dead, but someone has seen fit to carry on his work more than a decade after his death.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Near the climax of the film, Anna and Ryan are chained up in a room with Jigsaw, dressed in his iconic red hood. He eventually removes it to reveal that he is John Kramer, alive and well... at that particular moment.
    • In the final scene, with Logan and Halloran in the laser collars, Halloran forces Logan to go first, and he is apparently killed. Halloran goes next, and watches the lasers shooting upwards and burning into the ceiling until his confessions make them stop. In his relief, he stares up at the ceiling... then to the ceiling above Logan, with no burn marks. A couple shots later, Logan gets up.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • This film does not address the the previous film's reveal of Lawrence as a secret accomplice of the original Jigsaw. It instead focuses on Logan as John's first apprentice who predates all others.
    • What happened to Bobby Dagen, after his wife and colleagues were killed for his lies of being a Jigsaw survivor?
    • When the police captain orders John's grave be exhumed, to assure the public that he's truly dead, they discover Edgar's body. We know Logan is responsible, but we never learn where John's body is.
  • Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Logan Nelson is a well-intentioned forensic pathologist. He is also the new Jigsaw.
  • You All Meet in a Cell:
    • The first trial involves a group of five people who are tested in a barn, the common denominator among them being that they're all either murderers or otherwise got people killed or condemned to death.
    • The second is a direct recreation of the first, this time involving four people who are informants of Halloran and most of whom bear some resemblance to those of the first. Its existence isn't made clear until a Sequencing Deception regarding the first trial.

Tropes with their own pages

"I speak for the dead."

Alternative Title(s): Saw Legacy