The Saw franchise — composed chiefly of a series of horror films — centers around a Poetic Serial Killer dubbed "The Jigsaw Killer" (or just "Jigsaw"), who places people in Death Traps and gives them a chance to escape before death claims them. Jigsaw designs each trap as a violent form of poetic justice by reflecting what Jigsaw sees as the vital flaw of its victim(s). To escape these traps — or "games", as Jigsaw calls them — the victims must typically harm either themselves or others in some horrific way to escape their impending (and horrific) death. The films' storylines center around the victims' efforts to escape their traps, Jigsaw's life, and his connection to the films' other characters.
After the first movie originally premiered in January of its year at the Sundance Film Festival, Lionsgate Entertainment theatrically released the first seven films in the franchise on the week prior to Halloween for six years in a row, from 2004 to 2010. The seventh installment, titled Saw 3D, was renamed Saw: The Final Chapter for its home video release. According to Word of God, the series was supposed to end with an eighth film, but due to the poor box office performance of Saw VI, Saw VIII's plot was worked into Saw 3D. In October 2016, a new film under the working title Saw: Legacy was announced to be in production. The title was later changed to Jigsaw, and the film was released on October 27, 2017. A ninth film, Spiral, was announced in February 2020, ultimately being released in May 2021.
These films (especially the first) inspired many imitations, though some argue that Saw itself is a form of imitation of Se7en: both films focus on elaborate, grisly murders carried out by a man trying to send a message to society. Whereas Se7en portrays John Doe as vain and interested in showing the world a lesson through murder, Jigsaw focuses on a more "individualized" message with his "games". Hell, the concept of a moralistic serial killer playing God to a society he deems morally corrupt didn't even originate with Se7en — and according to Word of God, all of these ideas have always been carried out since the original 2003 short film that preceded the first movie.note
The series managed to spawn two video game adaptations. In addition, the multiplayer horror game Dead by Daylight released in 2018 a DLC based on the series. It features Detective Tapp and Amanda Young as playable characters, and includes a map based on the various films' locations.