- John Kramer's life was one long nightmare. He was a successful civil engineer, Happily Married to his wife Jill, and the two were expecting a son...until she suffered a miscarriage during a botched robbery at her clinic (Cecil) and they went through a messy divorce. John's nephew was killed after he was sold a faulty motorcycle by a greedy dealer (Mitch). When John was diagnosed with colon cancer, it metastasized to his brain and could've been caught early had an intern at the hospital (Logan) not accidentally mislabeled his X-ray. He tried chemo and even tried to participate in an experimental drug trial, only to be denied health insurance coverage since it was expensive (William) and his tumor was inoperable. Ultimately, having lost hope, he tried to commit suicide by driving his car off a cliff. To his amazement, he survived, which lead him on the path to start testing the fabric of human nature.
- Perhaps what's most depressing isn't just that John faced so many hardships throughout his life. It's that he, originally a very caring philanthropist, had his life screwed over again and again, facing Hope Spot after Hope Spot, growing more dissatisfied, angry, and hopeless about his life and the people around him.
- One of the most depressing moments in the franchise is Adam being left to die in the bathroom at the end of Saw I. Just listen to his increasingly panicked screams over the end credits as John locks him away to starve to death, even though he passed his test.
- Even worse was that Leigh Whannell's (who plays Adam) screaming was so convincing and terrifying that it drove James Wan, the director and Leigh's best friend, to tears, and he had to leave the room.
- The last scene in general is absolutely heartbreaking. Adam has just brutally killed Zepp to save Lawrence, and he immediately breaks down sobbing afterward, and Lawrence crawls across the floor, bleeding profusely, just to comfort him. They press their foreheads together, and Lawrence hoarsely promises to get help for the two of them, but Adam grips onto him for dear life, begging him to not leave. Right as Lawrence is about to crawl out, Adam tearfully asks if they're going to be okay, and Lawrence says that he wouldn't lie to him. It just shows how far they've come from the beginning of the film, where they were both burdened with suspicion and doubt, to the point where they trust each other with their lives. Even worse is that Lawrence was never able to come for Adam, because by the time he was any degree of physically capable enough to move due to his loss of a foot, Amanda had already put Adam out of his misery.
- A little one, but the last words Lawrence said to his daughter Diana in Saw I before he was kidnapped were him promising that he's not going to leave her. Come the seventh movie, it turns out that Alison left him due to his mental instability from his PTSD, taking Diana with her.
- The look on Amanda's face as she lay on the floor bleeding out at the end of Saw III, where her absolute shock and terror is clearly visible. All because Hoffman wanted to take her out of the picture so he could become the new Jigsaw.
- Amanda's entire backstory. She was abused by her father as a child, was framed by Eric Matthews for a crime she didn't commit, sent to prison where she became addicted to heroin while inside, and was put in the Reverse Bear Trap for being the impetus of the robbery at the methadone clinic where Jill was accidentally injured by Cecil, which resulted in the unborn Gideon dying in the womb. All this before she became an apprentice.
- Although it may depend on how much sympathy you have for them, since they're both part of a group of five who were involved (in varying degrees, ranging from devising the whole plan, to being the patsy deceived into starting it) in a fire that resulted in the deaths of eight people, Brit and Mallick in Saw V comforting each other before they go into the 10 Pints of Sacrifice is pretty touching. They help each other tie their arms with cloth to cut off circulation, and Mallick desperately says that he can't do it alone, and Brit agrees that he's not going to. And after they both survive, she wakes up and very tiredly and softly tells them that they won.
Brit: We killed eight people, and stole a property, and nobody cared.Mallick: Nobody cared? Eight people and their families cared! The feds cared! Look at my fucking arm, I CARED! I CARED!Brit: But you didn't face justice. None of us did.Mallick: Why did they all do it? W-was it for money? This was your plan? You were the one behind it? There was eight people still living in that building! YOU HAD TO KNOW THAT! DID YOU KNOW THAT?!Brit: (looks up from the ground, tears in her eyes)
- Before they enter the trap, judging by the look on Brit's face when Mallick angrily asks her if she knew about the eight people living in the warehouse when she decided to have it burned down to take the property, she seems to finally realize the gravity of what she's done.
- The Rack scene in Saw III. At 24 years old, while driving drunk, Timothy accidentally killed Jeff Denlon's eight year-old son, and was utterly devastated by what he'd done. He was sentenced to only six months in prison, but he still carried the guilt of what happened with him, and it was possibly what drove him to become a medical student. Three years later, Jigsaw kidnaps him and puts him in a game, and asks Jeff if he's willing to help the man responsible for the death of his son. Timothy is condemned to a truly Cruel and Unusual Death where all of his limbs are slowly twisted 360 degrees around, eventually moving up to his neck. It's sickening to watch, as he's able to beg for help and cry out in pain right up until the end. Judge Halden implores Jeff to help, and he just stands there, gloating. But eventually it sets in for Jeff exactly what he's doing after Halden is shot while trying to get the key to let Timothy out, and Jeff tries to stop the machine with his bare hands right as it's about to snap Timothy's neck, screaming that he forgives him, but it's too late.
- Even if he is sarcastic and gruff, you can't help but feel sorry for Ryan by the ending of Jigsaw. After being forced to cut off his leg, he and Anna find themselves in the final test, shackled to opposite walls as John explains that they've been doing things backwards. He offers them their key to freedom in the form of a shotgun and a shell and says the choice is up to them. Anna takes it to mean that her only way out is to kill Ryan. As he begs her not to shoot, he remembers John's words and tries to warn her, but the shotgun backfires, killing her instantly. Then, in the cartridge, Ryan finds a broken pair of keys, realizes what John meant, and breaks down crying.Ryan: We could've been free, Anna...
- For everyone else in the trap, their reason for being there was because of a crime they committed out of greed, negligence, or malice... except for Ryan, who pulled a reckless prank as a teenager, and the car he was in with his friends crashed as a result. Once you learn this, it makes more sense as to why he's had so many problems with substance abuse and unstable marriages; he likely felt an immense amount of survivor's guilt for being the only one to make it out of the wreck alive. And now at the end he's left in a locked room to die from either dehydration or blood loss with only Anna's corpse for company.
- Anna's husband Matthew and their baby have to be two of the most tragic victims in the entire franchise. Their family was originally very kind and supportive neighbors of John's, helping him get through his chemo treatments. As time went on, however, they argued more often and Anna became increasingly frustrated and spiteful toward their baby. One night, when their baby wouldn't stop crying, Anna suffocated it and framed Matthew. He was utterly devastated by the event and was sent to an asylum by police. Overwhelmed by guilt over something he didn't actually do, he hanged himself. And Anna insists, right up until when John outright calls her out on it, that she's never done anything to deserve being tested.
- For one of his tests in Saw VI, William is given a Sadistic Choice: two of his colleagues are held on platforms with barbed wire nooses around their necks. One is Alan, a healthy young man with no living relatives. The other is Addy, a middle-aged woman with diabetes and many close relatives. He has to let go of one of their ropes to save the other. The longer he waits, the tighter the ropes pull and the closer they both get to the edge. He struggles to hold onto both as long as possible, refusing to let go and screaming at Jigsaw that his company decisions aren't made like this. In the end, he tearfully apologies as he lets go of Alan's rope to save Addy. While William's policy clearly paints him as a Corrupt Corporate Executive, he's not a heartless man.
- Worse, at the end he's made a genuine HeelFace Turn after passing his test, making this the first (and debatable only) time Jigsaw's twisted philosophy actually work. However, it's as he faces one final test, but this time from the wife and son of one of William's deceased clients. They're faced with either pulling a lever that'll impale William with multiple syringes filled with hydrochloric acid, which would kill him in the most inhumane and agonizing way possible, or spare him. William tearfully and brokenly pleads with them not to, and his sister Pamela in the cage opposite them frantically begs them to have mercy, and the wife goes for the lever but is unable to go through with it. However, her son steps in and pulls the lever instead, leading to William dying a horrific death while the wife and son and William's sister Pamela all watch in horror.
- Logan's backstory is another long road of misery. After a tour of duty in Iraq, during which he was captured and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture, he was discharged and returned to medical school to pursue a career as a medical examiner. However, an accidental mislabeling of John's X-ray lead to him being pulled into the first game. With one disadvantage- John gave him too much sedative and he was nearly killed by the buzzsaw trap without a chance to win- lead to John saving his life, befriending and later recruiting him as his first apprentice. His wife Christine was later killed by Edgar Munsen, who was set free by Halloran. This was the catalyst behind his own game. Unlike John's other apprentices, Logan isn't motivated by trying to change people or by pure sadism, but by the desire to punish criminals and see justice done for their victims. After all, he's examined plenty of them on his table already. One of whom was a little girl.Logan: I speak for the dead.
Tear Jerker / Saw