Yes, sometimes it’s hard to look, but, ultimately, how can you not? Jigsaw wants to play a game, and we do too. The gruesome and absolutely brilliant traps of the Saw series are what keep us coming back for more, and we’ll be sad to see the game come to an end with this year’s final installment of the series, Saw 3D. In bittersweet celebration — and preparation — of the end, we look back on our favorite traps from each of the Saw movies.
Saw: The Reverse Bear Trap
Sure, Cary Elwes deserves credit for taking the title of the film to literal extremes in the climactic moment of the first Saw, but the truly iconic moment — and image — from the first installment was that awful headgear on Amanda (Shawnee Smith), designed to tear her jaw open in the most horrific way possible. Amanda survived and believed the experience made her a better person – it also made her Jigsaw’s protégé.
Saw II: The Razor Box
Saw II had big shoes to fill, and director Darren Lynn Bousman made everything even more extreme. Essentially a haunted house story with horrible booby traps instead of any paranormal presence, Saw II upped the ante in every department. There were plenty of impressive traps in this one, though the most squirm-inducing was definitely the Razor Box. Poor Emmanuelle Vaugier slit her wrists in the worst way imaginable — and as any wrist-cutting method would be awful, that’s saying something.
Saw III: The Butterfly Ribcage Device
Some fans consider the truly horrendous “shotgun collar” to be the quintessential trap from the third film, but our vote is for the Butterfly Ribcage Device. It was only a matter of time before Kerry, Dina Meyer’s detective character, got killed off, and you knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. Kerry had a device on her chest that was designed to tear open her ribcage — unless, of course, she had the guts to fish the key out of a jar of acid. This trap was actually set by the vengeful Amanda, and therefore the victim had no chance at all in getting out, much to the disappointment of Amanda’s mentor, Jigsaw.
Saw IV: The Knife Chair
The most underrated entry in the series, Saw IV explored the tragic circumstances that led to John becoming Jigsaw. The Knife Chair was actually John’s first trap, designed to make the drug addict responsible for John’s wife’s miscarriage to take a good, hard look at himself. The victim is strapped to a chair and has to push his face through knives in order to release his restraints. It’s extremely satisfying to see this scumbag “fail” his test.
Saw V: The Water Cube
The weakest entry in the series still has one of the most jaw-dropping moments in the entire saga. As everyone and anyone is pretty much terrified of drowning, it’s definitely quite a powerful moment when Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) has his head trapped in a box that slowly starts filling with water. However, the kicker is killer — this hard-as-nails lawman takes out a pen and gives himself a tracheotomy in order to keep from drowning. Whoa! Cue applause. The Water Cube is a great trap, but an even better escape (which, let’s face it, are few and far between in the Saw movies.
Saw VI: The Shotgun Carousel
The final “test” of poor William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), the head of a health insurance company that was unable to provide medical care for John, involves him finding six of his staff chained to a carousel with a shotgun pointed at each person. William can only save two of the six as he pushes buttons on a device that drives spikes into his hand as it moves the aim of the shotguns steadily upward. It’s a truly harrowing scene, taking place in a twisted “funhouse” of sorts that brings Jigsaw’s “game” to an even more theatrical level.
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