10 Most Brutal Jigsaw Traps In The Saw Movies

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10 Most Brutal Jigsaw Traps In The Saw Movies

This article contains descriptions of violence and gore.




  • The
    franchise is best known for its grisly traps, with viewers hooked on the story of the Jigsaw Killer and his elaborate setups.
  • Saw V
    ‘s Pendulum trap,
    Saw VI
    ‘s Shakespearean Dilemma trap, and
    Saw III
    ‘s Rack trap are some of the most brutal and memorable in the series.

  • Despite its weak plot,
    Spiral: From the Book of Saw
    featured a memorable trap where a victim must rip out their tongue or be torn apart by an oncoming train.

The Saw franchise features plenty of clever twists (and some admittedly dumb ones), but a look back on its most brutal traps explains the real reason the horror series is still best remembered for its grisly life-or-limb setups. When Saw arrived in cinemas in 2004, the psychological horror movie proved a huge sleeper hit. Saw’s ingenious premise saw a pair of seemingly innocent men awaken in a dark, dank bathroom, chained to the floor and accompanied by a corpse. Both men were instructed to kill the other if they wanted to live, while a dizzying array of flashbacks and twists explained their predicament and how they ended up there.

BySaw’s twist ending, viewers were hooked on the story of the Jigsaw Killer. Tobin Bell’s villain proved such an iconic horror antagonist that the upcoming Saw X brings back Jigsaw, even though the character has been canonically dead since Saw IV‘s opening scene. The reason viewers loved Bell’s chilling villain so much was the elaborate, gruesome traps that he set for his victims. Jigsaw didn’t just kill people but instead offered them the opportunity to earn their freedom by undertaking all manner of nasty sacrifices. However, his copycats weren’t so merciful, resulting in some truly unforgettable traps that shocked even the most hardened horror viewers.

10 Saw V’s Pendulum

By the time Saw V was released in 2008, the franchise was not as fresh as it had once been. Jigsaw was dead, his first copycat was finished, and the corrupt cop Mark Hoffman was struggling to replace the iconic killer. While all of this means that Saw V was hardly the highlight of the Saw franchise timeline, the sequel had one killer trap going for it. The Pendulum was a Poe-inspired trap that was unwinnable, as Hoffman didn’t abide by Jigsaw’s moral code. However, that didn’t stop its victim from crushing his hands in a futile attempt to stop the slow-moving blade from slicing him up.

9 Saw VI’s Shakespearean Dilemma

Pound of Flesh Trap in Saw VI

Saw VI still had Hoffman as its main villain, but the 2009 movie was a major improvement to its predecessor. Ironically, the sequel didn’t have much in the way of memorable traps, but its best one was a doozy. Locked head to head in harnesses, two victims had to donate their own proverbial pound of flesh before screws wound their way into their skulls. Whoever gave away the most flesh won, and thus Saw VI’s only worthwhile trap was handily beaten when an ambitious victim severed her entire arm to escape.

8 Saw III’s Rack

The Rack Trap in Saw III

While most rankings of the Saw movies put 2006’s Saw III near the top, this entry was where cracks in the series’ formula really started to show. However, there is a reason that nostalgia for the entry is so plentiful. For all of its flaws, Saw III featured most of the most brutal traps in the series. One of the nastiest was the rack, a slow-moving contraption that gradually twisted the limbs and spine of its victim, eventually snapping them for good.

7 Saw 3D’s Silence Circle

Silence Circle Trap in Saw 3D

2010’s Saw 3D received brutal reviews upon release, with critics tiring of Jigsaw’s antics in his seventh outing. However, the Silence Circle was still a memorably nasty trap. This complex contraption saw the hapless self-help guru Bobby Dagen pulling a key on a string from the stomach of an unfortunate victim. The problem was, the more she screamed, the closer metal spikes got to her neck. Because of this, the sequel’s morally ambiguous antihero couldn’t save her from her grisly fate.

6 Saw II’s Needle Pit

Needle Pit in Saw II

While the Saw franchise’s villain Amanda betrayed Jigsaw while working as his assistant, she still didn’t deserve to be tossed in a pit of used syringes in one of the franchise’s nastiest scenes. Technically, this trap was intended to be Xavier’s test, but he cheated Jigsaw’s supposedly foolproof system by simply tossing Amanda into the agonizing needle pit and hoping she’d find the key to their freedom. To her credit, Amanda did find the all-important key among all those dirty needles, but that wasn’t enough to save all of Jigsaw’s victims.

5 Saw 3D’s Reverse Bear Trap

Reverse Bear Trap in Saw 3D

First seen in Saw’s theatrical poster, the iconic reverse bear trap soon became associated with the series as a whole. As such, it was particularly horrific when the full strength of the contraption was revealed in the otherwise weak Saw 3D. Not only did the reverse bear trap tear its unfortunate victim’s skull in half, but the poor character in question was none other than Jigsaw’s wife, Jill Tuck.

4 Saw III’s Angel Trap

Angel Trap in Saw III

Saw III really was filled with ingenious traps, but one of the worst wasn’t even a Jigsaw original. The infamously unbeatable angel trap saw Detective Kerry rigged up to a contraption that would rip her ribcage open unless she fished a key out of a jar of acid. The trick was that the key in question didn’t actually unlock the trap, resulting in her getting her ribs torn open after all.

3 Spiral: From the Book of Saw’s Subway Trap

Subway trap from Spiral: The Book of Saw

2021’s Spiral: From the Book of Saw was the first Saw spinoff, but the movie turned out to be a relatively predictable police procedural with little of the inspired gore that made the series famous. However, this disappointing spinoff did feature one memorable trap in its opening scene. The victim’s tongue was clamped to an apparatus inside a subway tunnel, forcing him to either rip out his tongue or get torn to shreds by an oncoming train.

RELATED: There’s No Way Saw X Will Beat This 13-Year-Old Franchise Record

2 Saw IV’s Scalp Trick

Jigsaw in Saw

2007’s Saw IV was one of the first movies in the series to truly lay down the law when it came to the trap’s rules, as evidenced by the brutally ironic scalping trap. Infuriatingly, Saw IV’s scalp-removing trap was triggered by Rigg trying to remove it from Brenda’s hair, and her painfully slow fate wouldn’t have been set in motion if he had simply ignored the trap. This one reinstated the importance of listening to Jigsaw’s instructions, even if Rigg wasn’t the one who suffered as a result.

1 Saw II’s Box

Razor Box in Saw II

The simplest and arguably the nastiest trap in the entire series, Saw II’s razor-lined box hid the antidote to a nerve gas inside a glass box. The victim, Addison, discovered that the box’s opening was lined with razors only after she had already thrust both hands inside. Her hurry cost Addison her life. While brutally cruel, the razor-lined box was also ingenious in its simplicity. As such, it is a perfect encapsulation of the Saw franchise’s nasty but undeniably effective premise.

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