With Spiral coming out today, many horror fans and writers have been rewatching the original Saw films including me. There’s something oddly fun about revisiting all the best Saw death scenes in the series, in a row.
After viewing the entire franchise in honor of the new Chris Rock / Samuel L. Jackson Saw reboot, (a phrase I never thought I’d say), I realized the main takeaway from the horror classic. Grief is a powerful emotion. Essentially it’s just a man grieving the loss of his unborn son. While also being a complete psychopath.
There are lots of gory, explicit scenes throughout the eight films. But there are also deeper, underlying themes. Dealing with grief, vengeance, drug use and the ultimate drug, love. Of course they’re still also (sometimes) brutal horror movies.
These are the 10 best Saw death scenes:
1. Eric Matthews Ice block – Part IV
Eric (Donny Wahlberg) survived three movies so we knew his time was likely coming. And when it does, it’s with a crushing, bloody bang. He’s been barely hanging on above a block of ice since part III. Riggs finally bursts his way through the door with three seconds to spare. It causes the ice blocks above Eric’s head to come down full force. Instantly crushing his head from both sides. Poor Eric cleverly got himself out of another Saw trap. But this time he found himself in one there was no escaping.
2. Cecil the guinea pig – Saw IV
Cecil is the very first Jigsaw kill by John Kramer. In fact, partly the reason there is a Jigsaw at all. John, distraught over the loss of his unborn son Gideon wants to punish Cecil. The drug dealer at the center where his wife Jill worked. Also the cause of her miscarriage. His rage leads him to kidnap Cecil and put a barbaric device over his head with which he has to harm himself to escape.
Cecil eventually frees himself of the trap by pushing his face against and through a set of glass panes that cuts up his face. At that point he’s freed. But he soon falls into a nest of barbed wire. Never to be heard from again.
3. Detective Kerry’s untimely death by rib explosion – Part III
Detective Allison Kerry (the underrated Dina Meyers) is one of the best characters in the franchise. Kerry is smart, and seems like a good candidate to potentially go up against Jigsaw. But it’s not to be. She finds herself trapped, (we’ll eventually find out not by John, but by Amanda). In a game she could never win. She does wind up beating her own trap. But it’s still detonates. The result is her chest literally ripped apart from either side. One of the more brutal kills of all the films.
4. Peter Strahm’s body crush – part V
As much as I hated to see Agent Strahm go, and Mark prevail, there’s no denying Peter’s death was, well, pretty cool. After not following Jigsaw’s instructions to get inside the glass box, (can we blame him), he unknowingly saves and protects Hoffman. After locking him inside the glass cage instead, he leaves himself unprotected in the now closing in room. The walls descend on him quickly until finally they crush him to death. Later in Part VI, Mark goes back to clean up and we see the gory remains of Peter’s body.
5. Lynn’s head exploding – Part III
She makes it through the movie. So by the time Part III is concluding, you feel confident Lynn is going to survive. But at the last second, the rug is pulled from under us. Amanda shoots her as she falls into Jeff’s approaching arms. Turns out, they’re married. To each other. Jeff enacts immediate revenge by shooting and killing Amanda. Then cutting John’s throat with a saw blade. Also unknowingly and simultaneously killing his wife whose heart rate is linked to Johns. Once John’s stops, Lynn’s trap goes off. Instantly blowing her head off.
It’s a somewhat unexpected surprise. Also more graphic than most of the best Saw death scenes up until this point.
6. Hoffman’s massacre – part VI
One of the best Saw death scenes in the series doesn’t involve a trap at all. It’s Mark Hoffman’s panicked slaughter of three members of the police force. Including agent Lindsey Perez, who we’d just gotten used to finding out was alive. Erickson, and the sound technician. It’s a brutal minute that includes him stabbing Erickson in the neck, and throwing hot coffee on Agent Perez before stabbing her multiple times.
7. Car trouble – Part VII
Although Saw:The Final Chapter is the weakest of the movies, there are some standout moments. This one’s final twist is certainly satisfying. And the car trap, featuring the late Chester Bennington and two other victims is a standout. One of the best Saw death scenes. Between Bennington having to pull his glued back and skin off the seat of his car, to the car both crushing the girl beneath the tire, and the guy in chains behind it, it doesn’t let up for a moment.
8. Amanda’s pit of needles – Saw II
It’s not a real death scene, but most horror fans can agree that the needle pit scene in Saw is one of the best of the franchise. One because it features Amanda Young. One of the most interesting characters. Also because it’s overall nature is uncomfortable to watch, and probably triggering for others. Despite the emotions it may dredge up, there’s no denying Amanda getting stabbed with needles in that pit while looking for the key is more memorable than most.
9. The “track” – Saw III
The only trap John ever calls his favorite. The fifth kill in the third film. Timothy is the guy who killed target Jeff’s son via hit and run. Jeff finds him attached to a device that John calls his favorite on the recording. The trap soon begins twisting, ripping limbs right off his body with immediate force. Jeff ultimately tries to save him but to no avail, and also killing another guy in the process.
10. The spiral motorcycle – Jigsaw
One of the only death scenes in Saw that features the trademark spiral in the trap. The victim is Mitch. A guy who apparently sold a faulty motorcycle to John’s nephew (who we otherwise don’t know). Also resulting in his death. His penance is being lowered into a huge funnel. At the bottom is a motorcycle engine with a spiral shaped blade. It’s an inventive throwback to some of Jigsaw’s more ironically laced trap set ups.
11. Jigsaw’s final revenge – Saw VII
Another of the best Saw death scenes that doesn’t actually feature a trap. Somehow, even gone, Jigsaw was able to again predict future outcomes.
First the big twist is revealed. Jigsaw didn’t just have the help of Amanda and Mark Hoffman. He’d paired up with prior victim Dr. Lawrence Gordon after Gordon survived in the original. We find out Gordon has been helping John all along with research and surgical procedures. John also instructs him to immediately take action if anything happens to Jill.
So he kidnaps Hoffman. Moments after he kills off half the police force in order to enact revenge on Jill and kill her with the reverse bear trap. Lawrence then leaves him in the original room. The one where he had to saw his own leg off to survive. But he won’t let Hoffman off that easy.
He throws the iconic saw out of reach into the 3D screen. Right before closing the door, and uttering those two iconic lines one, final time. Game Over.Views – 1230