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Saw movies: How to watch (and re-watch) Jigsaw's horror movie franchise in chronological or release order

Jigsaw's back in Saw X - here's how to play the entire franchise game

Image credit: Lionsgate

Would you like to play a game? We sure hope so, because Saw X is coming just around the corner and you've got nine more gruesome movies to work through before it finally hits theaters. In the last two decades, the Saw franchise has cemented itself as a horror staple, earning its main killer -- John Kramer AKA Jigsaw -- a place within the pantheon of monstrous greats like Freddy, Jason, and Michael. Though, unlike his peers, Jigsaw's MO is a bit more down to earth. There are no magical powers or immortal curses to contend with here, just a lot of very, very creative murder machines.

On top of its iconic (and grisly) traps, the Saw franchise is also famous for being a little bit wonky in terms of its timelines. These are movies that love to pull big twist reveals and heavily feature flashbacks that hopscotch all over the place, so watching things in chronological order is a little bit difficult. Don't worry, though -- we've got this little guide to help you!

The Saw movies in (Mostly) chronological order

Image credit: Lionsgate

The Saw movies in release order

Image credit: Lionsgate

  • Saw (2004)
  • Saw II (2005)
  • Saw III (2006)
  • Saw IV (2007)
  • Saw V (2008)
  • Saw VI (2009)
  • Saw:The Final Chapter AKA Saw 3D (2010)
  • Jigsaw (2017)
  • Spiral: From The Book Of Saw (2021)
  • Saw X (2023)

Wait, what's going on with that chronological watch order?

The Saw franchise is known for two things: Absolutely absurd amounts of gore and absolutely absurd twist reveals. It just so happens that a substantial amount of those twist reveals, especially later in the franchise, all revolved around surprise flashbacks that recontextualized the whole of the franchise. Jigsaw, for example, simultaneously takes place as the first and eighth installment of the story, depending on if you count the flashback or the present day plotline to be the 'main' one (in reality, they're both equally important so you could make the argument either way!)

Other movies pull similar timeline twists as well. We list III and IV as happening one right after the other, but in reality, they happen at the same time so you could watch them in any order.

Is Jigsaw alive or dead?

Image credit: Lionsgate

Jigsaw is very much dead, don't worry. Unlike his movie monster peers like Jason or Michael, Jigsaw is not empowered by anything supernatural and died on-screen during Saw III. However, thanks to the aforementioned flashback twists, Jigsaw has regularly appeared in the franchise many times over since his death.

The upcoming Saw X is actually a prequel set before his death, which means he'll be alive and active during the movie - but knowing the Saw movies' penchant for surprises, who can really say what that will ultimately mean. Maybe we're about to learn that Jigsaw has been immortal all along, or perhaps that he's only faked his death for all these years and has been pulling the strings all along. It's best not to count anything out.

Where does Spiral: From The Book Of Saw fit into this?

Spiral stands apart from the rest of the franchise by being the only Saw movie to not feature Jigsaw himself in some way, shape, or form. Instead, Spiral takes place within the continuity of the franchise but deals with a copycat killer rather than anyone associated with the man himself. Spiral also notably doesn't do anything to affect or recontextualize the larger Saw timeline -- no major flashback twists or reveals here -- meaning it's effectively an isolated spin-off and, therefore, optional watching.

So, there you have it! The Saw Franchise with a few options for multiple viewing order, which all may or may not be thrown into chaos once we get a chance to sit down and experience Saw X! In the meantime, check out our watch order guide for the Conjuring Universe, The Witcher on Netflix, and The Walking Dead franchise!

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