From the inception of the Saw franchise in 2004 to the latest gut-wrenching installment, Saw X, the franchise has been a relentless exploration of sadistic traps. Over the years, audiences have been subjected to a horrific spectacle of ingenious, mind-bending devices crafted to push the limits of human survival. We’re navigating the labyrinth of pain and psychological torment, highlighting the most vicious and unforgettable traps throughout the franchise’s 11 films.
Among the Saw franchise’s plethora of traps, this one stands out as ingeniously crafted yet often overlooked. In the first Saw, a man awakens in a dark room, a flammable substance smeared over his body. To find the combination to a safe containing the antidote for the slow-acting poison in his system, he must use a candle to read symbols on the walls.
However, with each flicker and movement, he risks setting himself a flame due to the combustible jelly. The claustrophobic setting, combined with the urgency of the ticking toxin, accentuates the peril of his choices: risk burning or succumb to the poison’s lethal grip.
In Saw II, the horrifying Death Mask is featured as an instrument of torment, ensnaring the unfortunate victim, Michael. Reminiscent of a medieval iron maiden, this macabre device comprises two metal parts – a front and back piece – both angled menacingly towards the victim’s head, adorned with countless sharp nails on the inside.
A timer ominously ticks away, giving Michael just 60 seconds to locate a key, painstakingly concealed behind one of his eyes, unlock the sinister contraption, and liberate himself. Failing this terrifying task leads to the mask’s closure, the nails penetrating Michael’s skull, making it a chillingly simple yet ruthlessly effective test of survival.
This trap is one of several featured in Saw III, and it’s undoubtedly a testament to Jigsaw’s chilling creativity. A distraught woman is cruelly stripped of her clothing and bound with chains in an unforgivingly cold chamber. With each passing moment, she is intermittently drenched by jets of freezing water, causing an insidious icy sheen to encase her body, slowly pushing her toward the brink of death.
Parallel to her suffering, another character named Jeff is thrust into a frantic quest. He is tasked with retrieving a vital key, which is her only hope of escape. This requires him to wade through a daunting labyrinth of obstacles, all the while being acutely aware of the relentless tick-tock of the countdown. Regrettably, as precious minutes elapse, the woman’s situation grows increasingly dire, with the cold taking its toll and hypothermia setting in, evident by the thickening frost enveloping her fragile form.
Reverse Bear Trap
The reverse bear trap, a truly terrifying and ingenious device, first graced the screen in the inaugural Saw movie. Amanda, a character ensnared by Jigsaw’s twisted game, finds herself faced with this deadly trap but miraculously manages to evade its devastating clutches.
Designed to instill absolute terror, the contraption resembles a menacingly large metal bear trap, meticulously crafted to encase the victim’s head snugly. Integral to its macabre design is a timer, which, upon reaching zero, causes the trap to violently snap open, its sharp jaws intent on causing catastrophic damage by wrenching the victim’s jaws apart in a truly visceral and horrifying display.
In Saw VI, the Shotgun Carousel trap serves as a standout example of Jigsaw’s perverse morality tests. Six of William Easton’s employees, previously shielded by his insurance policies, are strapped to a rotating carousel.
As it spins, one by one, they’re positioned before a mounted shotgun. William, tasked with choosing who survives, has only two shotgun shells to spare four lives. By pressing a button, he can divert the gun’s aim, saving an individual, but the emotional and moral weight of deciding who lives and dies rests solely on his shoulders.
The Razor Box
In Saw II, the Razor Box trap epitomizes Jigsaw’s twisted sense of poetic justice. The victim, Addison, is lured by the promise of an antidote for the poisonous gas she’s been exposed to. She finds it inside a clear box suspended from the ceiling, but there’s a catch.
The box’s only access points are holes, guarded by sharp, spring-loaded razors that close on her wrists when she reaches in. The more she struggles, the tighter the blades grip, making retrieval of the antidote nearly impossible without severe injury.
Saw III presents the chilling Angel Trap, specifically designed for Detective Allison Kerry. With a cruel twist of fate, Kerry finds herself trapped, her ribcage shackled to a mechanical contraption. This horrifying device, when activated, is designed to wrench her ribs apart in a grotesque imitation of angelic wings. Her only hope of liberation rests on retrieving a key, which is menacingly submerged in a jar filled to the brim with corrosive acid.
As each second ticks by, her anxiety and desperation reach a fever pitch. However, in a heart-wrenching turn of events, even after mustering the courage to plunge her hand into the acid, it becomes evident that this malevolent game was always rigged against her, with her doom predetermined from the very beginning.
This diabolical trap in Saw II stands as one of the franchise’s most excruciating and memorable tests of survival. In this nerve-wracking scenario, Amanda is plunged into a pit filled with thousands of grimy, used syringes.
Tasked with the harrowing objective of finding a concealed key amidst this treacherous sea of needles, she learns that this elusive key is the only means to unlock a safe, which inside, holds the antidote to the deadly nerve agent slowly permeating the room.
But, in true Jigsaw fashion, there’s a cruel twist: the clock is ruthlessly counting down. Despite Amanda’s brave and desperate endeavors, she fails to secure the key within the allotted time. Miraculously, she survives the torment, but she emerges from the pit resembling a human pincushion.