Who Is Jigsaw? The Serial Killer Of The Saw Movies Explained

By Chad Langen | Published

Jigsaw’s Doll

In the grisly realm of horror cinema, few characters have etched a chilling resonance quite like John Kramer, more ominously known as Jigsaw, in the Saw franchise. His portrayal by the seasoned actor Tobin Bell is nothing short of haunting, embedding a fearsome yet compelling face to the name of Jigsaw. Bell’s ability to channel a cold, analytical menace while retaining an eerie sense of rationality has rendered John Kramer a horror icon, standing in a dark league of his own.

How John Kramer Became Jigsaw

Tobin Bell as Jigsaw

John Kramer’s journey began far removed from the blood-soaked torture chambers synonymous with his alter ego, Jigsaw. His early years painted the picture of a man deeply entrenched in the rhythms of everyday life until the tragic loss of his unborn child and a subsequent cancer diagnosis sent him plummeting into the abyss of despair. Driven by a twisted sense of retribution, he embarked on a path fueled by the desire to punish those he believed had failed to cherish the precious gift of life.

The transformation of John Kramer into Jigsaw delves deeply into the human psyche’s reaction to despair and the inevitability of death. His methodical and brutal approach sought to impart horrifying life lessons to his victims, pushing them to the very brink of death itself to instill a profound appreciation for life’s fragile beauty.

Jigsaw’s disturbing motivation stemmed from his mission to provoke a moral awakening within what he perceived as a morally decaying society, evolving him into an anti-hero whose sinister games compelled individuals to confront their deepest fears and darkest transgressions.

John Kramer (aka Jigsaw) made his menacing debut in the original Saw movie, and from that moment, he set the stage for a chilling narrative that would unfold across a gritty and blood-soaked cinematic journey. John Kramer’s character became synonymous with nightmarish moral lessons delivered through elaborately designed, deadly traps as the Saw franchise expanded. His meticulously orchestrated games of survival probed the psyche of the characters on screen and left an indelible mark on the audience, solidifying his status as a horror icon and establishing a legacy of terror that continues to reverberate.

Death Did Not Stop Jigsaw


Even following his demise in Saw III at the hands of Jeff Reinhart (Angus MacFadyen), Jigsaw’s spectral presence continued to cast an ominous shadow over subsequent films, seeping into every frame through the eerie interplay of flashbacks, recordings, and the sinister continuation of his grisly mission by steadfast disciples. His chilling philosophy persisted, leaving an indelible mark as it molded the actions and motivations of characters, such as Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) and Detective Mark Hoffman (Costa Mandylor), who perpetuated his ominous legacy. The sustained tension orchestrated by Jigsaw’s character effectively kept audiences on the edge of their seats, ensuring the series’ enduring success with each spine-chilling installment.

The Original Jigsaw Returns In Saw X

Saw X

Saw X, slated for release on September 29th, promises to delve into the elusive narrative tucked between the initial two movies, reigniting the enigmatic allure surrounding John Kramer. In the film, John’s desperation propels him into a perilous journey to Mexico, where he seeks a high-risk, experimental medical procedure as a final gambit to conquer his cancer. However, he soon stumbles upon a sinister revelation: the entire operation is an intricate scam preying on society’s most vulnerable.

Saw X‘s storyline hints at a more profound exploration of Jigsaw’s psyche, uncovering an additional tragic event that fueled his disturbing ideology. The return of Tobin Bell in his iconic role has significantly heightened anticipation, turning Jigsaw’s chilling comeback into a highly anticipated event for devoted Saw enthusiasts. Furthermore, the film’s positioning of John Kramer at the forefront, the first time since Saw III, is sure to draw hordes of Saw fans to theaters.