A Beginner’s Guide to the Saw Franchise - The Fantasy Review

A Beginner’s Guide to the Saw Franchise

The Fantasy Review‘s beginner’s guide to the Saw Franchise.


Saw is an incredibly influential horror movie franchise with some of the best plot twists and crazy timeline stuff of any series. Leigh Whannell and James Wan created something special with Saw in 2004, and the franchise has been attempting to replicate that magic for nearly twenty years now, some attempts more successful than others.

Which Movies to Watch First

You have to start at the beginning, or you’ll miss out on so many cool twists!

Watch Saw (2004) First!

My second favourite Saw movie (Saw II is my favourite) and a fantastic introduction to the series. Apart from some acting by one actor that isn’t fantastic, this movie is brilliant and it sets up twists and turns you will never see coming!

Starting any later in the series just ruins the cool twists you can experience naturally by starting at the beginning.

Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)

As this reboot is pretty unrelated to the plot of the main series, with a totally different mastermind behind everything, watching Spiral first isn’t a terrible idea. Especially if you want to get a feel for the series, but not start anything too long.

To that, however, I would say that Saw (2004) and Saw II (2005) could be watched as a duology; those to movies are the best of the series. That isn’t to say the overarching plot/s of the franchise aren’t worth exploring – far from it! – but it does mean you dont have to watch past Saw II if you don’t want to watch a long series of movies.

Movies (Release Date Order)

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

Related to our Beginner’s Guide to the Saw Franchise

Owner and Editor of The Fantasy Review. Loves all fantasy and science fiction books, graphic novels, TV and Films. Having completed a BA and MA in English Literature and Creative writing, they would like to go on to do a PhD. Favourite authors are Trudi Canavan, Steven Erikson, George R. R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson.

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