Let’s be honest, Saw is not a masterclass in terms of character development. In fact, movies like Scream 4 made fun of the franchise’s thirst for gore and the lack of character development. However, that doesn’t mean that the series hasn’t had fun characters along the way. The Saw franchise is a twisty cluster f*** that has seen some interesting people pop up throughout the nine-movie series. This article will focus on the five best characters that were in the world of Saw.
Spiral: The Book of Saw tried to take an interesting and direct approach to the series. Saw has always had the potential to be the modern-day Seven, with Jigsaw’s worldview a nice wrinkle that really doesn’t get explored all too much as the series more so cared about the gore and torture factor. Chris Rock’s character is easily the most layered protagonist with a solid backstory. The homicide detective was essentially shunned from his own police force due to exposing the corruption that took place twelve years ago. It helps add a new code of paint to the lead character in the series, which is usually about a criminal who has to run through a series of traps. The story of Spiral ends up being clunky with several plot holes, but at least the filmmakers tried to go in a new direction instead of its usual Saw formula.
Umbrella Health insurance company. Perhaps this is a sly shoutout to the Resident Evil series? The evil health insurance executive and senior vice president of the department for membership claims wasn’t exactly the most nuanced character onscreen; however, Saw VI does a decent enough job of highlighting his worldview, and putting his staff under William’s policy was a great idea. William is the closest thing to character development when it comes to a Saw protagonist, he eventually understands the era of his ways, though he’s painfully murdered by the vengeful son of Harold Abbott. Saw VI was a surprising formula of storytelling for the series. The story was still twisty, but not as needlessly complicated as the other chapters in the franchise.
Dr. Lawrence Gordon
Saw remains the best film of the series because the focus is more on the character than the tortuous traps that Jigasaw put his victims through. That means Dr. Gordon was given a solid story and it helps that the talented Cary Elwes was performing the role. The aspects about his personal life did a decent job of fleshing out who he is, but it’s the reveal of Dr. Lawrence Gordon’s alliance with Jigasaw that created an interesting story for the doctor. The issue is that the franchise scrambled to make this shocking reveal in Saw: The Last Chapter, despite the fact that Gordon makes several unseen and minor appearances throughout the ongoing saga. It’s a shame that his story was never followed up on; however, I understand why the filmmakers deviated from that horrible disaster known as The Last Chapter. Gordon is the lone bright spot of that feature, and the intriguing layers that got the doctor to align with the main villain will separate him from the forgettable names throughout the series.
Amanda’s character made a memorable debut in the legendary reverse bear trap; however, it’s her ongoing stay throughout the first couple of films that help nicely balance out her character. Adding the twist that she was the one to kill John and Jill’s baby was a neat reveal, though her darker use of Jigasaw’s formula in Saw III got a chance for a series to shake up the story a bit. Amanda has never come across as a good person (she does somewhat in Saw II), but what drives her and trying to use the Jigasaw traps for revenge helped add an interesting spin for one of John’s apprentices.
Did you really think I was going to make this list within the most compelling character in the entire series? While focusing on John Kramer’s story so much took away the opportunity for the writers to properly develop their protagonists, John’s view on the world is a fascinating one. A man who went through such a horrific crash that almost killed him comes to the conclusion that criminals need to truly understand the value of life is actually a great story for a character. The big problem with these Saw films is that John is such a good character onscreen, that we barely care about the criminals that are going through these tortuous traps. The juxtaposition of so many not painting John as a serial killer could’ve been explored better and some of the twists border on ridiculous; however, there’s no denying that Jigasaw will forever be considered a horror icon for years to come.