Films Involved: 7 (Saw; Saw II; Saw III; Saw IV; Saw V; Saw VI; Saw: The Final Chapter)
Approximate Total Runtime: 11 hours 6 minutes
Storyline Progression: I like to think of the Saw series as a camera that’s slowly zooming out: it begins with two men in a bathroom (or one man on a chair if you count the 2003 short), and ends in complete public eye with a body count of dozens. I like how important the Jigsaw and Amanda Young characters are to the whole series, even posthumously, tying it together both philosophically and emotionally as completely opposite forces working in tandem. I like how Jigsaw’s “work” has turned into a legitimate legacy of its own over the course of the series, and I love how, as a result of this legacy, we are forced to never relax our own feelings about any character until they end up dead.
Continuity: Even though you’ll experience a very noticeable shift in writing and directorial styles between parts 1-3 and parts 4-7, I was happy to note that nothing was majorly overwritten. Directors and scriptwriters more than respected their predecessors’ work; acknowledging it, feeding off it and building around it almost seamlessly; never letting an instalment go wayward like many other franchises have. I appreciated the consistency of the film editors throughout the series: colour grading to hint at chronological order, speed ramps and fast cuts for tension, and re-emphasis of Jigsaw’s key messages through flashbacks at the end of each film – nice techniques which Saw has neatly made its own.
Marathon Verdict: DO IT. We had a lot of fun with it. By ‘we’ I mean a group where gore fans were outnumbered. The pace of the movies is gonna keep the audience on its toes all the time; even the squirmish will lose the battle with curiosity and stick it out. If you want a shortcut you can afford to ignore Part 7 – I don’t feel it brought anything fresh to the series and unfortunately, came off the back of an excellent Part 6.