The movie, Jigsaw, is an American horror movie that was first released in October of 2004. It was a hit on the American screen and on various cinemas all over the world. Because of its instant hit, it was made a franchise and had a total number of eight series as at 2017. But some have been wondering who is jigsaw.
It was widely expected that the Saw series was going to come to an end with the 2010 Saw 3D edition. But the series went on to make the Jigsaw of 2017.
The role of the Jigsaw killer who was the antagonist of the movie was played by John Kramer.
The Saw movie horror franchise was created by Leigh Wannell and James Wan and is being distributed by Twisted Pictures and Lions Gate Entertainment.
The Movie Setting
The movie was set in a fictional world and centered on a serial killer known as Jigsaw Killer. He kidnapped the unfortunate victims who did not have the heart to appreciate the life they lived, according to what he believed.
He set traps for them to test how strong they were willing to survive. Through the traps he set for them, their instinct to survive was laid bare.
The movie initially started as a series. It later metamorphosed into other forms of entertainment and media like comics, video games, a roller coaster, and mazes.
The film made a huge financial success, which resulted in the production of Saw II a year after the original one. Subsequently, in 2006, Saw III was produced, Saw IV in 2007, Saw V in 2008, Saw VI in 2009 and Saw 3D in 2010.
A new edition was made every single year between 2004 – 2008. They were all released on the weekend of Halloween. It took another seven years for the eighth and final episode, Jigsaw (2017), to be released.
Of all the Saw movie series, episode III had the highest gross sales while episode VI recorded the lowest.
Who Is Jigsaw
John Kramer, as we mentioned above was the antagonist of the Jaw series. He’s better referred to as the Jigsaw. He played the role in the 2004 episode and the subsequent episodes.
He was a very intelligent murderer with a demented mind. He did not kill his victims by himself. Rather, he snared them into elaborately planned death traps where the victims were compelled to endure painful damages in other to escape.
The story about him was introduced with a discussion of his character in the first episode of Saw. It had the best twist endings to be witnessed in any horror movie in history.
His life history was detailed, and the philosophy of his life, expanded on in the subsequent Saw titles.
John Kramer, who was formerly an engineer had a frontal tumor which was inoperable. As a result of unsuccessful attempted suicide, his near-death experience brought to him a whole new perspective of life.
Later, he saw himself as a worthy personality to test other people’s will to survive, even during the greatest challenge. It was his conclusion that anybody who could not stomach pain or have the strength of mind and body to bear suffering do not have the right to live.
This was because he believed that life was not just about joy and happy times. Negative life experiences were also a necessary and very important part of life.
He started capturing people whom he believed had moral and personal flaws. He would then exploit those perceived flaws in his captives, with torture traps that he had already customized.
He conditioned his victims to either accept the issues they had with life and deal with them or allow those issues to consume them.
He named those traps, ‘games.’ Each of them offered the captives a means to out play the trap and survive to face the next challenge. By surviving the games, they learned a few life lessons.
On the other hand, those who failed to make it and lost their lives did not have the will to live and therefore deserved to die according to the Jigsaw’s twisted mind.
The games he planned always involved harming others, psychological torture or self-mutilation.
Let us look at the breakdown of the saw series according to the various episodes.
If we go through all the saw series, this very first episode is the most bizarre compared to all rest series. It is quite gory and alters a simple plot into a scene that can only been seen in the Roman gladiators’ arena fights or Byzantine maze of overlapping and interlocking narratives.
But it is the only one that actually embeds a tale of morality in its core of all the ‘torture’ franchise. Dr. Lawrence Gordon played by Cary Elwes who was a skilled doctor that gets locked up in a damp basement bathroom.
He was locked with an unknown man who happens to be a photographer who has been stalking him secretly for a client that he the photographer did not even know. The role of the photographer was played by Leigh Whannell, was the co-writer.
And as is with the Jigsaw’s games, they must undertake extreme acts that involve both physical and mental violence in other to prove they deserve the life they live.
James Wan directed this first edition of the saw franchise, but that is the only one he directed and is regarded as the best. But he was the producer of the whole eight series of the franchise and was even a co-writer for Saw III.
The detailed equipment made to cause a lot of pain was quite creative at that time the movie was made. The way the scenes were made to look very scary and original, like the car parking garage, and the apartment that was dark and only lit by the flashes of the camera are quite chilling.
To add to the chilling effect of the movie is the voice of the Jigsaw pouring out from the voice recorder gravely, giving instruction to the captives.
There’s no doubt that Saw created a whole new yardstick in measuring the chilling effect of horror movies.
As is quite normal with the Saw movie series, Saw II continues from where Saw ended. In this one, Donnie Wahlberg plays the role of an unethical cop whose son is in the captivity of the Jigsaw. To rescue his son, he must play the Jigsaw’s games.
This episode introduces extra gore to the already gory actions of the original Saw. It also introduces the gauntlet which will become a common feature in the rest of the franchise.
That is having a group of people converged in a big torture maze. They are to follow sacred rules that is meant to lead them to their freedom.
We also see the role of the first person to survive the torture, Amanda (played by Shawnee Smith), and becomes an apprentice to Jigsaw.
Saw II raised the torture to another level but does not really push it over the hill. Which makes it also an interest sequel to Saw.
Saw III is a game changer from Saw II because it is already known that the Jigsaw is not working alone. Amanda has already become completely ingrained into the story as his assistant.
She is hoping to take over from Jigsaw when he succumbs to the cancer that was ravaging him.
As we already know, it is this sickness that triggered the whole torture game for him from the beginning.
In Saw III, there is the angle of the surgeon kidnapped to keep Jigsaw alive or else he the surgeon will die if the Jigsaw’s pulse stops.
There is also the compelling play of the John’s and Amanda’s mentor-mentee, father-daughter.
And then the central story of Jeff, who must find a way out of the Jigsaw’s bizarre game.
The fourth Saw series seems to have gone overboard with the level of torture and violence that it offers it viewers.
It took the whole moral story and punishment for misbehavior to a level that was almost disgusting even to the gore loving fans.
And the whole story seems to be taking place concurrently with III. Also, whole lot of people were brought back in and others that were peripheral characters took in a more central role.
In all the Saw IV seems to be just cheap tricks devoid of any real deep story and mere bloody story
The fifth series of the franchise is more interesting than the previous one. It came with the intrigue of an FBI field agent who was on the trail of cop Hoffman. He suspected Hoffman of being linked somehow to Jigsaw.
Saw V places a lot of emphasis on the dark history of Hoffman and shows that he has always worked with John Kramer right from the original Saw through II, III, and IV.
It dwelt a lot on flashback from the previous series, which almost diminished the fun it created because of too many narratives.
But the central game in Saw V is among the most intriguing. The group of captives is made up of strangers with shady characters.
They have to work together to survive the torture house and gain their freedom.
Some of them were to later gain redemption but not without a lot of backstabbing. This helped bring a lot of twist and suspense to the movie.
The Saw sixth edition takes a whole new dimension from the previous ones. It now focuses it attention to the society in general. Its punishment is now directed at corrupt insurance companies and predatory lenders.
Saw has always been about morality tale. However, VI brings up hit the nail right on the head with hammer narrative.
This time around, an insurance-company executive must survive the pains and challenges of the game. His crime is that he had rejected request by John Kramer for insurance coverage for a cancer treatment that was still under experiment.
But the executive turned out to be a nice caring man who hard to endure a lot of pain to save his fellow captives.
And after six episodes, many more characters came into reckoning including John’s ex-wife, a police detective that has taken over the as heir to John, and other characters.
This edition is very interesting because of the intrigues of the game.
The final two series Saw 3D and Jigsaw also came with the same punishment for those that have thwarted the will of the masses in one way or the other.
It came with various level of success but not as exciting as the previous ones. The final chapter came with a story that seems to show that the last time the Jigsaw’s games were played was ten years ago.
It took 7 years after the Saw 3D for the last chapter, Jigsaw to be aired.
Video: The movie trailer of Jigsaw (2017)
What Philosophy and Motivation Are Behind the Jigsaw’s Actions?
The Jigsaw discovered that he had terminal cancer. As a result, he tried to have himself killed. When he failed, he realized that there were many reasons why he should be grateful for being alive.
This renewal of life made him realize that there may be other people who may be in the same situation he encountered.
Consequently, he decided to do something about it. He saw it as a duty to make people realize the importance of life. And for those who failed to realize this, they were better left to die.
So, in his mind he was being helpful. He saw himself as somebody who was going into the mind of people to bring out that raw need – to be alive.
He believed that his traps would change the lazy and undisciplined ones into better people. Better in the sense that they will be renewed, and their life will make more meaning. And they will appreciate their existence the more.
This ideology was somewhat justified in the mind of the Jigsaw killer by an event that happened. Amanda, who was the first captive to escape successfully from his traps, showed him gratitude for all the experience he made her pass through.
Amanda became the Jigsaw’s apprentice. She regarded him as her father for helping to save her life.
Why was Jigsaw Killing People?
As far as John Kramer was concerned, he did not and had never killed anybody. He was only playing a game with his victims. The decision to leave or to die was entirely theirs. Therefore, he was not a killer as it was a decision they had to make on their own.
But from an independent angle, the decisions or options he gave them were so difficult to choose. You may prefer to die than to do the alternative. This was because the alternative was very violent and could maim you for life.
The intrigues adopted by the jigsaw in his “games” can be likened to the jigsaw puzzle game. The victims are made to solve puzzles that are meant to bring solution to their present situation.
Just like you need to fix the different little pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to make a bigger picture that makes sense. He intends for his participants to fix little pieces of his twisting game to survive.
Who Took the Character of Jigsaw in Marvel Comics?
The marvel comics story of the Jigsaw had nothing with the Saw series which debuted in 2004. The comics version started quite earlier and had a different story line.
Billy Russo was the name of the Jigsaw in Marvel movies. As the story was told, Billy Russo’s team were attacked by The Punisher. Everyone was killed except Billy. But his face was badly mutilated.
He was allowed to live as a message to the other members of Billy Russo’s underworld organization. The Punisher was retaliating for the killing of his own family by Russo and his team who were hired to assassinate them. He was able to survive the attack and went on a revenge mission.
The Jigsaw tried to frame the punisher so that the Amazing Spiderman would go after him. But Spiderman was to later discover that Jigsaw was the bad guy. He fought against him with the help of The Punisher and Nightcrawler.
Spiderman and Jigsaw were to later square up against each other again in a sequel, with a great fight.
The Marvel Jigsaw comics was created by Ross Andru and Len Wein had its first debut in 1976 episode of the Amazing Spiderman.
The Jigsaw franchise was one of the most successful horror movie franchises. As at 2010, it had the Guinness world record of the most successful horror film.
And the tradition of the producers to release it on the weekend of the Halloween helped to add some spice to it and made people to anticipate its yearly release.