Top 11 Evil Traps From The ‘Saw’ Franchise

The franchise lauded for jumpstarting the torture-horror genre is back, with Saw X opening on 19 October 2023 (in Singapore). Believe it or not, the Jigsaw Killer (Tobin Bell) is returning to exact justice upon those he deems deserving of it but as iconic a villain as he is, the fans recognise that the real star of the Saw franchise have always been the traps. 

Intricately built to punish the victims of the Jigsaw Killer, there are rarely two traps designed the same. With an oft-poetic element to their design, these traps are meant to test the victims’ will to live (and not to kill them outright because Jigsaw despises murderers), with them usually ending up mutilating themselves to escape.

11 Evil Traps from Saw

With nine movies currently under its belt, the Saw franchise has flashed numerous traps on the big screen, but these are the top 11 setups that stand out from the rest.

**WARNING: this will be gruesome! PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION**

#1. Shotgun Carousel (Saw VI)

Shotgun Carousel Saw Trap

The whole spiel about not being a murderer kind of loses its sparkle when you put multiple people in a trap guaranteed to erase at least one person from the world of the living. 

Being the last of four in a series of tests for Umbrella Health insurance company CEO William Easton (Peter Outerbridge), it spared nothing in enacting ‘poetic justice.’ After years of playing the game of who lives and who dies (with William and his team denying the coverage of people’s treatment costs for bogus reasons), Jigsaw placed lives in William’s hands once more, but this time, it was the lives of his team. 

Crowned as the trap to have taken the most lives in a single use, the Shotgun Carousel saw William’s six assistants chained to a rotating playground roundabout, with one victim facing a shotgun. They are forced to rely on William’s button presses to save two of them at the cost of injuring his own hands, while the other four would inevitably die, screaming and begging for their lives like the people they had denied help to. 

#2. The Brazen Bull (Saw 3D)

The Brazen Bull Saw Trap

The Brazen Bull is one of Jigsaw’s takes on a real-life torture device. The device of the same name was an ancient Greek torture device, resembling a hollow, bronze bull, in which victims were placed and roasted alive, and pipe-fed through the bull’s mouth so the victim’s screams sounded like a bull’s bellow. 

Like the previous trap, the Brazen Bull was just one in a series of tests. However, the victim was an innocent party punished for the sins of her husband. Joyce Dagen (Gina Holden) was restrained on a platform with a chain attached to her neck and had to rely on her husband, Bobby (Sean Patrick Flanery), to pierce his own pectoral muscles with hooks, hoist himself to the ceiling, and connect extension cords – replicating the false story he told of surviving a Jigsaw trap for fame – to deactivate the trap, or else she would be lowered into an oven-like enclosure and roasted alive. Unfortunately, that turned out to be her fate. 

#3. Horsepower Trap (Saw 3D)

Horsepower Trap from Saw

A trap so brutal that it was not shown in earlier Saw movies, even though the creators had wanted to. It finally saw the light in Saw 3D as a parting gift to the franchise, which was supposed to end with the film. 

Designed to punish four racist skinheads who intimidated and harmed other people because of their physical differences, the Horsepower Trap starts off in a garage. Evan (Chester Bennington), one of the four, wakes up to find himself in a modified 1976 Chevrolet El Camino, with the familiar voice of everyone’s favourite ‘non-murderer’ telling him to free himself from the glued seat within 30 seconds to pull a red lever attached to the motor. Fail,  and the car will fall off jacks, leading to a chain reaction that would result in the death of three other victims, including one crushed beneath the tire, one losing limbs and jaw, and one overrun by a car bursting through a garage door. 

In the end, the character failed to escape, and the sight of his skin tearing off his back left fans feeling a bit sick.

#4. Angel Trap (Saw III)

Angel Trap from Saw

The Angel Trap remains iconic, not just for putting an end to Allison Kerry (Dina Meyer) – a long-standing character of the franchise – but also because it marked the start of the inescapable traps where completing tasks might not guarantee you leave the game with your life.

Allison wakes up suspended in the air with spikes embedded in her ribs. She is told that to escape, she has to retrieve the key from the jar of acid in front of her, or the machine will rip out her ribcage from either side.

Proving her will to live, she retrieves the key (simultaneously melting the skin and flesh off her hand) only to realise that the machine will not release her. Her despair is captured in time with the countdown before her ribs are ripped from her body, with the machine appendages and fleshy bits framed like an angel with unfurled wings. 

#5. Reverse Bear Trap (Saw, Saw VI, Saw 3D)

Reverse Bear Trap from Saw

Considered to be one of the most notable Saw traps, the Reverse Bear Trap has been placed on multiple characters such as Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor), and even Jigsaw’s ex-wife Jill Tuck (Betsy Russell).

The trap is a mechanical device affixed to the victims’ heads, requiring them to locate and unlock a padlock within 60 seconds; failure resulted in the trap violently tearing their jaws apart. Mark, who was placed in one by Jill and left with no means of escape, managed to slip out of his restraints and push the trap’s frontal part between two metal bars on the door window, preventing it from bursting open completely. Heavily scarred by the incident, Mark gets his revenge by placing Jill in a similar position. She was not as lucky.

#6. The Needle Pit (Saw II)

Needle Pit Trap from Saw

There are Saw traps that make you feel ill, but the Needle Pit will have you physically itching. 

In another one of Jigsaw’s‘ group experiences’, Amanda finds herself in another trap again. 

Intended for drug dealer Xavier (Franky G), Amanda is tossed into a pit filled with dirty syringes to find a key to get them closer to freedom. The remaining characters are seen physically recoiling at the sight of the needles sticking out of her body as she manically searches through the heap. She eventually does find the key, but is a second too late in running through the door. 

The making of the pit was no easy feat either. For four days, numerous individuals meticulously replaced needle tips with trimmed fibre optic cable tips, totaling around 120,000 needles, some lacking tips at all, along with Styrofoam filler, for the daunting task.

#7. The Cycle Trap (Jigsaw)

The Cycle Trap from Saw

The Cycle Trap is essentially a human blender and has personal sentiment for Jigsaw as Mitch (Mandela Van Peebles) is placed in the trap after selling a faulty motorcycle to Jigsaw’s nephew, resulting in him getting run over by a truck. 

Composed of a spiral blade, like a giant funnel, the in-place rotation is powered by the engine of the same faulty motorcycle, fixed atop the coil. The handbrake which resulted in the death of Jigsaw’s nephew rests on the floor at the bottom of the coil. Mitch is lowered, head-first, into the centre of the coil and must retrieve the handbrake to deactivate the trap without bumping into the coil surrounding him. Other game participants try their best to help him, but ultimately, a ribboned version of Mitch plops to the ground.

#8. The Silence Circle (Saw 3D)

The Silence Circle from Saw

Speak no evil is taken to the extreme with the Silence Circle, so publicists should beware what they say.

Nina (Naomi Snieckus), Bobby’s publicist who supported his lie for the sake of gaining wealth – even though she knew that his story was merely fabricated – is forced to test her pain tolerance as Bobby fishes for the key to her trap. The only problem is that the key attached to a fishing hook is in her stomach, and the one way out is letting it tear its way up her oesophagus. Unfortunately, this is only one part of the puzzle. 

The machine encasing Nina has a metal ring supported by four posts, each with a pointed rod aimed at her throat. Each one of the metal posts has a phonomete that registers every noise in the room, so every time the decibel level in the room rises above a whisper, such as when Nina starts to scream from a sharp hook tearing up her throat, the metal rods would move forward, thereby killing her even sooner.

While not built to be an inescapable trap, only a few (if any) can remain quiet as a key is hooked out from their stomach through their oesophagus.

#9. Flammable Jelly Trap (Saw)

Flammable Jelly Trap from Saw

The Flammable Jelly Trap is a culmination of multiple torture methods put together. Mark Wilson (Paul Gutrecht) is trapped utterly naked in a dark room whose floor is covered in broken glass. He is also smeared with flammable jelly and has a slow-acting poison coursing through his veins. 

As Jigsaw is not a murderer, there is an antidote hidden in a safe, and all Mark has to do is use a tiny candle to decipher the unlock code from the hundreds of numbers written on the walls. The catch? He needs to do so while shuffling around in the dark, slicing his feet on broken glass, hoping not to lose his grip on the small candle, and ignite the flammable substance as his body grows weaker from the poison.

#10. Classroom Trap (Saw III)

The Classroom Trap is one of the first few hints that pointed to the concept of inescapable traps created by Amanda, though not as obvious as the Angel Trap. 

Troy (J. Adam Larose), a drug addict sent to prison multiple times throughout his life despite his privilege, wakes up in the middle of a classroom with eleven chains attached to him by piercing metal chain rings through his body. Ten chains are pierced through his hands, shoulders, Achilles tendons, arms, and external obliques, while the ring of the last chain is pierced through Troy’s lower jaw. A nail bomb is also set to go off, and the only way to escape is to rip out each chain before the time goes out. 

Fans are treated to the horrific scene of Troy ripping out the first ten chains from his body, the gruesome effects distracting them from the question of how he would survive ripping the chain from his lower jaw. That situation is never explored as the timer goes off, leaving bits of Troy everywhere.

It is later discovered when the authorities are sweeping the crime scene that the door Troy was supposed to escape through had been welded shut, dooming him to death from the start.

#11. The Bathroom Trap (Saw)

Bathroom Trap from Saw

The one trap that skyrocketed a single movie into a cult-favourite billion-dollar horror franchise.

Rather than being a complex device, this trap situates two victims – Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) and Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) – in a grimy bathroom, each chained by their ankles to opposite metal pipes, with a corpse in between. They are given rusty hacksaws and face the harrowing choice of cutting off their feet to escape or die from starvation. This iconic bathroom setting birthed one of a horror movie’s most mind-blowing plot twists, and became a recurring, chilling symbol in the Saw series.

The Saw lore is highly complex, and with Saw X just around the corner, fans are excited to see what present elements will be explored or if any new bits of information will be revealed. For the most part, though, the gore will continue to live for as long as the franchise runs.