How Saw X Fits Into the Saw Universe

3 minute read

When the Saw series killed off Jigsaw Killer John Kramer at the end of its third installment, 2006's Saw III, it put the horror franchise in a peculiar position. While Tobin Bell continued to appear as Jigsaw in flashback sequences of later films, Saw no longer had its main baddie.

Now, the series is jumping back in time for a new movie that centers on Jigsaw while he was still alive and eager to test his victims' wills to live in remarkably gruesome ways. "Listen, we're the idiots that killed off the lead after Saw III," franchise producer Oren Koules told Entertainment Weekly. "[But] how long can we suspend disbelief when the guy has terminal cancer?"

Saw X
Tobin Bell as John Kramer in Saw X.Lionsgate

Saw X, in theaters September 29, picks up after the events of Saw but before Saw II, a period of time when Jigsaw had already established himself as a sadistic torture master but was still trying to find a cure for his terminal brain cancer. The movie sees Jigsaw travel to Mexico for an experimental medical procedure—only to realize the entire operation is a scam.

"This film opens with that cancer diagnosis and John Kramer learning that there is some kind of experimental, semi-outlawed treatment that's available in Mexico City," director Kevin Greutert told EW. "He gets his operation and finds out, after thinking he's been cured, that maybe it's not all what it seems. And we go from there."

When Kramer discovers he's been swindled by a team of con artists with a penchant for preying on desperate patients, he rounds them all up for a one-night-only Saw trap extravaganza. And so the games begin.

Read more: The 14 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of Fall 2023

Saw X
Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young in Saw X.Alexandro Bolaños Escamilla—Lionsgate

With the story set after Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam (Leigh Whannell) wake up trapped in the bathroom from hell but before the nerve gas house of Saw II, Jigsaw has his right-hand woman Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) at his side to aid in his revenge plot. A former heroin addict, Amanda joined up as Jigsaw's apprentice after becoming the first person to survive one of his traps—the infamous "reverse bear trap" we see in Saw. Like her master, Amanda also died during the events of Saw III.

This time around, the story will be told from Kramer's perspective rather than that of his targets, according to franchise veteran Greutert. "[Saw X] is an emotional journey that you go on with John Kramer, and less a slaughterhouse that you experience from the point of view of the victims," he told Empire. "Obviously there will be people that can’t handle it, but I think it has a good chance of appealing to people beyond gore freaks."

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