While he claims to not be a serial killer, Saw villain Jigsaw is one of the most effective murderers in horror, though there have been a few victims that have escaped his grasp. Of course, were one to ask John Kramer himself, back when he was alive, anyway, he would’ve insisted that what he did wasn’t murder. Instead, John used the Jigsaw identity to help wayward and damaged people reform, learning to have a new appreciation for life by making a sacrifice of blood and flesh to survive.
In reality, Jigsaw’s twisted methods are impossible to condone. His games are nothing more than a sick vigilante taking punishment into his own hands. John may have been a decent man once upon a time, but the loss of his unborn son and the dissolution of his marriage, coupled with the terminal cancer eating away at him, eventually sapped every last bit of true humanity from his heart. No decent person could do what he does to people and not go mad.
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For the Saw fans, though, there’s no reason to hate John, as in fiction, the normal bounds of morality don’t necessarily apply. Many of the people Jigsaw targets are far from sympathetic characters, and watching them get theirs can be a form of catharsis. Sometimes though, the players of Jigsaw’s games have survived to tell the tale. Here are all of the survivors of Jigsaw’s games.
Amanda Young (Saw)
Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) was the first known survivor of a Jigsaw trap, in her case the infamous reverse bear trap. To free herself, she had to kill a man and retrieve the key to the device on her face from inside his stomach. As traumatic as it was, Amanda then kicked her drug addiction and ended up joining John as his first confirmed apprentice, designed to help Jigsaw’s work continue despite John’s failing health. Sadly, she lost her way and began designing inescapable traps. John tested her again, and she failed, dying in the process.
Lawrence, Alison & Diana Gordon (Saw)
Not everyone who gets mixed up in Jigsaw’s games is a particular target of his wrath. In some cases, they’re just those close to the main test subject, such as the wife and daughter of Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes). Dr. Gordon, of course, famously survived his test in the first Saw movie by sawing off his own foot. Meanwhile, his wife Alison and daughter Diana survived their own captivity at the hands of Zep, a man forced into working for Jigsaw. Lawrence would go on to survive and become another Jigsaw apprentice, as revealed in Saw 7.
Jeff Ridenhour (Saw)
Jeff Ridenhour is a very minor character in Saw lore, but still a memorable one. In Jeff’s case, he didn’t necessarily deserve to survive his Jigsaw test, but was saved by Detectives David Tapp (Danny Glover) and Steven Sing (Ken Leung). Doing so led to dire consequences for the cops, though – so perhaps the tradeoff wasn’t exactly fair.
Daniel Matthews (Saw 2)
Daniel Matthews was tested much less due to his own petty crimes, and more because he was the son of Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), an explosively violent cop who was Saw 2‘s primary Jigsaw target. Eric survived being placed in a group of people who had been wrongly convicted of crimes thanks to his father, but was then placed inside a safe to be used as leverage for Eric’s test. Daniel survived, but Eric didn’t come out intact.
Corbett Denlon & Judge Halden (Saw 3)
Corbett Denlon and Judge Halden are two minor Saw 3 characters who were pulled into Jigsaw’s games with Jeff Denlon in Saw 3. Halden was the man who gave the drunk driver that killed Jeff’s son a light sentence. To save Halden, Jeff had to burn cherished mementos connected to his son. Halden later died trying to help Jeff save his son’s killer from a trap. Corbett, Jeff’s young daughter, was “saved” by Jigsaw apprentice Mark Hoffman after Jeff failed his test.
Detective Mark Hoffman (Multiple Films)
Easily the most dangerous and sadistic of Jigsaw’s apprentices, Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) ended up working for John Kramer after faking a Jigsaw murder in order to kill the man who had taken his sister’s life. Seeing Hoffman’s potential, but not appreciating being ripped off, John offered him a chance to join the cause. Hoffman continued the games long after John’s death but got tested for the first time himself via his own reverse bear trap thanks to John’s widow, Jill. Hoffman survived and killed Jill, but later lost for good against Dr. Gordon.
FBI Agent Peter Strahm (Multiple Films)
FBI Agent Peter Strahm (Scott Patterson), along with his partner Lindsey Perez, investigated the Jigsaw case, and both ultimately died as a result, but not before escaping at least one of Jigsaw’s traps. Strahm instantly suspected Hoffman was in on things, and that didn’t change following his own escape from a Jigsaw trap that involved an improvised pen tracheotomy to avoid drowning in a box locked on his head. Still, his dogged pursuit of the truth cost him dearly, as he was later crushed to death by the encroaching walls of a room, while Hoffman smugly escaped the area.
FBI Agent Lindsey Perez (Multiple Films)
Strahm’s partner Agent Perez survived a nasty Jigsaw trap involving an exploding puppet sending shrapnel into her face thanks to the efforts of Strahm himself. The FBI faked her death in order to try and get one over on John’s still unidentified Jigsaw accomplice, although Perez eventually resurfaced, only to get stabbed to death by Hoffman when his crimes were revealed.
Art Blank & Morgan (Saw 4)
Art Blank (Justin Louis) was one of the featured Jigsaw test subjects in Saw 4, and was chosen due to his profession. Art was a lawyer, and one with a habit of defending clients who were guilty as sin and helping them escape justice. Art had been John’s friend and business partner, but after a falling out, was forced to kill another man in order to survive a trap. He was then forced to help Jigsaw set up another game, only to later be shot by cop Daniel Rigg. Morgan was a related survivor, the wife of an abusive husband and father that Art had gotten off. She had to kill her husband to live and to set herself free in more ways than one.
Brit Stevenson (Saw 5)
Brit Stevenson (Julie Benz) was one of the main test subjects in Saw 5, a corrupt corporate executive who hired an arsonist to burn down an apartment building so that she could buy the property it sat on, not realizing people were inside at the time. None of the victims in Saw 5 were without sin, but Brit and Mallick Scott, the arsonist, managed to survive multiple traps on their way to victory and rescue by the FBI.
Tara & Brent Abbott (Saw 6)
Tara and Brent Abbott were a quite innocent mother and son who got roped into Jigsaw’s Saw 6 game, which revolved around heartless insurance executive William Easton. Easton denied their husband/father live-saving care, and after Easton survived his own tests, his fate was left up to them. Tara couldn’t bring herself to kill Easton, but Brent did it, instead, in a rage over his father’s death.
William Easton, His Sister Pamela & His Employees (Saw 6)
The corrupt exec William Easton (Peter Outerbridge) survived his own tests, although not without having to make agonizing decisions along the way, including which of his also mostly corrupt employees he would save. Easton’s company had also denied John Kramer potentially life-saving treatment, thus his posthumous vendetta. William opted to save his secretary, Addy, as well as other subordinates, Shelby and Emily. He was also able to save his sister Pamela by completing his game, but couldn’t survive the vengeful Abbots.
Bobby Dagen & Joan (Saw 7)
Bobby Dagen (Sean Patrick Flanery) became a successful self-help guru on the back of surviving a Jigsaw trap and then writing a book about it, or at least that’s his claim. None of it is true, leading him to become the main test subject of Saw 7. Bobby has to watch his wife get roasted alive in a giant oven, although he does manage to escape with his own life. Joan is a very brief character in the franchise, a Jigsaw survivor whose story Bobby uses as inspiration for his lies.
Bobby Dagen’s Survivors Group (Multiple Films)
In Saw 7, Bobby Dagen chaired a support group of Jigsaw survivors, although unlike him, their stories were real. Mallick Scott survived alongside Brit Stevenson in Saw 5, losing most of his blood in the process. Simone chopped off her own arm to survive a “pound of flesh” trap in Saw 6. Brad and Ryan had to choose between killing each other, or the girlfriend who had been cheating on them both, and they chose her. Sidney had to send her abusive boyfriend into lawnmower blades. Addy and Emily from Easton’s company, were also group members, as were Dr. Lawrence Gordon, and Tara Abbott.
Logan Nelson (Jigsaw)
Logan Nelson (Matt Passmore) was an Army veteran and battlefield medic who was tested after his return to civilian life saw him mess up an X-ray and accidentally delay the diagnosis of John’s cancer. Logan’s trap went wrong, though, and since it was John’s fault, he took pity on Logan and freed him. Grateful, Logan became an apprentice and conducted the games seen in 2017’s Jigsaw.
Detective Zeke Banks (Spiral)
Spiral: From the Book of Saw recently continued Jigsaw’s legacy, albeit with a new killer and 100 percent less John Kramer. The only test survivor in Spiral is lead protagonist Zeke Banks (Chris Rock), seemingly the one honest cop in a corrupt department full of liars and killers. Granted, he clearly wasn’t intended to die, as new killer William Schenk wanted them to join forces and clean up the city. Zeke is able to free himself from a handcuff trap similar to the one in the first Saw movie and ends up getting cut up by glass trying to save his old corrupt partner. Zeke lives, but his former police chief father isn’t so lucky.
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