Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Movies

Game Over

Jigsaw
'Jigsaw'

In 2004, the world was introduced to "Jigsaw," a serial killer who enjoys torturing via forcing people into situations where they must kill one another to survive — as he watches. His alleged motive is to make them better appreciate their lives, and indeed, they do have some lessons to learn. 

Saw
Saw

James Wan directed and co-wrote Saw, setting the action in a windowless industrial washroom. Two men revive from a stupor, find themselves chained, and learn from audiotapes why they're there. One is required to kill the other by a specified deadline. While they try to stage this death, their tormenter discovers it easily enough. As the movie unfolds, they learn how their lives have crossed in negative ways. The game grows more complex as more people enter and various clues to Jigsaw's identity and motive are revealed.

Saw II
Saw II

Not based on any killer in particular, no claim is made that these films are psychologically realistic, which is a good thing, because while psychopaths are clever and generally love their games, they don't tend to tie all their resources up in trying to teach others to live better lives. Such a moral code is generally of little interest to them. (Psychopaths do have moral codes, to be sure, but they're emotionally empty lists of rules.) In addition, Jigsaw has advanced cancer (thus, his motive), and would probably have little concern for such issues, not to mention strength to get all the items needed to rig up the games.   

Saw III
Saw III

In 2005, Saw II came out, also in October, and Saw III followed the same pattern in 2006. Darren Lynn Bousman directed it. Leigh Whannell, who co-wrote the original, also co-wrote this one with Bousman. More deadly games are in store for people trapped in a house in which sarin gas has been released. Those who fail to follow the rules learn the consequences.

The third film joins Wan, Whannell and Bousman together and features Jigsaw's protégé as the mastermind of more vicious games. The ending indicates that viewers can expect future entertainment along these lines.

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