Saw is an American horror franchise distributed by Lionsgate, produced by Twisted Pictures and created by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, that consists of eight feature films and additional media. In 2003, Wan and Whannell made a short film to help pitch as a potential feature film. This was successfully done in 2004 with the release of the first installment at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was released theatrically that October. The sequels were directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, David Hackl, and Kevin Greutert, and were written by Wan, Whannell, Bousman, Patrick Melton, and Marcus Dunstan, and were released subsequently every October, on the Friday before Halloween, between 2004 and 2010. Both of the creators remained with the franchise as executive producers. On July 22, 2010, producer Mark Burg confirmed that the seventh film, Saw 3D, is the final installment of the series. Lionsgate reportedly expressed interest in continuing the franchise in 2012 with a reboot. In November 2013, it was reported that they were in active development of a sequel. An eighth film, Jigsaw, was released in October 2017. In May, 2019, a ninth film was announced, with comedian and actor Chris Rock attached to produce and co-write.
The franchise revolves around John Kramer, also called the "Jigsaw Killer" or simply "Jigsaw". He was introduced briefly in Saw and developed in more detail in Saw II. Rather than killing his victims outright, Jigsaw traps them in situations that he calls "tests" or "games" to test their will to live through physical or psychological torture and believes if they survive, they will be rehabilitated. Despite the fact that John was murdered in Saw III, the films continue to focus on the posthumous influence of the Jigsaw Killer and his apprentices by exploring his character via flashbacks.
The franchise grossed more than $1 billion from box office and retail sales by 2009, and the films have collectively grossed over $976 million at the worldwide box office as of 2018. The film series as a whole has received mostly mixed to negative reviews by critics, but has been a financial success at the box office and is one of the highest-grossing horror film franchises of all time. While the films are classified as torture porn by critics, the creators of Saw disagree with the term.