How To Survive Saw

A step-by-step guide to avoiding Jigsaw's wrath

Don't disrespect your wife

No matter how sexy your intern/secretary/whatever is, just don't do it, OK? It was a mere hint of that type of behaviour that got Dr Gordon (Cary Elwes) into such a sticky situation in the first installment of the unrelenting horror franchise.

How Easy Is It To Achieve? Quite tough, as there wasn't even any stone cold evidence that discreet Gordon actually sealed the deal with a young medical student, but the compromising photos were enough to have the doc's ankle chained to the radiator in Jigsaw's grubby bathroom.

So it's probably best if you're never snapped alone in a room with any young, potential affair fodder, just to be safe.

If You Have To: Make sure you get some decent blackout blinds installed in your love nest.

Don't harm yourself

Quite a broad warning, this one. Basically, don't do drugs, self-harm or participate in any other self-deprecatory conduct that could be construed as underestimating the value of your own life, as this is one of Jigsaw's biggest bugbears.

It was the motive behind his decision to put Amanda Young into one of his early traps.

How Easy Is It To Achieve? For the right-minded out there, this rule shouldn't be too tough to stick to, though John Kramer/Jigsaw's terminal brain cancer makes him a pretty harsh judge of what he deems to be 'a waste.' So it's probably best to steer clear of booze and ciggies, too. And junk food. And any form of extreme sports.

If You Have To: Make sure you do as Amanda did and prove your worth by escaping your allotted trap. A few moments of excruciating agony are probably a small price to pay for your life, and a shot at an assistant position at Jigsaw's side…

Do seek the assistance of Danny Glover

Considering the convoluted, twisty-turny, time-jumping nature of the overarching Saw narrative, it's a shame that Danny Glover never returned as obsessive cop David Tapp.

His instincts may be slightly off target (he initially suspects Dr Gordon of the 'Jigsaw Murders'), but his investigations still turned out useful, as he ended up saving Gordon's hostaged wife and kid from a sticky situation.

How Easy Is It To Achieve? Well, Glover only appeared in the first movie (Tapp made an appearance in a spin-off videogame), so most of the time he's not actually around to offer his help.

If You Really Can't: Then make use of one of the other 'dogged' officers of the law that pop up throughout the series, including Rigg (Lyriq Bent), Perez (Athena Karkanis) and Strahm (Scott Patterson).

Do keep a close eye on your belongings

Jigsaw is a master of fudging evidence to ensure that the grand design of his plan unfurls swimmingly. The reason Danny Glover was watching the doctor so closely was because a penlight of Gordon's had been planted at a crime scene. A schoolboy error.

How Easy Is It To Achieve? Not very. It's hard for anyone, especially a busy surgeon, to keep an eye on every pen or pencil they touch. And Jigsaw (or one of his cronies) is bound to be lurking nearby at the pivotal moment you sent down your writing apparatus.

If You Really Can't: Just do what a practising doctor should really being doing at all times anyway and pull on a pair of latex CSI gloves, to ensure you don't misplace any finger prints that could be used against you.

Don't give chase

If you think you've got Jigsaw in your sights, for goodness sake don't chase him. If Steven Sing's (Ken Leung) irrational, do-gooding actions taught us anything in the first movie, it's that Jigsaw always has a plan.

When Sing and Tapp stumble on the notorious torturer's hideout, the former tries to apprehend the villain, only to set off a trip wire that causes a set of shotguns to blast his brains out.

How Easy Is It To Achieve? It should be relatively simple, just let your inner wimp take charge if you get into any precarious looking situations.

If You Really Have To: If you must be a hero, please do watch your step.

Don't disobey direct orders

One of the most unnecessary deaths in the series must surely be Gus' (Tony Nappo) totally-avoidable bullet in the eye number in Saw II . Gus is one of a number of victims trapped inside a house that's slowly filling with a poisonous gas (imagine a slightly less frightful Big Brother house and you're pretty much there).

One of the first commands the group is given is not to use a particular key on the door to the room, so what does Xavier (Franky G) go and do…

How Easy Is It To Achieve? In theory, it's a pretty simple rule. Admittedly, the poison gas makes everything a bit more urgent, and Jigsaw can be a bit tricksy in his wordplay. But don't go and disregard the bleedin' obvious.

If You Really Have To: Make sure you have an idiot like Gus on standby to peer through the peephole and take the bullet for you.

Do read the instructions carefully

One of Jigsaw's saving graces as a human being is that he generally gives his victims some sort of fighting chance, though the opportunity for survival is squandered needlessly by so many.

Obi (Tim Burd) gets a message from Jigsaw but fails to read between the lines; if he'd have analysed the subtext he would've known how to switch off the furnace that burns him to death.

How Easy Is It To Achieve?
So-so. Just make sure you listen carefully to your tape, especially for any particular words that are stressed or over-emphasised.

If You Really Can't: Then you should probably start reading logic puzzle magazines for practice.

Don't... be a bad lieutenant

Or any kind of bad copper. Donnie Wahlberg's Eric Matthews was a key player in the first few sequels: in fact, he provided the inspiration for the whole game in Saw II . Jigsaw rounded up a group of people who had been the victims of Matthews' framing, and chucked in the dirty tec's son for good measure.

Matthews does his best to find the house and save the inhabitants, but in a typical Saw twist of fate it turned out he was the one being tested all along. He was then captured and later exited the franchise in grand style by having two blocks of ice smash his skull.

How Easy Is It To Achieve? Well it's probably a lot harder to do proper police work, collecting real evidence and all that, but it's worth it in the long run.

If You Really Have To: Then you should be a better bad copper like Mark Hoffman, who's so bad he gets to be a part of Jigsaw's team.

Don't be a police snitch

Sneaky grasses and bent coppers rile ol' Jiggy in equal measure. Michael Marks (Noam Jenkins) is the star of Saw II 's gory opening sequence.

Michael has made his money 'watching' others as an informant, so his ironic punishment is to be trapped in a headcrushing 'venus fly trap' helmet, with the only means of escape hidden behind his own eye (scalpel provided).

How Easy Is It To Achieve? Reasonably. Though you'd be put in a pretty awkward position if you were called upon to testify under oath in court.

If You Really Have To: Then you had better sleep with one eye open…

Do work on your bedside manner

By the time Saw III arrived, the man behind Jigsaw, John Kramer, was in extremely poor health, with his brain cancer leaving him bed-ridden and at the point of death. ER doctor Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) was kidnapped and tasked with keeping Kramer alive so that he could oversee the end of his latest game.

She does well, and, as is Kramer's desire, discovers a new found appreciation for life after her challenge. But, Jigsaw's apprentice Amanda is jealous of Lynn, and that explosive collar is set to blow as soon as Kramer flatlines…

How Easy Is It To Achieve? Not the easiest: as well as having the aptitude to take on years of medical training, you need good people skills and an ability to work under pressure.

If You Really Can't: You had best get a speech ready so that you can convince Kramer that despite failing your task, you still learned some valuable life lessons.

We recommend