Saw Movie Timeline: Get Ready For Spiral With A Full Story Recap

The general rule of horror franchises is that, as the series continues, the plots get simpler and more repetitive, until the inevitable reboot which resets everything. Not so with the Saw series. What started in 2004 as a clever, gripping, but relatively modest thriller has, over the course of eight films, become a preposterously complicated narrative, with flashbacks, parallel subplots, recurring characters, twists, turns, and head-spinning callbacks. Spiral: From the Book of Saw is the ninth movie in the series, and it hits theaters this week. But it's been four years since the last movie, 2017's Jigsaw, which itself was preceded by a seven year gap since Saw 3D. So fans could be forgiven for not really remembering what the hell has happened so far.

The only true way to make sense of what's going on is to sit through all of the previous movies--and handily, the first seven can be found on HBO Max, while Jigsaw is currently streaming on Peacock. But for those that don't have time, here's a recap of the essential elements of the story so far.

The main problem of attempting to chronicle the plot of the entire series is that so much happens out of sequence. Every movie contains flashbacks to scenes at different points in the timeline, with a variety of important events occurring before the first movie. So let's go from the very start.

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