Exclusive: Saw X director Kevin Greutert & production designer Anthony Stabley detail the origins of Jigsaw’s traps and their bigest influences.
Warning: SPOILERS lie ahead for Saw X!
- Jigsaw’s traps in Saw X draw inspiration from Mexico’s lore and mythology, as well as the directors’ own experiences as “lapsed Catholics.”
- The traps in Saw X are more low-scale and DIY compared to later sequels, reminiscent of the original Saw movie.
- Saw X introduces some unique traps, including one tied to John’s fight against cancer and a twist on the sacrifice dynamic from previous traps. The eye vacuum trap offers a glimpse into Jigsaw’s more elaborate designs.
With 10 movies under their belts, director Kevin Greutert and production designer Anthony Stabley reveal the details behind the origins of Jigsaw’s traps in Saw X. The latest installment in the horror franchise sees Tobin Bell’s John Kramer turn his bloody machinations loose on a group of con artists in Mexico City who scam him into believing they have cured his cancer. With the help of Shawnee Smith’s Amanda, John turns the table on the scammers for what becomes his most personal game yet.
Ahead of the movie’s release, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with Greutert and Stabley to discuss the development of Saw X. When asked about putting together Jigsaw’s traps for the new sequel, the director and production designer revealed they looked largely to the movie’s setting of Mexico as well as their own pasts as “lapsed Catholics” for inspiration in developing the machines, pulling from a “little bit of iconography” from the cultures. See what the duo explained below:
Anthony Stabley: Yeah, I think they come from a couple of different areas. First of all, we always want to make sure that the audience believes that John Kramer made these traps, because sometimes it can get a little out of hand; a little too much. Number two, we were in Mexico, so we pulled from some of that lore and that mythology. The other aspect is that we’re in the actual factory, so we wanted to make sure those traps were integrated, and it was believable. And the last aspect is that we have this medical theme, so each of these traps are designed for each of these characters. There was a purpose and a lot of thought put behind it. I think that was the approach.
Kevin Greutert: And we’re both lapsed Catholics.
Anthony Stabley: Yeah, there’s a little bit of iconography. We both went to Catholic school. You can look it up; you’ll see. The Spanish Inquisition was another part of it, too.
How Saw X’s Traps Compare To The Rest Of The Franchise
With the story set between the first two movies, Saw X found itself in an intriguing place in the franchise’s timeline, taking the events back to the early 2000s in which John was still early into his trap designing. As such, many of Jigsaw’s traps felt appropriately low-scale and DIY in comparison to some of the more elaborate designs to come from later sequels. Mateo’s even proved largely reminiscent of the infamous death mask featured in the first two sequels, forcing him to cut into a part of his body before a large mask closed around him and killed him.
Related: 10 Ways Saw X Connects To Previous Saw Movies
Similarly, Valentina’s felt like a throwback to the likes of Gordon’s trap in the original Saw as well as the opening trap from the sixth movie, forcing her to cut off her leg and suck out enough marrow to deactivate a wire saw. Despite some of the familiarity, the main group of players were presented with a few unique traps, including Gabriela being subjected to ionizing radiation, a personal touch tied to John’s fight against his cancer. Additionally, the bloodboarding machine seemingly intended for Cecilia twists a formula from prior traps by forcing one to sacrifice themselves while the other lives.
Arguably the most unique Saw X trap is also the one widely advertised with the eye vacuum trap seen in the movie’s opening, which John subjects a thieving hospital orderly to. Though it ultimately is revealed to be a vision as the orderly corrects his habits, it marks an interesting early look at the more elaborate traps Jigsaw would come to devise and pass down to his apprentices after his death. While the franchise’s future remains unclear, the latest installment has set a very high bar for the creativity in devising these machines.