|“||They're nail bombs. Homemade, probably C4.||”|
— Ashley identifies the bombs[src]
Design and Function
The homemade nail bombs crafted by John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer, and his apprentices, Amanda Young and Detective Mark Hoffman, consisted of ordinary glass jars which were filled with nails. The actual explosive charge, made of C4, was attached to the jar's lid. Every bomb was connected to a timer. In a few cases this timer was directly attached to the jar as well. Most of the time however, the timer was positioned somewhere else in the room and was connected to the bomb with a cable. (Saw III, V)
One nail bomb was used in the game of Troy, a young drug addict who had been sent to prison multiple times throughout his life and was therefore targeted by John. However, John was severely weakened and bedridden due to an inoperable brain tumor and therefore ordered Amanda Young to set up the game to test Troy's will to survive. After abducting him, Amanda took Troy to a classroom at the school. She took most of his clothes off of him and sat him on a chair in the middle of the room. Then, she attached eleven chains to him by piercing the metal chain rings through several parts of his body. Ten of the chains pierced his hands, shoulders, Achilles tendons, arms and external obliques while the ring of the last chain was pierced through his lower jaw. Afterwards, Amanda cut a jigsaw piece from his skin and placed a TV and a nail bomb on a table right in front of him, before she left the room. However, as she started to doubt her and John's work, she decided not to give Troy any chance to survive and welded the door of the room shut.
Shortly afterwards, Troy woke up. Immediately frightened by the situation he was in, he jumped to his feet and started to scream in fear and agony when he saw the chains attached to him. Moments later, the TV in front of him suddenly turned on. On the screen appeared a frightening, mechanical ventriloquist puppet. The puppet greeted him and informed him about the situation. As he had been chosen for this test due to his repeated prison sentences, he should now get the chance to "break his chains" once and for all in order to survive and finally learn from his mistakes. When the TV turned off again, Troy noticed the nail bomb and immediately began to panic again. However, as he desperately wanted to survive, he eventually started to rip the chains out of his body. Despite his initial hesitation and the immense amount of pain, Troy managed to free himself from all the chains except for the one attached to his lower jaw. With only a few seconds left, Troy desperately tried to remove it but was eventually killed and ripped up by the explosion of the bomb. When the Metropolitan Police Department arrived shortly afterwards, the crime scene was found by a SWAT team led by Officer Daniel Rigg and the remains of the bomb were secured by Detective Hoffman. (Saw III)
Following John and Amanda's death, Mark Hoffman became John's successor and continued his work. At the day of his death, John had told him to set up another game for five new test subjects, Ashley Kazon, Charles Salomon, Luba Gibbs, Mallick Scott and Brit Stevenson, who were all in some way involved in a case of arson in which eight people were killed. After subduing them, Hoffman took all of them to an underground catacomb area at 1293 Sandburst Drive. He placed all of them in the first room of the area and put a leather collar around the neck of each one of them before leaving. The first one to wake up in the trap shortly afterwards was Ashley. Despite being initially confused, she quickly realized the dangerousness of her situation when she saw a giant blade behind her. Seconds later, Luba woke up in the same situation. When Ashley told her not to move, Luba initially thought that it was her who had put her in this situation, which Ashley denied. The third prisoner, Mallick, immediately panicked and was convinced that Jigsaw had done this to them, stating that he had expected something like this to happen to him. However, Brit tried to calm him down and reminded him that Jigsaw was dead according to the news. Luba then pointed to a security camera filming them, stating that someone was watching them. Despite her initial doubts about their captivity being related to Jigsaw, Brit changed her opinion when she realized that they were observed to make sure that they were following the rules. Due to this, Mallick further panicked and desperately tried to remove his collar. He stopped however when the last prisoner, Charles, warned him that his head would "pop off like a dandelion" and pointed to the blades behind them as well as a timer on the wall, suspecting that it would start ticking down once the metal pin was pulled out, which was attached to a cable running through all of their collars. They were suddenly interrupted when a TV turned on in front of them. A mechanical ventriloquist puppet appeared on screen and introduced them to their game, telling them they had been chosen for using privileges given to them at birth in order to further themselves on the expense of others. Furthermore, the puppet told them that the cable running through their collars, which connected all of them, could be pulled so tight that they'd be decapitated on the mounted razors behind them. The only way to free themselves was by obtaining the keys from five glass boxes standing on pedestals before them. However, if one of them moved to get the key, the timer would be activated and decapitate everyone of them who wasn't able to remove the collar within 60 seconds. Finally, the puppet warned them not to follow their "life-long instincts" in this situation.
When the tape ended and the TV turned off, a frightened Mallick concluded that one of them had to die. Luba however denied this, reminding him that they shouldn't follow their instincts and suggested that they shouldn't go after the keys, suspecting that their abductor was merely testing their endurance. Ashley and Mallick however immediately opposed this idea. Charles then noticed that there was a second timer, which was connected to two glass jars filled with nails. Initially, Brit doubted that the jars were of any relevance as the puppet didn't mention them. Ashley however immediately recognized them as homemade nail bombs. When Mallick asked her how she knew this, Charles answered that she was a fire inspector. Therefore, Ashley asked him how he knew her. Charles however refused to answer, even when Mallick started to yell at him and angrily demanded an answer. Once again, Brit calmed him down, saying that they should figure out their situation. Luba then tried to work out the connection between them and asked Brit what she had done to get in this situation. Brit however merely told her to tell her story first. Not wanting to talk about it, Luba changed the topic and talked about the puppet's mention of their advantages from birth and asked them if they were all for many. However, this only applied to her, Brit and Mallick, and not Ashley and Charles. Therefore, Mallick sarcastically mocked her, but Ashley intervened, stating that their advantages from birth don't necessarily have to be financial. Therefore, Mallick talked to Charles and confronted him with his knowledge of Ashley, thereby asking him if he knew anything about him and the others as well. When Charles didn't answer, Mallick got angry again, which caused an argument between them during which Charles called him a "tweaker", showing that he knew that Mallick was in fact a drug addict. He then grabbed Mallick's right arm, which was covered with burn scars, telling him that it was obvious how he "fucked up his charmed existence." When he asked him if he played with matches, Mallick angrily yelled at him and started to run for the key, despite Luba's protests. Charles however pulled on the cable, causing Mallick to topple and thereby starting the timer.
Charles slowly made his way forward, forcing Mallick to crawl back as the cable running through their collars strangulated the other prisoners. Eventually, Charles managed to get the key from the first box. Afterwards, Brit tried to get to her key but was pulled back when Luba leaped forward. However, when she finally got her own key as well, Brit embraced her opportunity once more and moved forward. This way, she also successfully obtained her key. Finally, Mallick and Ashley fought for the next key and both tried to get to the boxes as soon as possible. However, when Mallick reached the box in front of him and smashed the glass, the key accidentally fell to the floor. In order to get it, Mallick leaped over the pedestal. Therefore, Ashley was pulled back again and was swept from her feet. Finally, Mallick got the key. When she realized that the time was running out, Ashley desperately started to scream. Moments later, when the timer hit zero, all of her fellow prisoners successfully removed their collars while she was pulled back by the cable and was therefore decapitated by the blade behind her. Following Ashley's death, her fellow prisoners were initially shocked, but eventually moved on to the next room when Charles reminded them of the bombs as the second timer was still ticking. Mallick however still sat one the ground and stared at Ashley's corpse. Meanwhile, Brit collected all the five keys. When she smashed the last glass box with Ashley's key, Mallick finally awoke form his rigidity and asked her what she was doing, to which she merely responded that she was "being smart". (Saw V)
When Mallick, who was the last one who entered the second room, was about to close the door behind him, Charles stopped him from doing so. Brit then pointed to the next timer, which was again connected to nail bombs, stating that closing the door would start the timer. Luba then reminded them that they had to find out who everyone of them was, hoping that this way they might discover the connection between them. When Brit stated that Ashley was working for the fire department, Charles corrected her by saying that she was discharged one month earlier. Therefore, Mallick angrily yelled at him and suspected him as the one behind their abduction due to his knowledge about them. When he threatened to close the door, Charles angrily approached him but was held back by Brit who tried to keep the situation calm. Afterwards, she asked Luba about her story. Luba responded that she was working for the Department of City Planning and neither had a husband nor children. When she told Brit to tell her story, Charles intervened and asked her if there was something about her father that she wanted to tell them. Surprised by this, Luba finally admitted that she was the daughter of Richard Gibbs, the owner of a sports team called "The Cougars." Charles then stated that Gibbs wanted to build a new stadium for years and suspected that Luba's work as a city planner was his best opportunity for reaching his goal. Afterwards, Mallick asked Brit what she had done to end up in this situation, to which she responded that she was the senior vice president of a real estate development company. Luba realized that Brit was talking about the Marshford Group and thereby concluded that they had a connection as Brit's company needed a permission from the Department of City Planning for every one of their buildings. Then, she asked Mallick about his past. Mallick stated that she had no wife, no children that he knew of and no job. Therefore, Charles sarcastically mocked and angered him by calling him a "trust-fund baby." Finally, Brit asked Charles about his past. When he told them that he worked as an investigative journalist for The Herald, Mallick mocked him for working for a "gossip rag", until Charles told him to bite his tongue. Afterwards, he and Brit noticed 16 glass jars, which were suspended from the ceiling. However, as they were filled with glass shards, they couldn't see what else was in the jars. Moments later, Charles finally closed the door to the first room, only seconds before the bombs detonated.
Seconds later, the lights turned off and a TV in front of them turned on. When Jigsaw's puppet appeared on the screen, it introduced them to their new situation. There were four cylindrical chambers, which would provide them safety from the bombs, in the walls of the room. To access them, they had to find the keys to the doors, which were inside the jars. However, only three of these keys could open the doors to the safety chambers. Therefore, the puppet asked them to make the choice who was going to be "the odd man out."
When the tape ended and the TV turned off again, the lights turned back on and a 60-seconds-timer started to tick down. While the other prisoners panicked, Mallick grabbed one of two metal rods and smashed the first glass. Brit however remarked that the cylindrical key was blank when she noticed that the keys to the locks must have differently shaped attachments. As Mallick was about to smash the next jar, Charles suddenly grabbed the second rod and brutally beat him up as he deemed Mallick to be worthless for the rest of the group. Luba tried to stop him. However, he angrily pushed her away, yelling at her that only the fittest would survive. Afterwards, he quickly started to smash the glasses one by one. Thereby, Brit and Luba managed to get their hands on two of the needed keys and were thereby successfully able to open their chambers. When Charles was done with his work, the last key with a shape on it landed in front of Mallick. As he tried to grab it, Charles dropped his metal rod, stepped on his arm and picked up the key while sarcastically wishing him better luck next time. Unnoticed by him, Luba hadn't accessed her chamber yet but had instead grabbed one of the rods and sandbagged him from behind, angrily yelling at him before finally going to her chamber. Therefore, Mallick grabbed the key and went into the third chamber. With only a few seconds left, Charles slowly stood up again, but was finally ripped up by the bombs around him.
After the detonation, the other prisoners left their chambers. Upon seeing his humiliated remains, Brit remarked that he was an asshole but smart, stating that they could've still used him. Therefore, Luba reminded her that someone had to die and asked if she'd rather have taken Charles' place, to which Brit gave no response. Luba then grabbed the metal rod lying next to the ripped up corpse before she and the other remaining survivors went on to the next room. (Saw V)
When Mallick entered the room, he was frightened when he saw a bathtub in the middle of the room which was surrounded by five current coils with cords attached to them. Additionally, there was another 15-minutes-timer above the next door. Upon entering, Luba immediately spotted the next bombs. Moments later, Brit asked Mallick for the reason why he was in this situation. Mallick admitted that he had done something which had resulted in the death of several people, even though he claimed that he didn't mean it. Luba then asked him why he wasn't in prison, to which he responded that nobody knew about his crime. Brit however pointed to the camera, stating that someone did now, before she suspiciously glared at Luba. Therefore, Luba finally told about her work, thereby indirectly admitting that she took bribes in exchange for granting building permits. When Mallick berated her for this, she answered that Brit certainly was not a good person either. Brit affirmed this, stating that during her work she often had to tear down older buildings in order to build new ones, thereby causing many people to lose their living spaces. Therefore, Mallick stated that all of them deserved to be in this situation. When Brit asked him if there was any other possible connection between them which he could think of, he denied this and told her to finally close the door so they could get their next instructions.
Seconds after Brit closed the door, the next TV turned on. The puppet on screen greeted them to their third test, explaining that this game was designed to "bridge the gap" between all of them. There were five locks on the next door out of the room. Each of them was connected to a electrical circuit which had to be closed in order to open the door. To achieve this goal, the five cords attached to the current coils all had to be connected to the water in the bathtub. However, they only had three minutes to do so. If they didn't manage to close the circuits in time, an electrical current would surge through the room and lock the door permanently.
Again, the TV turned off and the timer started ticking down. Mallick immediately grabbed one of the cords and tried to connect it to the bathtub. However, he quickly realized that it was way to short and angrily yelled at the others that they think of a new plan. Luba then told him that he should get in the bathtub, so they could connect the five cords to his body. Realizing that this would inevitably kill him, Mallick hesitated. When Luba repeated her order, he sarcastically stated that he was "more of a shower guy." This angered Luba, causing her to furiously yell at him to get in the tub. Mallick insulted her, telling her to get in it herself. Luba then attacked him with the metal rod she had taken from Charles' corpse earlier. Even though she barely missed Mallick, the latter fell in the tub. When he begged her for mercy, Luba, close to tears, hesitated. Unnoticed by her, Brit grabbed one of the cords with a sharp, pointed attachment and approached her. When Luba was about to kill Mallick, Brit suddenly stabbed her neck with the cable. Shocked and paralyzed, Luba looked at Brit and dropped the rod. However, before she could do anything, she finally collapsed and died on the floor. Following Luba's death, Mallick was horrified. Brit however merely stated that she didn't trust her. When Mallick asked what had happened between them, Brit refused to response and told him to help her with the body. Together, they put Luba's corpse in the bathtub.
Just as Mallick was about to connect the first cord to her, Brit stopped him and told him not to touch her body as he would receive an electric shock himself. Then, they connected the first four cords to Luba's body, causing her to twitch and convulse. When Mallick grabbed the last cord, he war horrified when he saw that the attachment was actually a big hook. Upon his hesitation, Brit yelled at him to ram the hook into her head, which he finally did. Therefore, the last lock on the door was opened, enabling both of them to flee to the next room. (Saw V)
In the center of the next room was a cage table. On top of it stood a large metal box with five holes on both sides. When Mallick looked through one of them, he saw that there were circular saw blades inside. Meanwhile, Brit examined the cage underneath the box and spotted a beaker which was somehow connected to the next door, concluding that it would open once the beaker was filled. When Mallick asked her what they had to use to fill it, she realized that they had to insert their own hands in the holes with the saw blades in order to fill the beaker with blood. Mallick suggested to use the water from the bathtub. Brit however immediately denied this as there were locks resembling metal cuffs inside each hole. They had to put their arms in to keep them open but would get stuck thereby. Realizing they had no other choice but to fill the beaker with blood, Mallick nervously asked her if they should fight to the death and whoever won would use the other person's blood to get free. Brit refused to respond and went to the last door to close it. Mallick however stopped her and asked her if she still had the keys from the first room, which she affirmed. Therefore, he told her to try them on the next door. Even though she was convinced that they wouldn't fit, she tried it when Mallick encouraged her, pointing that the door had a keyhole unlike the ones before which all had mechanic deadlocks. As expected, the keys didn't fit the lock. While she tried all of them one by one, Mallick began to wonder why there were five holes in the blade machine, thinking that one should be enough. Seconds later, Brit was shocked when she realized that all five keys were exactly the same.
Therefore, they returned to the room with the bathtub, even though Mallick was worried about the bombs as the timer was still ticking. At this moment, Brit finally realized that they were all supposed to survive by working together. In the first room, one key would have been enough as every key fit every collar. In the second room, each safety chamber was big enough for more than one person. Finally, in the third room everyone of them would have had to hold one of the cords and thereby suffer only a small electric shock. Thereby, Mallick ultimately understood the true meaning of Jigsaw's message, who had told them not to follow their life-long instincts. However, as they had no other choice, Brit grabbed his arm and dragged him back to the last room. Moments after she closed the door behind her, the bombs in the bathtub room exploded. After that, another TV turned on in front of them. The puppet, which introduced them to their fourth and final test, confirmed their assumption that they had to fill the beaker with their own blood. It told them that they had to sacrifice exactly ten pints of blood, the approximate blood volume in the human body, stating that they could still survive with just half of their blood. They had 15 minutes to accomplish their task. Otherwise, the last door would be sealed and they would be killed by the bombs.
When the TV turned off, Mallick cringed when the blades in the machine were activated. Brit confronted him with the two options they had: one of them could sacrifice ten pints of blood and inevitably die in the process or they would take the risk of each one sacrificing five pints, giving them a slightly better chance to survive. Eventually, they decided for the last option and worked together. While they used the fabric of their clothes to constrict their arms, Mallick finally admitted that he had lied to Brit and the other prisoners and revealed that he knew Charles as he had wanted to write a story about him. When Brit asked him what he had done, Mallick told her that he was offered an ounce of heroin and therefore burned down the apartment building, resulting in the death of eight people who still lived there, unknown to him. He also told her that the FBI investigated the case and suspected him but gave up on the investigation when the drug dealer who hired him and was in fact the only witness suddenly disappeared due to a deal Mallick's father had made. Therefore, Brit finally realized that the fire was the connection between all of them. Ashley had faked the fire report when she worked on the case and labelled the fire as merely a tragic accident. Luba had taken bribes and therefore granted a building permit for the property.
Charles had held back the truth about the fire. Mallick was the one who was used as the scapegoat. However, it was Brit who had set everything in motion and stole the property. Realizing that she was the one who had hired the dealer, Mallick angrily yelled at her, shocked that she had sacrificed the lives of eight people just for money, and called her a monster, to which she responded that he was one as well. Therefore, he stated that they both deserved to be in this game before they finally approached the table. They struggled to bring themselves to put their arms in the blades. When Mallick started to panic and told her he needed her help, Brit tried to calm him down and encouraged him. Mallick then started to count down from three and finally, both of them shoved their arms into the saws. While screaming in agony, they watched through the glass panes on top of the machine how the blades cut their arms. As time went on, they became weaker and weaker due to the blood loss until Mallick nearly collapsed. Brit grabbed his hand, encouraging to hang on just a little longer. Shortly afterwards, the blades came to a standstill and the door was opened. (Saw V)
Use in other Media
Several nail bombs were used in Saw: The Video Game. While making his way through the abandoned Whitehurst Insane Asylum as part of his series of tests, Detective David Tapp was frequently trapped in rooms with nail bombs. In order to avoid being killed by the explosions, he had to find the necessary numbers for combination locks blocking the exit doors or he had to find fuses for electrically secured doors. In some rare cases, all he had to do was to move out of range.
Appearances and References
|Saw||Saw II||Saw III||Saw IV||Saw V||Saw VI||Saw 3D||Jigsaw||Spiral|
|Full Disclosure Report||The Scott Tibbs Documentary||Saw: The Video Game||Saw II: Flesh & Blood|