|“||Tonight, a house of horrors was discovered at what used to be known as the Rowan Zoological Institute.||”|
— A news report about the massacre[src]
Layout and Structure
Before it was shut down for unknown reasons, the Rowan Zoological Institute was a large indoor zoo, which offered its visitors the opportunity to watch a number of various different kinds of animals. While most of the bigger animals were held in large enclosures surrounded by cages, there was also a section of the building with numerous aquaria and terraria for amphibians and aquatic creatures.
Besides the rooms available for visitors, there were also sections of the building which served as storage rooms for the animals' food as well as everything needed for the building's maintenance. Furthermore, there was a boiler room, which supplied the entire house with heat. All areas of the large building were observed from a central surveillance room. (Saw VI)
One day, the zoo was used for a deadly game by Detective Mark Hoffman, the successor of the later John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer. This game focused on William Easton, manager of the Umbrella Health insurance company, who had caused the death of numerous seriously sick people by denying the coverage of their treatment costs for spurious reasons, as well as his associates. After receiving the necessary instructions for the game from Jill Tuck, John Kramer's ex-wife, Hoffman abducted all of them and placed them in their respective traps all around the building. Additionally, he also abducted Pamela Jenkins, a sensational journalist and William's sister, as well as Tara and Brent Abbott, widow and son of Harold Abbott, one of William's clients who died when their coverage was denied. After all of them had been abducted, several events took place at the zoo at the same time. (Saw VI)
Upon waking up again, William immediately panicked when he found himself trapped in a large contraption, consisting of giant metal clamps aiming at his chest. Additionally, he wore a breathing mask on his face. Moments later, a TV turned on in front of him. William was shocked when he recognized the man appearing on the screen as John Kramer. John confronted him with his dubious business politics, which had ruined and ended the lives of numerous sick people, and introduced him to his game. William had four straps around each of his limbs, which would detonate if he wasn't able to complete four tests all around the zoo within 60 minutes. Furthermore, he told him that if he failed his task, he wouldn't see his family again. John then introduced him to his first test. At the same moment, a spotlight revealed Hank, the janitor of Umbrella Health, who was in the same situation as William and began to panic as well. The video tape informed him about Hank's history of health restrictions and his lacking efforts to change this situation. Once the game began, the clamps around their chests would close in every time they took a breath and eventually crush their upper bodies. The only way for one of them to survive was the death of the other one.
As the TV turned off and the game began, William told Hank to hold his breath and did the same on his own. However, due to Hank's yearslong attitude of smoking, he had to take a first breath after a few seconds already, causing the clamps to further approach his body. Moments later, William took a breath as well. As he took another one shortly afterwards, he surprisingly enabled Hank to gain the lead. However, Hank then took the next breath. Due to his panic and the increasing pain, he involuntarily wetted himself. As the clamps closed in further and further with each breath, the amount of time in which he could hold his breath decreased constantly. Unable to continue any longer, Hank eventually took his final breath, which caused the clamps to crush his chest, killing him in the process and causing William to avert his gaze in disgust as Hank's blood drenched his clothes.
Seconds later, the clamps around William's chest moved back and he was freed from the chains trapping his arms. He quickly removed his breathing mask and a leather restraint around his body. However, when he stepped away from the trap, he immediately collapsed due to an immense pain in his side. While lying on the floor, he pulled up his shirt and was shocked when he saw a large bleeding scar on his right side. Still slightly dazed by the pain, William eventually managed to brace himself up. At this moment, a light turned on next to him, revealing a key hanging from the ceiling. With this key, he was able to remove the first explosive strap from his left hand. However, he didn't have much time to take breath as the timer was ticking down. Therefore, he quickly climbed up a ladder to a catwalk where a red arrow had been painted at the wall and showed him the right direction. (Saw VI)
While making his way through the abandoned zoo, he ultimately noticed the words "The Party" written on his wrist, which was severely maltreated due to the tight strap. Thereby, he remembered a party sponsored by him for the Homeward Bound Clinic, a recovery clinic for drug addicts ran by Jill Tuck, during which he had met John Kramer for the first time. On this occasion, he had explained his business formula to him, which had caused the denial of several clients' coverage requests. As he went on, he eventually entered a long hallway with numerous empty aquaria and terraria. Thereby, he passed a large, dark aquarium. Before the glass pane, he noticed a panel with two handles, each one attached to a chain. When he passed them, he saw the words "TAKE THEM" on two monitors. William initially refused to do so and tried to went on. However, after a few seconds, he heard a beeping sound from the electronic strap around his right arm, which would explode if he ignored Jigsaw's rules. Therefore, he stood in front of the aquarium and reluctantly took the handles. Upon doing so, the chains were tightened and a spotlight was turned on a mechanical ventriloquist puppet, which was standing on a small platform behind the panel with a noose of barbed wire around its neck. One moment later, the platform folded away, causing the puppet to swing forward and hit the glass panel, giving a suggestion of what would happen next. Two spotlights turned on, showing Allen, William's file clerk, and Addy, his secretary, who stood on similar platforms with their hands strapped behind their backs and nooses of barbed wire around their necks. The puppet introduced William to his colleagues and confronted him with his business policies. According to those, Addy was less worthy to live as she had a family history of diabetes, while Allen was perfectly healthy but had no living relatives who would miss them. Finally, the puppet told him that he had to let one of them go in order to save the other one. Seconds later, the puppet was pulled up and out of sight by its noose.
William yelled at the puppet and assured his colleagues, who began to panic, that he wouldn't let any of them die. However, moments later the chains were pulled on further. Allen frantically begged his boss to help him. William tried to defend himself, claiming that this wasn't the way he decided about the fate of his clients. The game however went on and the chains were pulled on again. While the two of them begged William for help, the two monitors on the panel showed him photos of Addy with her family and pictures of Allen, who walked around all alone. As the chains were pulled tight, Allen and Addy were forced to walk towards the edge of their respective platform. William bursted out crying and apologized before he finally let go of the handle holding Allen, which immediately sprang back. Allens shackles were then opened. Realizing that William had sentenced him to death, Allen angrily yelled at him. Seconds later, his platform folded away, causing him to swing forward and hit the glass panel. As he was hung to death, his blood splashed against the pane, moments before he was pulled up and out of sight just like the puppet did before.
A few moments later, Addy was released from her shackles as well. She immediately took the gag from her mouth and in tears thanked William for her salvation. William then told her to be careful and to try to find a way out as he had to go on. He then left her behind and continued his way. A few steps later, he found the next key hanging from the ceiling and thereby unlocked and removed the explosive strap from his right arm. Then, he went on to continue his game. (Saw VI)
As he further progressed through the building, William reached an area connected to the zoo's boiler room. Thereby, he noticed the words "Final Decision" written on his right arm, which reminded him of the day where he denied John Kramer the coverage of the treatment costs for the experimental therapy in Norway. Eventually, he entered the actual boiler room and found himself on a catwalk. Seconds later, the door slammed shut behind him. Unable to open it again, William took a look around and quickly found a tape recorder hanging from the ceiling. Upon playing it, he was introduced to the third test of his game. Seconds later, he noticed Debbie, his companie's lawyer, who was chained to the wall on the lower level of the room and began to panic. The tape informed William that she had 90 seconds to free herself from a trap strapped to her chest, as otherwise, it would be activated and pierce her brain with a pointy metal rod. Furthermore, he was told that it was ultimately him who held the key to Debbie's survival and had to help her to get through the maze before her.
When the tape ended, Debbie was released from her chains and the timer on the trap began to count down. As soon as she was free, she removed the gag from her mouth and started to panic. She frantically yelled at William to get her out while desperately trying to open the door next to her. However, she finally stopped when William told her to move through the maze before her and eventually tried to find a way forward. As she did, she quickly came to a small passage that was blocked by pipes blowing out hot steam with great pressure. William yelled at her to go on, but when she tried to crawl through the steam, she quickly backed off due to the immense amount of heat. However, William noticed a lever with a sign attached to it which told him to "relieve her." When she pulled the lever, his arm was burned by hot steam coming from a pipe, while the steam in Debbie's way was turned off. As she tried to crawl forward, William backed off, causing the steam to turn back on again. Debbie yelled at him and told him to pull the lever again. When William did it, she tried once more to get through the passage. However, as the pain increased, William let go off the lever again, causing Debbie's legs to be severely burned by the steam. Nonetheless, she managed to get through the passage.
Encouraged by William, Debbie continued her way and climbed through the maze until she reached another small tunnel blocked by steam. She panicked even further, seeing no way out of this trap. William however saw that there was a ladder behind the tunnel and told Debbie to go on. He then grabbed a second lever and turned off the steam in the maze below him, while he himself was burned again. Debbie crawled through the next passage, but as before, she was to slow and didn't get through it before William had to let go off the lever due to the pain. Therefore, the steam burned Debbie's face and her neck.
As she finally made it through the passage, she reached the ladder and climbed it up to a room surrounded by a cage. William told her to hurry up and look for a key. Seconds later, a lamp turned on next to her, revealing photos of a scar on William's body as well as an x-ray. Realizing that the key was hidden inside William's body, he tried to calm her down and attempted to get it out. Debbie however grabbed an electric circular saw and opened the door. Moments later, she attacked William and barely missed him with the saw. As she further approached him and tried to kill him to get the key, the two of them engaged in a fight. While William initially managed to fight her off, Debbie eventually made one final attempt to kill him and raised the saw. At this moment however, the timer of her trap went off and the metal rod pierced her brain. While William watched in horror, Debbie staggered, fell over a handrail and ultimately hit the floor below her.
Eventually, William managed to calm down and went on. Upon opening the exit door out of the room, he found the next key hanging from the ceiling. Angered by Debbie's death, he grabbed it and used it to unlock one of the straps around his legs. Then, he opened the next door and continued his way. (Saw VI)
Upon going on, William eventually came across a door with a large, red spiral painted on it. As he approached it, he heard noises coming from the other side, which he recognized as the voice of Shelby, one of his subordinate associates. When he asked her about her situation, she told him that her colleagues, Aaron, Emily, Gena, Dave and Josh, were trapped with her as well and they were all strapped to some sort of a spinning carousel. However, she couldn't see anything as the room was pitch dark. After some hesitation, William finally opened the door and entered the room, causing the lights to turn on. Thereby, he was able to see his associates, who were all chained to a rotating playground carousel in the center of a large animal enclosure. As he approached them, they asked why they were there, he responded that this was some kind of game. Seconds later, a TV turned on in front of them and Jigsaw's ventriloquist puppet appeared on screen. The puppet introduced William to his test and explained him the rules of this game. A rigged shotgun was positioned in front of the carousel. The carousel would stop periodically, resulting in one of his associates sitting directly in front of the barrel of a shotgun. This victim would be killed after a few seconds if William didn't decide to save the person. In order to do so, he would have to simultaneously press two buttons in a small box before him. However, he could only save two of them while the other four would inevitably die. After William received his instructions, the TV turned off again.Seconds later, the carousel came to a standstill for the first time with Aaron sitting in front of the shotgun. He desperately tried to convince William to follow his business policy according to which Aaron was worth living as he was a young and healthy man. Due to William's hesitation, he panicked even further and yelled at him. William however still couldn't bring himself to press the buttons in the box before him which could have saved Aaron's life, leading to him being the first one to be killed by the shotgun. Eventually, the carousel was set in motion again. After a few seconds it stopped once more with Emily sitting in front of the shotgun. While the others yelled at William to save them, Emily reminded him of her two children, stating that they couldn't grow up with out her. Thereby, she finally convinced William to press the buttons, causing a metal spike to pierce his hand. The shotgun slowly went in an upright position and shot above Emily's head before it returned to its original position. Albeit she was still afraid, she thanked William for saving her. At the same moment, the carousel moved on. In an attempt to convince William to save her, Shelby claimed that her parents were sick and needed her. Thereby, she got in an argument with Dave who called her a liar and claimed to know that Shelby's parents weren't even talking to her anymore for a long time already. While the others continued to argue with William, Gena suddenly claimed that she was pregnant. Josh immediately yelled at William not to believe her, resulting in an argument between them. Eventually, Gena sat in front of the shotgun when the carousel stopped again. As William hesitated again, she further panicked and begged him to press the buttons until she was finally killed by the shotgun. While the others continued to argue with William, Gena suddenly claimed that she was pregnant. Josh immediately yelled at William not to believe her, resulting in an argument between them. Eventually, Gena sat in front of the shotgun when the carousel stopped again. As William hesitated again, she further panicked and begged him to press the buttons until she was finally killed by the shotgun. As the carousel moved on, Dave desperately tried to convince William to save him by telling him that his parents would pay as much as he wanted for him to save Dave. However, both Josh and Shelby yelled at William and claimed that Dave was a thief, stealing from the company for many years. When the carousel stopped and Dave sat in front of the shotgun, he began to cry and told William not to believe them. William however eventually decided to let him die, making Dave the third one to be killed by the shotgun. When the carousel continued to move, Josh badmouthed her, claiming that she was a liar and couldn't be trusted. Therefore, she told William that Josh only wanted to get William's job and would back stab him as soon as he got the opportunity to do so. At this moment, the carousel stopped once more with Shelby being the fifth one to sit in front of the shotgun. She desperately tried to convince William to save her, which he, after some hesitation, finally did. As he pressed the buttons, his hand was pierced again, while the shotgun was moved into an upright position again and shot above Shelby's head before it returned to its original position. Due to her salvation, Shelby bursted into tears and thanked William for saving her, while the carousel moved on for one last time. Realizing that he had no more chance to survive and his death was inevitable, Josh was shocked and angrily yelled at William for not saving him and insulted both him and his business policies. When the carousel finally came to its last standstill, Josh demanded William to look at him while he dies, which William mournfully did. Seconds later, Josh was ultimately killed by the shotgun, leading to him being the fourth and last victim to die in the trap.
When the game was over, Emily and Shelby bursted out crying and thanked William for saving the two of them. Afterwards, a lamp turned on next to William and showed him another red arrow on the wall, which showed him the right way. While following it, he took off his tie and used it to tape up his hand. A few moments later, he passed another door and ultimately found the key to his final strap hanging from the ceiling, which he immediately used to free himself. However, as the timer was still ticking down, his game wasn't over yet and he went on. (Saw VI)
At the same time as William's game began, Brent Abbott woke up inside a former animal enclosure. When he realized that he had been abducted, he immediately panicked and tried to shake awake his mother, who lay on the floor unconscious. Initially confused, she asked him where they were. Brent couldn't answer her question, but instead told her to take a look at a TV standing outside the enclosure. After managing to compose herself, she was shocked when she saw William and Hank trapped in the big vice-like crushing contraptions. In the end, William managed to survive and was therefore released from his trap, while Hank died when the giant vice crushed his chest.
After witnessing the gruesome events, Tara started to panic and desperately screamed for help. Meanwhile, Brent was distressed when he noticed a panel with a lever with the words "Live" written above and "Die" below it. Furthermore, there was a large tank with the formula "HF" written on it. Thereby, Brent realized that it contained hydrofluoric acid, which could dissolve human flesh in a matter of seconds, and saw that it was connected to a device, which in return seemed to be connected to some sprinklers above their heads. When Tara asked him what to do, he immediately wanted to set the lever to "Live", but Tara held him back when she saw a timer on a wall, concluding that the lever and the timer had something to do with each other. While thinking about a way out, Brent stated that he didn't know why they were even there. Tara however was sure that they had been chosen because of Harold's death and their connection with William Easton.
As the timer went on, Tara and Brent were able to observe the second part of William's game on the TV, which resulted in the death of Allen. While Tara saw the leaking acid dropping from the tank, she figured that they might be able to use the acid to dissolve the metal grid surrounding them. Brent however immediately reminded her that they had nothing to divert or transport the acid without harming themselves. Moments later, she suddenly noticed how Brent suspiciously looked at a big mirror on the wall outside the enclosure. When she asked him what he was looking at, he told her that someone was watching them from behind the glass. Realizing they were observed the entire time, Tara frantically yelled at the mirror and demanded to know why their abductor did this to them.
Meanwhile, Pamela Jenkins woke up in another enclosure nearby. She immediately started to cry and panicked, desperately screaming for help. Upon looking around in her cell, she saw some sort of acid dropping from the sprinklers above her and realized that they were connected to a large tank filled with hydrofluoric acid. Seconds later, she noticed a tape recorder placed on the same plate as the tank. Upon starting the tape, which was recorded by John Kramer before his death, she finally realized that she had been abducted by his successor because of sensationalizing the story about Jigsaw.
Soon after her initial shock, Pamela managed to calm down a bit and repeatedly listened to the tape again. However, it only filled her with rage, eventually causing her to angrily throw it away and thereby destroying it. After doing so, she noticed a sign with the words "See it work" written on it. Below it was a button connected to a TV placed outside her cage. With the button, she was able to switch between the surveillance cameras placed all around the zoo, enabling her to observe the progress of her brother, William. Upon switching further, Pamela stopped when the screen showed her an enclosure similar to hers, where Brent and Tara were trapped just like her.
After a while, Tara managed to calm down again as well. When she asked why someone would do this, Brent concluded that whoever abducted them did it to see which decision they'd made and immediately grabbed the lever. Tara however tried to convince him once again not to pull the lever as it was too risky for them to do it without knowing what it might cause. Brent initially hesitated, but ultimately let go off the lever, while screaming in anger. (Saw VI)
As the game came closer to its end, Jill Tuck went to the zoo as John had tasked her with testing Mark Hoffman and had therefore provided her with one of his deadly devices, a Reverse Beartrap. When she entered the surveillance room, she saw that the game was still going on. Through the big one-way mirrors in the room, she saw Pamela, Tara and Brent, imprisoned in their animal enclosures. As the game quickly approached its end, Jill anticipated that Hoffman would arrive soon. Therefore, she put her bag, containing the beartrap, in a locker and then placed a letter in front of Hoffman's surveillance monitors. This letter was actually a copy of a blackmailing letter previously written by Hoffman to Amanda Young, John Kramer's second apprentice, at the night of her and John's death. In the letter, Hoffman had forced her to kill Dr. Lynn Denlon, one of their test subjects, as otherwise, he'd tell John that Amanda was partly responsible for a robbery of Jill's recovery clinic, during which Jill had been accidently injured and thereby lost her and John's unborn child, Gideon Kramer. Amanda's murder of Lynn had eventually resulted in her and John's death at the hands of Jeff Denlon, Lynn's husband and another test subject. After placing the letter in the room, Jill went into hiding. (Saw III, VI)
Meanwhile, Brent became more and more nervous in his enclosure as there were only two minutes left on the timer. Therefore, he grabbed the lever once again and told his mother to go away from the sprinklers as far as possible. Tara reminded him that they didn't know what would happen if he pulled the lever, but Brent told her that they finally had to make a decision as they didn't have much time left. Therefore, Tara finally gave in and told her son to pull the lever. She also told him that she loved him, to which he responded that he loved her as well. Tara than went into a corner of the enclosure. Worried by what might happen next, Pamela, who observed the events, backed into the corner of her own enclosure and covered her head with her hands as she expected that the lever would activate the acid sprinklers in her cell. However, when Brent pulled the lever and nothing happened, Pamela calmed down again. Brent began to scream in anger and despair, before he sat down and started to cry. At this moment, Tara approached him and calmly stroked his head. After that, she set the lever back to its original position, stating that she finally knew what it was for.
At the same time, Hoffman returned to the zoo and entered his surveillance room. There, he was shocked when he saw his blackmailing letter for Amanda lying in front of the monitors. Moments after he sat down on his chair and read the letter, Jill Tuck suddenly entered the room and incapacitated him with an electric shock. While he was unconscious, she strapped him onto the chair and put the Reverse Beartrap on his head.
As the time quickly went on, William's nervousness and panic increased even further. In his panic, he followed the red arrows and eventually came across on with the word "Family" written next to it. Upon following it, he reached a long hallway and ran towards a door at the other end. When he finally passed it, with only one second left on the timer, the door slammed shut behind him. Thinking he had won, he yelled in triumph, when suddenly, two enclosures to his left and his right were opened. Thereby, he was shocked to see Brent and Tara Abbott in one of them. However, one moment later he noticed his sister, Pamela, who was trapped in the second enclosure. Upon seeing her, he immediately went to her cage and asked her if she was okay, which she affirmed. William angrily yelled that their abductor should let her go as he had followed his rules and finished his test. Meanwhile, Tara and Brent Abbott glared at him in hate and disgust. (Saw VI)
Moments later, the TV in their enclosure turned on, showing a video of John Kramer, who told Tara about the sacrifices William had made to save his sister but also reminded her that he had been responsible for the death of her husband. Therefore, it was now up to her to decide whether William should live or die. Shocked by this, William approached her cell and thereby stepped on a pressure plate on the ground, which activated the panel with the lever. William and Pamela desperately begged Tara for mercy and tried to convince her to forgive William, but due to her anger, Tara still wanted to kill him, claiming that it wasn't because of what William had done to her but because she didn't want him to do it to anyone else. However in the end, she couldn't bring herself to pull the lever. Therefore, Brent grabbed the lever and, despite the protests of his mother, pulled it down. Moments later, a large metal constructions with needles attached to it swang down from the ceiling and pressed William against the grid of the enclosure. Seconds later, the hydrofluoric acid was pumped through several tubes connected to the nail bed and was thereby injected in William's body. While William was slowly and painfully dissolved by the acid from the inside, Tara embraced her son, who began to cry when he realized what he had done. At the same time, Pamela watched in horror as her brother died in front of her eyes. (Saw VI)
Meanwhile, Hoffman had waken up again and was immediately frightened by the situation. Jill then approached him and showed him a photo of himself, revealing that John's final request for Jill was to test Hoffman. Before she finally activated the trap, they watched the final part of William's game through the one-way-mirrors and were disgusted when William was injected and dissolved by the hydrofluoric acid. When William died, the time for Hoffman's test had come as well. However as Jill was angered by the letter, she refused to give Hoffman any chance to survive and therefore had no key for him to escape the trap.
When the timer of the trap started to count down Jill eventually left the room with the words "Game Over". Hoffman immediately panicked and furiously smashed his left hand with the frontal part of the trap in order to free himself from his restraints. He then tried to open the trap with a screwdriver. When this attempt remained unsuccessful and only a few seconds were left, Hoffman pushed the trap's frontal part between two metal bars on the door window to prevent it from bursting open completely. Eventually he managed to pull his head out of the trap but was heavily injured in the process as the trap had torn his right cheek apart. (Saw VI)
As she had noticed his escape, Jill panicked and ran away. However, when she saw Hoffman's shadow at the end of a hallway, she quickly went into hiding behind a cloak hanger with a few overalls granting her cover. While she watched him from her hiding spot, Hoffman used a bunch of paper towels as an improvised bandage for his hand, which he had broked to free himself from the electric chair, and took another one to stop the bleed from his cheek. Afterwards, he picked up the Reverse Beartrap again and finally left the zoo once and for all. When she was alone and believed to be safe, Jill also left her hiding spot and left the zoo. (Saw 3D)
The zoo was found and raided by the Metropolitan Police Department shortly afterwards. As the police secured and searched the entire building, they freed the survivors and discovered the many corpses of Jigsaw's victims. All of them were sent to the morgue for their autopsies by Dr. Adam Heffner, while the various traps were taken to the evidence room. The events surrounding the massacre were later reported to the public by the news channels. (Saw VI, 3D)