Saw X’s Charlie Clouser reveals if John Kramer is a serial killer

Gabriela Silva
Tobin Bell as John Kramer and Shawnee Smith as Amanda in Saw X

The infamous John Kramer (Tobin Bell) returned in Saw X with a more humane outlook to his story as he’s tricked in a con and enacts retribution, but composer Charlie Clouser gives his bloody two cents on whether John is really a serial killer.

It’s a question that likely leads to a few heated debates among horror fans: can John Kramer really be categorized as a serial killer? The franchise is unique as John is not the one who kills people with his own hands. Instead, he uses his mind to create intricate traps for his “victims,” all people who have committed wrongs in their lives.

The trick? They either play the game and have the will to survive or meet their gruesome death. While the police see him as a monstrous killer, Amanda and Hoffman see him in a different light.

In a Dexerto exclusive, we spoke with composer Charlie Clouser about Saw X and asked the question – does John fit into the serial killer category?

Charlie Clouser has his thoughts on John Kramer in Saw X and the franchise

Just as Tobin Bell and the directors have been with Saw from the start, Charlie Clouser has seen it all as well, and how he sees John Kramer as a vengeful, evil genius.

“I would have to say no,” said Clouser. “Technically, in theory, all of the victims have a way out. Do this if you want to live, that kind of thing. Technically, they are the ones who are failing to perform the tasks required to live. That’s why I often describe him as our vengeful, evil genius, as opposed to strictly a serial killer, because he’s not just marauding across the land, scooping up hapless victims, innocent victims, and he’s putting people to the test for their sins. And I think that’s it’s a very fine distinction.”

“I don’t think the police and the detectives that are chasing him would make that distinction. But I think that’s that fine line that is drawn around his character and is part of what makes the franchise so interesting and successful,” the Saw X composer explained.

Fans of the franchise have often seen how John is never angered or spiteful. He even becomes a sort of father figure to Amanda. In Saw X, fans got to see a much more emotional tie between them, knowing full well that John is set to die. Amid his journey to death, he seeks to help “lost” souls re-evaluate life.

Clouser further explained that the Saw franchise is able to continue the storyline exploring the “fine line between him just being a rampaging murderer, and being the judge or the person who imposes the sentence, but he’s not the one actually pulling the switch.”

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About The Author

Gabriela is a Senior TV and Movies Writer for Dexerto covering Netflix, Disney+, K-Dramas and everything in between. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Fordham, and was previously a TV Writer for Showbiz Cheatsheet and List Witer for Screenrant. You can contact Gabriela at