If you’re a SAW fan like me, you’re already quite familiar with the franchise’s main theme. Sure, to the uninitiated viewer, it would seem creative deaths and so-called “torture porn” are the only things these films have to offer — but I’m sure no one can deny that SAW is probably one of the most consistent horror franchises ever; at least in terms of blood and guts, this franchise just gets gorier and bloodier as it goes.
But aside from all the blood and agonized screaming, these films also contain moral and life lessons — embedded within the very death-traps that the main villain, Jigsaw, employs on his victims. In his own words: “Those who don’t appreciate life… do not deserve life.”
It’s a harsh lesson, carried out by elaborate and incredibly sadistic means… but hey, no pain no gain, right?
Having watched the whole franchise since I was a kid, I know very well that each of the SAW films revolves around some variation of the aforementioned concept — and all the hellish traps, as theatrical as they may be, offer “teachable moments” (mandatory, of course) for those who don’t appreciate the gift life has given them. In Jigsaw’s deadly arena, the “players” will use these torture tools to either destroy themselves or take the lives of others.
Surprisingly enough, I’ve actually been following some of these lessons myself — though, I’ll admit, not quite to the degree depicted onscreen — and as you will see below, they have become an important part of who I am today.
So, with that said, what I’m about to share with you now are some genuine, practical life lessons you can actually learn by watching the SAW series. By the end of this article, perhaps you might appreciate these films a bit more… and maybe even acquire a new perspective on life. If not, at least you might share my excitement about the long-awaited sequel, SAW: LEGACY, coming to theaters this Halloween.
Either way, it’s time to play. Life or death? Make your choice…
LESSON 1: Look After Your Own Safety
Jigsaw’s motto about the value of life is clear — and that includes the value of your own skin (and everything beneath it). Sure, it seems like a no-brainer, but the next time you open your eyes, you might find yourself in one of these traps… and you’ll realize just how fragile we meat-bags really are.
The Razor-Wire Maze (SAW)
The Knife Chair (SAW IV)
The Razor Box (SAW II)
LESSON 2: Drugs Are Bad, M’kay?
Jigsaw really has zero tolerance for drug abusers… and after you see this, you probably wouldn’t want to mess around with a needle either.
The Needle Pit (SAW II)
LESSON 3: Learn to Let Go and Forgive
In SAW III and V, a new twist to the main theme involves letting go of personal grudges, and these two examples demonstrate what could happen to those who can’t shake their desire for revenge. Life is too short to hold a grudge, particularly when faced with these consequences…
The Rack (SAW III)
The Pendulum Trap (SAW V)
LESSON 4: Don’t Even Think About Raping
You don’t need a movie villain to tell you that rape is not okay… because as a civilized, sane human being, you should know it’s horrible. But in SAW IV, one character apparently doesn’t fit that mold — and learns the hard way that Jigsaw has a way of changing one’s perspective.
The Bedroom Trap (SAW IV)
LESSON 5: You Can’t Save Everyone
Patience is something many people lack these days — in small ways (standing in line), or large (fighting to make it to the top of the corporate pyramid). But what Jigsaw is trying to say here is this: Don’t be so consumed by upward mobility that you take the very people who love and care about you for granted… or else they may become literal casualties on your journey to success.
The Ice Trap (SAW IV)
LESSON 6: Teamwork Is Critical
The following trap demonstrates how most people would react in a real life-or-death situation, in which everyone reveals their true nature, taps into their survival instincts (if they have them), and fights for self-preservation. What Jigsaw is trying to do here, for once, is see if this group of people can actually ignore their survival instincts and learn (very quickly) to work as one. It all comes down to the final trap — with a gruesome result that will stick in your head for days.
The Blade Table (SAW V)
LESSON 7: Practice Good Workplace Ethics
This seems like a pretty basic rule, but alas, so many companies seem to find ways around it in the eternal quest to sneak some extra cash into executive pockets, while ruining everyone else’s life along the way. Some would call the following scenario “Karma”… but Jigsaw would call it “Justice.”
The Carousel (SAW VI)
LESSON 8: Don’t Be a Damn Racist
We just found the perfect trap for our love-to-hate/hate-to-love president, Donald Trump. If faced with this deadly dilemma, he would surely realize that, inside every one of us, we are basically the same color: RED.
The Car Trap (SAW: THE FINAL CHAPTER)
LESSON 9: Friends Before Flings
For the casual sexers out there, Jigsaw has the perfect solution for your relationship woes. When life and death are on the line, who do you choose — a friend who’s practically family, or a one-night stand whose name you’ve probably already forgotten? If you still can’t make up your mind on that one, hopefully this trap will enlighten you.
The Bizarre Love Triangle (SAW: THE FINAL CHAPTER)