BY SHANNON WILEY
Let’s just get it out there; I was a freak in middle school, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
Luckily, though, I’ve grown out of most my freaky-ways.
However, one thing stayed with me: my dire love for the Saw series. And as the tenth anniversary of the premiere of the first installation brings it back into select theaters (including the one at the Salisbury Mall), it has me reflecting on what made me fall in love with the series in the first place.
This series brought the Horror world to its knees, creating the torture-porn movie genre.
Never before, if not very few times before, had a movie completely focused on the gore nor completely devoted itself to depicting the suffering someone would commit themselves to given the right circumstances.
But it was not the blood that drew me in.
In fact a lot of the scenes truly repulse me to this day despite the amount of times I have watched the films, but it was instead the moral messages founded in the movies that drew me in.
Moral messages, you say? Let me explain.
John Kramer, the Jigsaw killer, is diagnosed in the first film with a brain tumor that will slowly kill him. His diagnosis, as described through the series has led him to appreciate life with more zest.
As his life slowly dwindles, Kramer becomes sickened by how easily others waste or throw away their lives. He sees people shooting up, denying their family love and not taking full advantage of opportunities ahead of them.
Kramer decides to take matters into his own hands, but instead of preaching about celebrating life and appreciating what you have as many do, and obviously fail to reach people with, he takes a different route. He forces people to choose between life and death.
Over and over again, Kramer, with the help of his minions, abducts people who he deems ungrateful and puts them into grotesque situations that make them work for their life.
Just in the first movie, a man who cut himself despite having a, Kramer determined, full and easy life was put into a room that was strung thickly with razor wire. Beyond this room was an open door to freedom, but this door would only be open for the next few hours before being sealed shut.
Kramer told him the he could either remain there and die, as he apparently wanted to do, or he could fight for his life via the same means he attempted suicide.
In that same movie, a man who denied his wife and child the time of day was put into a situation where he had to kill another person in order to fight for their lives.
Situations like these, and worse, are strewn throughout the series. Not once, though, did someone not choose their life and not once did someone work through his “games” without realizing that their life was wonderful and worth living.
As the movies go on, Kramer’s minions become more and more prominent and Kramer’s main purposes get thrown aside to some degree because of this, but the results always remain the same.
When people come face-to-face with death, they will choose their lives and come out, or attempt to come out, with a greater appreciation and love for it.
Does Kramer go a little nutty with his techniques? Sure.
Should he have maybe stuck with the self-help book scene? Probably.
But the psychological drive behind his games are fascinating and in some twisted way, kind of inspiring, and will keep me watching these movies and loving my life till the end of my natural days.