The public, claiming to be some kind of elitism, turns up its nose, looking at such a movie as “Saw” – they say, people who are brought up do not watch such muck, because it’s vulgar and disgusting. But in vain, because even such a gloomy and aggressive movie, where it is full of malice, meat and blood, is worthy of attention. The sight is terrible, but there is wisdom in the popular “Saw”, which has become “a total game-changer” with scenes traditional for the “please don’t kill me” genre. The maniac in this film is more than a madman. The victim is under the guns of the Other. As they say: “Hell is Others!”.
Horror, it would seem, is small, but not poor, because it is about freedom and choice. The first film, directed by now acclaimed director James Wan, has become a cult classic. But each subsequent film – and today there are as many as eight, one of which is in 3D – has become more intricate and violent than the previous one. The question remains: does anyone remember what actually happens in these pictures, or do we love to watch people suffer? The movie, however, is like cuts, deep, and unlike other lunatics, the villain in Saw is a tragic hero because he’s not exactly a killer. His extravagant traps reflect a painful life, like a thorny path that is important to overcome.
Strangers wake up in a dirty basement with a dead body in a pool of blood, in whose hands a revolver and a voice recorder. A similar plot, similar to Plato’s cave, is in every part of this multi-way. The victims of a zealot named Jigsaw, aka the gravely ill John Kramer, find themselves in a trap that becomes their grave unless they free themselves. The kidnapper throws them tips and saws that clearly hint – do not saw the chains, but the legs. In the world of Jigsaw, you die when you give up. He is an existentialist philosopher who, after almost playing the box, returned to the “cave” to free other prisoners. His man is a puppet, each action of which is determined and controlled by a force on the other side of good and evil, that is, a serial killer who dictates the rules of the game.
Prisoners of traps are sinners who must be punished because they do not value life, either their own or that of others. The hostages need to sacrifice themselves if they want to stay alive. The maniac’s intentions may be noble because he offers hope to the hopeless, but his methods are absurdly cruel. Although the villain is convinced that he does not kill anyone. A man who is alive on the outside but dead on the inside must earn his freedom by looking into the eyes of death. Be ready to confess in order to die and be reborn, that is, to overcome yourself.
The main conflict of the film: to be or not to be? The hostages – and therefore the audience – are asked: what will you do to save yourself? Would you sacrifice your own life to save someone else’s? To forgive sins or to execute, it is impossible to pardon? How much blood are you willing to spill? And the last question turned out to be the most important in this horror, where a serial killer tests the will of a person. A piece of the puzzle carved on a dead body symbolizes the desire for survival, which has become the missing piece in the life of a modern person, weak in spirit, deprived of independence, unable to abandon the former image, unaware of fear and despair, therefore decaying alive.
A maniac who challenges humanity believes that society is sick because there is no justice, order and rules, which means that one can only get out of ingeniously invented traps by suffering. A connoisseur of human vices studies the nature of a person experiencing spiritual and intellectual crises. It’s hard to watch, but it’s impossible to tear yourself away, because this is not Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers, but the villain from Fincher’s thriller Seven, who punishes those who succumb to mortal sins. Even once in the morgue, the radical wins, because his cause lives on: the “apostles” of the serial killer continue to kidnap and torture sinners.
Remember that rusty tool that looked like a trap, but in reverse? And a creepy doll with red eyes and spirals on her cheeks, who calls for a choice? Each time the game just starts, the dark detective turns into a bloody attraction that ends with a twist in the spirit of “Fight Club”. The case of a serial killer takes on an industrial scale, because the people demand fresh blood. True, the new parts of the big game look like extra, clumsily cut out puzzles, and pain machines are now made for brutal revenge, because there is no way out – the prisoners of torture porn are doomed to death. The critics have rightly noted that obsessive moral dilemmas are stamped out purely mechanically.
“Saw” teaches the viewer a lesson: appreciate life. Wild horrors reveal the weakness of a person who finds himself face to face with a world about which he knows nothing. In this sense, a killer with a god complex forces crooks, rapists, prostitutes, drug addicts, informers and scavengers to cleanse the soul of vices. The truth throws off the chains, and a person is not just freed, but reborn, gaining a new “I”. If we look closely, we will see that the film is even more about life than about death. “Saw” calls for self-knowledge in the face of death, because everything that does not kill makes you stronger, and you are your life and nothing more.
When the man behind the puppet mask on the tube TV screen talks about life and death, the idea that there is neither fate nor god is captured in his appeal. God is dead. The understanding of being is gone, which means that the person who indulges in denial decides whether to live or die. Man is the measure of all things. Individualism is put to the test by a maniac who predicts the train of thought of the victim, which is why there are no accidents in films. Until they are faced with the choice of “Live or die. Make your choice!”, it is impossible to say what you will do for the sake of life, and this is the main philosophy of the Saw, which fits into the worldview of such giants of thought as Nietzsche, Sartre and Kierkegaard.
The hostages of cunning traps do not know him, but he knows them and makes them confess their sins in order to gain the meaning of being. There is always a choice, and this is seen as a person’s freedom, so he is doomed to suffer. Or maybe the killer is the most common tyrant-voluntarist who starts for health and ends with death. People don’t change, they’re just pawns in a fanatic’s game. The traps of the manipulator reveal shame, fear and guilt, calling for recognition of their weaknesses. And only through a painful choice is a person able to find himself, exposing the ugliness of his soul. True freedom is known in pain. By the way, how much more blood are you willing to see to finally know the value of life?
Is John Kramer the killer and what are his ideas?
After the appearance of the first victims, the media dubbed John Kramer “Saw” or “Designer”. He wanted to make the people around him rethink their lives. Among the victims of Jigsaw were many of his acquaintances – William Easton, and Amanda Young, and Lawrence Gordon, and Cecil Adams.
He wanted to put each of them in the same position in which he himself was – to teach them to value their lives, to put them to the test, after which they, like him, will become completely different people.
Most of the traps and mechanisms created by the saw symbolically reflect some kind of mistake by the people he places in these machines. Therefore, more often than not, they have to hurt themselves by punishing themselves in this way for wrong decisions made in the past. If they cannot gather themselves and step over themselves, they will die, but it will be their fault, since they could not pass the test.
Each test Kramer turns into a game. He leaves instructions to his victims on audio or video tapes, and as soon as they hear about the conditions of the test, it begins.
Jigsaw perfectly predicts the behavior of his victims and often even knows the outcome of the tests in advance.
There has been a debate among fans of the franchise since the very first film: is it right to consider John Kramer a killer? He didn’t kill anyone with his own hands.
Most of Jigsaw’s dead victims were killed in traps built by him or his followers.
But there are several cases in the franchise where John Kramer was directly responsible for the death of his victims. The most striking example is Adam Stenheit-Faulkner. One of two men locked in the fatal room in the first film of the franchise. At the end of the film, Kramer, who had been pretending to be a corpse all this time, left Adam in a room to die.
Again – John didn’t kill him himself, but he knew that Adam would die there and he had no means of getting out. Does that make him a killer? It seems to me that yes.
John Kramer himself never considered himself a murderer. On the contrary, he looked at all these trials from the point of view of helping his victims, he was convinced that he was directing them to the idea that you need to value your life.
Why do people follow his teachings?
Many people who went through the tests of the Constructor really changed. They realized the value of life and could never live after that as before. The most famous followers of John Kramer were Amanda Young (she forgot about drugs forever after what happened), Mark Hoffman (he wanted to punish his sister’s killer by making him a victim of Jigsaw, but Kramer found him and put him to the test) and Lawrence Gordon. The latter helped Pila when surgery was required (sew the lips or eyelids of the victims).
But the first two helped arrange the traps themselves. And each of them used them not only according to the teachings of Cramer, but also in their own interests. John always left an opportunity for his victims to escape.
Not all of his followers accepted this logic, so Jigsaw imitators sometimes set up traps from which the victim could not escape. This helped the police to distinguish Kramer’s real work from his followers.
Saw 7 writers Patrick Melon and Marcus Dunstan have said that the Jigsaw survivors’ gathering was hosted by John Kramer himself. It turns out that he wanted to bring these people together so that those of them who have changed can help those who have not yet fully understood why life should be valued.
Even after Jigsaw’s death, his work lives on. Saw 8 takes place 10 years after John Kramer’s death, but the trials and deaths continue.
Kramer started a cult that is designed to change society. Although the methods are cruel, they work. All the Constructor’s victims sooner or later come to the conclusion that he was right.