Revisiting the Saw Franchise With the Tweens of My Family

Illustration for article titled Revisiting the iSaw/i Franchise With the Tweens of My Family
Screenshot: YouTube

When I was a child, my cousin Sam sat me down in front of the TV with his sisters and we all watched Scream together. I have been terrified of horror movies ever since and largely unable to watch them unless it’s daylight outside and I have a movie companion. Twenty years later, Sam is repeating history and sharing his love of horror movies with the next set of victims, his children, who will be referred to as Girl (age 13) and Boy (age 10). To my surprise, the children are already horror consumers and have already seen Friday the 13th and one of the Freddy Kreuger movies. They both found those films to be hilarious.

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Both kids are isolating at home with their parents and were gracious enough to take time out of their busy Fortnite schedules to do an interview, along with their father, about the value of Saw and horror movies in general.


JEZEBEL: So why Saw?

Sam: Well, we actually started out watching Scream the TV series—

Are you kidding me right now!? KIDS, DID YOUR FATHER TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME—

[For reasons unknown, the FaceTime connection cut off and I was unable to tell the children about my thoughts on Scream. After a few minutes, I got back in touch with them.]

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Sam: They were just bored with the series and the acting was so wack, but I noticed it had a bit of that Saw vibe and Girl kind of liked the show so I told her I was going to put her on to the best psychological thriller of all time. She loved it.

Boy: We’re on Season 2 of Scream right now, and we have three suspects on who the killer is. I think it’s Stevo. They’re making it so obvious on purpose so that we don’t think it’s him. They want us to think it’s too obvious so we think it’s someone else and that’s their plan.

Yes, obviously. So what did you guys like about Saw?

Girl: It was confusing at first because they just wake up and they’re in this bathroom type of room and there’s a dead body, but it’s not dead. But they think he’s dead.

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Boy: [Staring into his iPad] They probably thought he was dead because he had that blood mask on and a gun in his hand so he just looks dead and they couldn’t check because of the chains.

Girl: Yeah, but he wasn’t dead the whole time, because they explain that he put a patch on to pretend like he was dead.

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Wait, how many of these have you seen?

Girl: Four. And the first 30 minutes of the fifth one.

Boy, how do you feel about movie violence?

Boy: I don’t mind it. I like it. But I like solving it. I feel like the movie is giving us riddles to solve to figure out who the killer is and I want to figure it out first.

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So like a detective?

Boy: Yeah.

Girl, which movie in the franchise is your favorite?

Girl: The third one ’cause there are more ways that people die.

Excuse me?

Sam: That’s not what she meant. She wants to do graphics for movies when she grows up, so she likes to try and figure out how they make people look like they’re getting cut in half and all the blood and stuff. She asks a lot of questions, like, “Do they put fake skin? How do they make the blood squirt like that?” She’s interested in the work.

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Do you guys feel like you’re getting anything from these movies?

Boy: I’m getting smarter ’cause I’m trying to solve the mystery. So it’s teaching me to think bigger and to check to make sure the dead body is dead.

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Girl: I’m learning all the ways people can die. Like you can put a cage on your head, get sliced in half. There’s a lot of ways.

Do you have suggestions for horror movies that kids your age can watch?

Girl: The Scream series is not that scary so they can watch that and not be scared.

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Boy: Tall Grass.

What movies are you going to ask your dad to watch next?

Girl: I already saw Boy, so now I want to see Boy 2. And Chuckie.

Boy: I want to see Bird Box, but there’s a sexual scene, so I can’t see it.

How do you know that, if you haven’t seen it?

Boy: It’s in the warning. Duh.

Just checking.

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DISCUSSION

westerosironswanson
The Ron Swanson of Westeros

Well, I for one have to admit that at first, I was a tad squeamish about letting tweens see the Saw films. That amount of violence might not be healthy to expose people to. But then I realized that I’d seen all of the Rambo films by the time I was six, and I’d shoot anyone who thinks that affected my empathy.

(sarcasm. That’s very much sarcasm)

But in all seriousness, to each their own, and if people are getting something from the stories that they’re watching, particularly an interest in being the next Tom Savini special effects creator for movies, I think that’s cool. That being said, as someone who did see the Rambo films by the time I was six, and probably was not helped by the amount of violence I was exposed to in the media I watched as a child, I’d probably be more mindful with my kids than to let them watch the Saw franchise. Not necessarily because of the gore, but because of the moral nihilism that went alone with the gore in my experience of the franchise.