Oct 132010
Authors: Sarah Millard

As I write this, a woman is getting her scalp ripped off on the television in front of me.

Now this is not how I usually spend my weekdays, but on this night in particular, my roommate came up to me holding a stack of movies with covers that featured severed limbs and sharp edges. We looked at each other, turned on all of the lights in the house and settled in for a night of gore and terror.

The “Saw” series is one that is either loved or hated, with no feeling between the spectrum. Released annually for seven years, it quickly became a leader in the world of low-budget horror films.

Now, every October, the country waits patiently for the next installment of “Saw” movies. And while the plot has begun to falter, the death traps have grown in epic proportions.

The “Saw” series is not known for the excellent script or the flawless performances by relatively unknown actors. Instead, the series revels in the perfect execution of…well…executions.

But apart from “Saw’s” ability to make viewers cringe, cover their eyes and scream at the screen, these movies have asked a very important question to the world: What would you do?

In these films, people who are deemed unable or unwilling to appreciate life are kidnapped and put to the test. They are always placed in horrible situations that involve causing themselves enormous amounts of pain in order to save their life. Additionally, some characters are thrown into circumstances that test their ability to watch others receive pain.

For example, in “Saw IV,” which is currently serving as background noise to my column writing, a police officer is put through the test of watching a man crawl into a bed that ultimately tears his limbs apart and witnessing the aftermath of a woman who was forced to pull rods through her body to kill her abusive husband.

The lesson behind this tragedy was to teach the police officer to let people save themselves and make their own choices, which one can kind of see after they get past the blood and overall disturbing nature of the idea.

Life is an interesting conundrum. We live, on average, for 70-to-80 years, which, in the grand scheme of existence, is a blip on the map. However, days move slowly and are often repetitive, which leads us to become complacent and lazy.

We begin our lives with vast dreams of becoming astronauts or veterinarians. But as we grow, we realize it’s impossible to become a veterinarian when you can hardly comprehend any mathematical skills beyond those that can be shown by using apples.

Believe me, it was a rough day when I discovered that my algebra skills are the equivalent to Forrest Gump’s.

We become cynical and don’t believe that we will ever make any sort of difference in the world. We are each one person out of seven billion, on one planet out of nine (I will never forget Pluto), in one galaxy out of billions. Our lives are completely insignificant.

But in those moments when we are given a choice between momentary pain and continuing a seemingly inconsequential life, most will overwhelmingly choose to save themselves. At least in the “Saw” movies.

While most watch these films to be severely grossed out, more can be taken from them, like the potential to have your head smashed between two blocks of ice if you don’t appreciate your life.

In all likelihood, none of us will be kidnapped by a cancer-stricken man in a pig mask. None of us will be placed in a situation where our only option is to saw off our own foot or rot in a destroyed bathroom in an abandoned building (and seriously, where does Jigsaw find all of these empty houses? You’d think someone was regulating this.)

However, we can all learn something from these movies. Love your life. Never take any moment for granted. And don’t deal drugs, because 90 percent of the victims in these movies are drug dealers.

If you follow all of these rules, you will probably never be thrown into a pit of syringes. Promise.

Sarah Millard is senior political science major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be reached letters@collegian.

 Posted by at 2:44 pm

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