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How To Talk To Your Child About Jigsaw: Ranking The ‘Saw’ Films For Toddlers

Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! As a new father, you face a classic dilemma: you want to spend time with your child but also watch the ‘Saw’ films at the same time. Why not both? Get those Doritos bags off the couch and make room for the newest audience member. Let your little one settle down in their diaper and forget about the stigma of introducing your child to the ‘Saw’ franchise. Each film is brimming with life lessons. Plus, you’re not going to let a baby ruin your October tradition! Here’s a guide to the ‘Saw’ films for helping your child navigate the new world around them. Next thing you know, they’ll want a little trike just like Billy the Puppet. Way to go, new papa! Let’s play a game.

‘Saw III’ (2006)

It’s good to get the goriest film out of the way first. To quote Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean in.” Exactly the same can be said when it comes to showing your child the ‘Saw’ films. The classroom trap at the start of the film is a good primer for the education system, allowing a familiarity with teaching environments, not to mention blood-stained warehouses. Practice gentle parenting and encourage your young one to suppress their vomit during the pig vat trap. Make sure they’re watching the limb-rotating rack trap, closely and perhaps slowed down. Major characters die in this installment, which is fantastic for communicating the fleeting nature of life.

‘Spiral’ (2021)

The ninth installment was apparently pitched by Chris Rock at a wedding, which is valuable in teaching your child to recognize opportunities. You’ve been to multiple play-dates with other parents and consistently suggest putting on a ‘Saw’ film, despite no one taking you up on the offer. Most conversations with your child’s pediatrician turn to ‘Saw’, asking about specific injuries or hypothetical scenarios. Hey, if people didn’t want to talk about ‘Saw’ movies, they shouldn’t make these movies so damn appealing! The wax trap is a good lesson for demonstrating the danger of candles, while the tongue trap is a tutorial in not lying. Sort of like when you say that you’re putting on ‘Cocomelon,’ but it’s actually just another ‘Saw’ film.

‘Saw 3D’ (2010)

Does your neighbor’s kid know how to cauterize their wound on a steampipe? Fuck no, they don’t. But yours does! Cary Elwes rocked that impromptu solution in the seventh installment. You tried to high-five your kid, now sitting in the corner, horrified. The silence circle trap is good for teaching your kid “indoor voices,” especially when they begin to shout about not wanting to watch anymore ‘Saw’ movies. Sure, the 3D glasses don’t exactly fit your child, but you improvise by wheeling the screen closer to their face. You went all in on 3D technology, buying multiple 3D Blu-Ray players back in the early 2010s, which your kid will one day inherit for when he wants to watch ‘Saw 3D’ “the right way.”

‘Jigsaw’ (2017)

Why take a vacation to the country when you have a ‘Saw’ film set in a barn? Introduce your child to the cottage-core ‘Saw’ entry, complete with charming hay and wood aesthetics. By focusing largely on copycat killers, you communicate that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The final trap, the laser collar, is superb for demonstrating the dangers of lasers, a subject ‘Paw Patrol’ completely ignores. You remember staring directly into a laser for twenty-five minutes once, just to see what happens, mostly distracted thinking about how freakin’ awesome ‘Saw’ was. This might explain the blank or white splotches crowding the screen, which you ignore because you’re babysitting and too busy knocking back Rolling Rocks.

‘Saw V’ (2008)

A compliment must be paid to the ‘Saw’ franchise when it comes to planning ahead. John Kramer is able to execute plans long after his death; it just goes to show that tackling your life’s work early will help in the long run. The crooked cops are a textbook example of not trusting strangers, while the opening swinging pendulum violently severing a man can serve as an intro to Edgar Allen Poe. Your kid didn’t love the body-squishing walls but you can’t blame them, the franchise gets confusing and the real estate corruption commentary honestly went over your head too. Try to use visual cues while explaining the convoluted plot, perhaps with the Montessori toys you always step on. Using stuffed animals (a purple bull for Hoffman, a penguin pillow for Amanda) to represent each of the canonical ‘Saw’ characters is a great way to foster creative play and encourage lifelong criminal friendships.

‘Saw IV’ (2007)

Everyone always talks about 2007 as a classic movie year. ‘No Country For Old Men,’ ‘There Will Be Blood,’ ‘Zodiac,’ boring bullshit like that. For you, it’s about ‘Saw IV’, with the infamous scalping seat trap. Top of the list. Your child will have absolutely no interest at this point, crying constantly, loudly. The neighbors are concerned, peeping through the blinders, making courtesy calls. There have been complaints of you shouting through a megaphone “Live or die, the choice is yours!” to Amazon drivers. Was the autopsy scene perhaps too much to show? How else is your child going to learn about biology? John Kramer teaches us to “cherish our life,” which is why you spend time constantly rewatching the ‘Saw’ films. There are profound, Buddhist-level teachings in forcing your child to watch Donnie Wahlberg hang by the neck above a melting block of ice.

‘Saw II’ (2005)

You assure your child that it’s all almost over, and that it’s ‘Toy Story’ next, knowing you have a few more ‘Saw’ films to get through. This kid will either completely avoid the series or become overwhelmingly engrossed in these movies for the rest of their life, thanks to the severe trauma brewing. Make it fun: stir imagination by leaving fun clues around the house, just like Jigsaw. Encourage conversation: your kid will run into pre-school one day bursting with excitement to talk about the man burned alive in Jigsaw’s trap. After the infamous syringe pit scene, your child may be deterred from ball pits for life, a benefit when one considers the sheer amount of germs mingling in there. The razor box trap teaches not to poke hands into dangerous openings, like electrical sockets or hornet nests (a consistent mistake you still haven’t learned from).

‘Saw VI’ (2009)

Wake your child up for the ‘Saw’ film that tackles the health insurance industry! You’ve been unemployed for a few years now due to belligerence, tardiness and lunch beers. As you are largely relying on your partner’s health insurance, you enjoy pointing out to your child how much the insurance company is “ripping you a new one.” Feel free to clutch the many envelopes of “overdue bills” on the floor under the mailslot. Your child may be familiar with this film: you played the shotgun carousel scene to them on the iPad during their first ride home from the hospital, as a rite of passage and welcome into existence. Truly, it’s never too early for your child to be introduced to the acid room trap. Watching the lower half of a man boil and bubble away as it falls off his frame is a core bonding memory you want to form with your child.

‘Saw’ (2004)

The film that started it all. James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s masterful vision, made for children everywhere. You can barely finish a scene without explaining how significant this was to you. The introduction to the ‘reverse beartrap’, Danny Glover, the bathroom setting, meeting Billy the Puppet… it’s easy to get lost among the fond memories and nostalgic times. Your child plays with their Baby Einstein toy and looks at you oddly as you weep, overwhelmed by the disheveled joy this brings you. The ultimate twist of the film, with Jigsaw in the room the entire time, teaches the significance of committing to a bit, no matter the stakes. Afterall, this could explain how you became a father in the first place. You wonder where your partner has been. They said they went out to buy a pack of cigarettes three days ago, during which you’ve watched the entire ‘Saw’ franchise 4 times while looking after this toddler, wherever they went.

‘Saw X’ (2023)

John Kramer tackles medical fraud and con artists in the best entry of the series, a movie so good you saw it eleven times. Sure, you forgot to pick up groceries now and then, but you had a solid excuse: your time and money went to ‘Saw X’. Seriously, where did that kid go? Oh well. You throw some Flintstones Vitamins on the floor, hoping your kid will come out of hiding. Kids still love Flintstones Vitamins, right? Anyway there’s supposed to be some dumb government department person coming by later, someone or other, you didn’t really pay attention over the phone. Something about “child protective services” or whatever. It’s super boring being stuck at home with the kid, waiting for this lousy visit. Who cares?! Hey, maybe that government dude coming by will be a ‘Saw’ fan too! Don’t worry about finding your kid, they’ll turn up eventually. Just turn your speakers to the window and crank up those ‘Saw’ films so your caseworker knows what an excellent father you are.