Monday, October 13, 2014

Saw II (Darren Lynn Bousman, 2005) Review

I may have lied in my last review. Sorry, I know I said it would be more regular than usual because of mooching off the university's internet but I just wasn't feeling it there. Call me picky but it's easier to do in my spare time when I have nothing to do. Well then, let's continue on with the Saw franchise with the first of the sequels which dives into the much darker and gory side of Saw because there is another side of Saw people seem to miss but that will be addressed later on. Until then, let's take a look at Saw II.

Detective Eric Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg) is brought into a crime scene and the lair of the Jigsaw killer (Tobin Bell) where he discovers Jigsaw's next sick game. Eric's son, Daniel (Erik Knudsen), and 7 other survivors are trapped in an abandoned house and are exposed to a fatal nerve gas. They have two hours to find antidotes for each other obtained via Jigsaw's mutilation games. As they are slowly killed one by one, Eric is forced to negotiate with Jigsaw himself to get his son free. 

So the first Saw film was merely an experiment that took off immensely. Just look at it! 7 films! That's hard to do. So if I liked the first Saw, how does the first sequel hold up? It's okay...sort of. To start with the negatives, this is where the Saw franchise got gory for no real reason. Yes the first one had the infamous 'foot cutting off scene' but really, that was it (on screen). For some reason, they flew off the handle and felt that this one had to feature crushed heads, incineration, bullets through the eye, knives in the wrists, I could go on. Just look at that image. He has a key behind his eye and has to cut it out to live! WHAT?! That's a step up from "get the key from that guy's stomach". The plot naturally had to change too. You couldn't throw two more people into a bathroom chained up (...well...I mean...spoilers and that) and, while it is thrilling to see how the people get on in the gas house, the chemistry is lost between the survivors. 
There are pluses however. The film throws an excellent curve ball and delivers one of the movie twists that I legitimately did not see coming. The plot is trilling and, while not as good as the first, still had me guessing throughout. At this point we know that John Kramer is Jigsaw so you'd think some of the suspense the first film was building up would be gone but, luckily, more ideas are thrown in that keep you wanting more after the film ends. Speaking of Jigsaw, Tobin Bell cements his iconic voice and look into the character to make for a fantastic villain who we learn more about later on. For this one, he's laying down the foundation upon which he will build on in the sequels. 

Saw II is a decent effort for a sequel but if you're even slightly squeamish you need to avoid this. It's violent (with pretty good effects to boot) yet the plot is fascinating. It's not a masterpiece of writing but the suspense, coupled with the great twist and cliffhanger, leaves you hungry for more. You would be satisfied with his one if you have some kind of blood lust but if you're brave enough, you can venture forth to the next sequel. See you then.

Suspenseful and packed with great curve balls but fundamentally flawed.

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