Director – Darren Lynn Bousman
Cast – Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Donnie Wahlberg, Erk Knudsen, Frankie G, Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Beverley Mitchell, Tim Burd, Dina Meyer, Lyriq Bent
Release Year – 2005
Reviewed by John of the Dead
This film is the obvious sequel to the surprisingly successful(and innovating) film…Saw. When Saw director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell finished their masterpiece, they expected it to be released straight to DVD. However after test screenings of the film turned out surprisingly well, they were given the green light to get a theatrical release. The film debuted very well, and with producers happy…Saw 2 was put into action that very first weekend! Saw 2 brings back Leigh Whannell to write the film, however a different director, Darren Lynn Bousman was brought in for the film. Some of you may remember Darren Lynn Bousman as the director and one of the writers for the recent horror-musical Repo! The Genetic Opera, which I really enjoyed. He also went on to direct Saw III and Saw IV, making him the only repeat director for the Saw franchise.
This film follows a hard-nosed detective recently assigned to desk duty due to his harsh, 4th Amendment violating attitude towards suspects. One night he is called into a grisly scene at the hands of the “Jigsaw” killer, with a message for him left at the scene. He is then thrown into one of Jigsaw’s(we learn in this film Jigsaw’s name is John Kramer) crazy live-or-die games as his son is kidnapped, and placed in an abandoned building with several other strangers with dark pasts. They each have their very own game to play, while the group as a whole is involved in a much bigger game. Each person has been injected with a slow acting poison that will kill them in two hours. There is a door that will lead them out of the building, but they must figure out the password in order to leave. And of course little do they know…the clues are with them the entire time, but who ever wants to “follow the rules” in a situation like that?
This film definitely followed the overall tone that the first film did. We are shown more of Jigsaw’s elaborate games used to teach ungrateful people the value of life, and to force them to make very tough decisions in the process. I really respect Leigh Whannel as a writer, he has been able to come up with these “games” without any of them getting dull, repetitive, or stupid in any way. They remain elaborate, and creative, which I find very well done for a writer without a whole lot of Hollywood experience.
One thing I really enjoyed about this film is that Jigsaw is given a lot more screen time compared to the first film. He of course could not have much screen time in the first film due to the development process, but I really loved how we get to see him on screen rather quickly in this sequel. That aspect had me thinking “Ok…he’s already physically involved in the plot…can any other craziness still happen?” and of course…craziness did happen. Although I did really like the plot of the film, the games, and the many exciting(and unexpected) twists we were given…I did have some problems with the characters. At first all of the characters are neutral, however by the third movement of the film we are very much aware of who the protagonists and antagonist are. However I did not really find the protagonists likeable, and could not find myself rooting for them, or even caring if they made it out alive or not. Now normally in that case I would be lead to root for the antagonist, however I really didn’t not like the antagonist at all, and found myself not caring for that person either. That is really my only knock against the film, because other than that I really found this film to be enjoyable, and a successful sequel to the first film.
Overall, this is a positive sequel to the first film, with many elaborate games and twists thrown into the film. Check this out of you are a fan of the franchise, you will not be disappointed.
– I ranked this film #44 in my Top 50 Horror Movies of the Decade(41-50) post.