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Saw II
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Saw II (2005)

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Plot Summary:
"Jigsaw continues his next game on a group of unlucky victims, who are locked away and forced to kill each other, while a Detective Eric Mason tries to track him down - unknowingly that the game is going on right in front of him."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 02 January 2008 My Rating: out of 5


Jigsaw, the killer from the first “Saw” (played by character actor Tobin Bell), is nabbed by the cops (including Dina Meyer from the first film), but the cancer-stricken morbid puppetmaster has one more trick up his sleeve- he’s got a bunch of crims (including Shawnee Smith, one of the victims from the first film who managed to survive but is captured yet again, and also “7th Heaven” irritant Beverly Mitchell in a nothing role) trapped inside a house full of grisly traps, and more importantly, one of those inside happens to be the estranged son of detective Donnie Wahlberg.

Darren Lynn Bousman (a first-timer who comes from the MTV school of directing, literally) sequel is actually a more effective (if still a tad contrived) film than the original, which had its gimmick, good intentions by a couple of Aussie filmmakers, but an undercooked screenplay and wildly inconsistent acting (Danny Glover being the worst offender there). Whilst this sequel has the same irritating rapid-fire editing and urine-stained cinematography and production design, and some of the same actors (Dina Meyer’s back? Oh, God, when will people realise she can’t act?) but by allowing villain Tobin Bell to stretch his acting muscles much more this time, the film is definitely benefited greatly. The guy’s a creepy actor born for horror movies and is a strong presence when on screen here. Hell, even Donnie Wahlberg is pretty good here.

Best of all, unlike its self-satisfied predecessor, the film is actually a little unnerving at times (that pit of needles is the freakiest, most skin-crawling thing I’ve seen in a while), and the actors, whilst not great thesps (Frankie G is absolutely pathetic as an overbearing thug who goes nutso. Methinks someone’s been watching “Scarface” a few too many times!), manage to look convincingly terrified, particularly Smith.

Admittedly there’s one rather large contrivance concerning the inactivity of the police- I just didn’t buy that, and I can’t say I ‘liked’ any of the characters, but the ending is killer (unlike the ending in the first film which was patently absurd) and the film is suitably gory.

Basically, the film is just a little more polished than the first film, and is a fine B movie, something one can’t say about too many genre films these days.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 02 November 2005 My Rating: out of 5

Starting out in a similar fashion to the first film, Saw II opens with an even more sickening trap before managing to weave a sticky web of intrigue, lies, deceit and death before managing to knock you off your feet once again.

Whilst many people are sceptical to see how the film pans out, I would like to point out that I tried to avoid much of the hype before going along to the first showing in my city, with no expectations.

As with the first film I was shocked by the opening but then found the film slowing to a lull by the mid point. As I tried to pick apart the ghastly clues not wanting to be out smarted a second time I realized that one should not be so quick to dismiss the power of Jigsaw's mind and once again I was suckered into a trap only to be shocked by the revelations which unfolded before my eyes.

The film is actually no better or worse than the first film; it acts as a great companion piece and is actually more like an extension of the first film.

The traps are wince inducing, the kills are gory, the cast are great and the film is so twisted you wonder how the writers dreamt half of it up.

The film benefits from a gritty aesthetic, cool sets and gory deaths and the tone is very similar to the first film also. I also really liked the fact that they reused many of Charlie Clouser's cues from the first film to highlight similarities between both films.

In the end, the film left me more than satisfied as it answered all my questions and then some. You can bet there will be haters who pretend to see through it and all the rest of it but it was definitely one of the most impressive pieces of genre cinema I have seen this year and I for one would love to see a third film as long as they keep outdoing themselves a little more each time.

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