Darren Lynn Bousman
Donnie Wahlberg - Detective Eric Matthews
Tobin Bell - John Kramer/Jigsaw
Shawnee Smith - Amanda Young
Emmanuelle Vaugier - Addison
Franky G - Xavier
Beverley Mitchell - Laura
Erik Knudsen - Daniel Matthews
Dina Meyer - Detective Kerry
Year - 2005
Score - 3 Howls Outta 4
Good horror sequels are like the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack when they're released one year after its predecessor. The FRIDAY THE 13TH sequels were guilty of this after they were pretty much released one right after the other back in the 1980s, each becoming more derivative [yet still entertaining] as they went on, although some sequels were better than others. A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET had a great sequel in DREAM WARRIORS [part 3] but released THE DREAM MASTER [part 4] a year later and THE DREAM CHILD [part 5] a year after that, each sequel getting worse and worse. And who can forget the HALLOWEEN franchise, releasing a great sequel in HALLOWEEN 4 but following it up with the horrible HALLOWEEN 5 a year later. Personally, I feel horror franchises should wait at least 2 years in between installments so we can catch our breaths and actually want to see these films. Plus it would give the writers and producers time to think of good ideas that wouldn't be borrowing heavily from its predecessor.
Police detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg, not the guy from BOY MEETS WORLD) is the new lead detective in the Jigsaw murders case once he's called out by the madman. He leads a group of police officers, including Detective Kerry (Dina Meyer), to an abandoned factory where John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is sitting and waiting for them. Dying of cancer yet still testing people's morality on life and death, Kramer shows the detectives a live video feed of seven people, including Eric's son Daniel (Erik Knudsen) and Jigsaw's previous victim Amanda (Shawnee Smith), who have been abducted by Jigsaw and placed in a house that is booby-trapped. The seven abductees must find a way to work together and piece clues together in order to escape the house, due to nerve gas in the air that will kill them in about two hours. This situation allows Jigsaw and Eric to see eye-to-eye, as Jigsaw is testing Eric at the same time.
SAW II is an entertaining film that doesn't let up from beginning to end. Inspired by the film CUBE, we're the audience of a group of people struggling to find something in common in order to escape an inevitable death. While the increased number of victims from the first film allows us to see more traps and more blood and guts, we lose character development and intimate moments that made the first SAW so great. That, my friends, is what you call a case of sequelitis. And this film suffers from it, although it handles it alot better than most horror sequels.
Franky G was also cool as Xavier, the main villain in the house among the abductees. He was the true epitome of a heartless prick, but I liked him since he actually showed a personality that the others lacked. Man, Jigsaw's a pussy next to this guy. He had to be Latino too. Thanks for the horrible stereotype, guys. Everyone else did okay, but didn't really contribute much.
THINGS I'VE LEARNED WHILE WATCHING THIS FILM
1. If you have to risk losing your eye or losing your life, take out the eye. Girls love men with eye patches. Arrrrr...
2. The S.W.A.T. team got their asses kicked by Jigsaw's trap. Yeah, that Colin Farrell film could've been better.
3. Don't ever look through the peephole while turning the key. It'll be the last thing you'll ever see.
4. Spitting up blood doesn't make you in fine health. Unless you have a really odd period.
5. Beverly Mitchell got kidnapped with the help of ether. Thank God I'm not alone in disliking 7TH HEAVEN!
6. Don't ever go into a booby-trapped oven. Getting cooked will only make you realize how 'well-done' the trap is.
7. The pool of syringes doesn't look really appealing. Unless you're Courtney Love. I'm sure she's been there a few times.
8. Breaking one's leg is good luck. Breaking one's finger is bad luck. Can you masturbate with your feet? Yeah, I thought so.
9. Don't be a Greedy Greg. You'll only get a bloody sore throat.
10. While it may look dangerous, sometimes the victims are in a safe place. Literally.
THE FINAL HOWL
SAW II isn't as good as the original SAW, but it's still a very entertaining film that you'll have fun watching from beginning to end. Especially if you like to see a bunch of characters without personality die in horrible ways. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to Jigsaw to create a trap that will get Dina Meyer naked. Oh yeah, that isn't possible anymore huh? Darn...