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Starring
Tobin Bell
as John

Shawnee Smith
as Amanda

Donnie Wahlberg
as Det. Eric Mason

Franky G
as Xavier

Glenn Plummer
as Jonas

Dina Meyer
as Kerry

Beverley Mitchell
as Laura

Erik Knudsen
as Daniel

Tony Nappo
as Gus

Emmanuelle Vaugier
as Addison

Tim Burd
as Obi

Written by Leigh Whannell and Darren Lynn Bousman

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Running Time: 1:32

Rated R
for grisly violence and gore, terror,
language and drug content.

C+


THE OPENING

Saw II was a decent enough horror film that lacked the punch of the original, but had enough violence and gore to give people a good scare this Halloween.

THE STORY

The Jigsaw killer is back, but this time, the game has changed. He is caught, but his game has already started. He has eight people trapped in a house, all with one common connection. Detective Mason's son is one of the people trapped in the house, and Mason isn't the greatest cop in the world. In order to see his son alive again, Mason has to play a simple game with Jigsaw. The only question is, will he be able to play long enough?

THE REVIEW

Saw II was similar to the original Saw except this time more people are trapped inside the game. And one of them has played the game before. There was also the added difference that this time, Jigsaw was captured right from the start and was able to taunt the police right to their faces. The eight people in the house include Amanda, who was in the first movie and the only person to escape with her life; Daniel, the detective's son; Xavier, a big tough looking guy; Jonas, the voice of reason; Addison, the tough chick; and Laura, the scared little blond girl. They all had one simple connection to each other, although it was one that if they figured it out, wouldn't have amounted to a whole lot, other than more anger. And as always, in times of stress, no one paid attention to the rules and everyone wanted to run around and do things on their own. I guess that's to be expected but sometimes you just want to shout at them and tell them to sit down and shut up for a second.

The movie started immediately with a death scene that looked like it could have been a lost scene from the original. It was gruesome enough, but since I'd seen it before, I wasn't too impressed. Then there were the methods of death from the rest of the characters. Shot with a gun, burned alive, hit with a bat covered in nails (would have made Mick Foley proud). All of it interesting, but none of it too shocking or violent. This time the director relied on shaking cameras and quick flash cuts, along with hard hitting music, to get the scares. As I said when I reviewed Saw, the scariest moment in that movie wasn't the violence, it was when a little girl sees a single eye staring out at her from the closet. Nothing scared me in Saw II. I appreciate blood and gore as much as the next guy (maybe even more so) but I also like to have at least one moment where I'm surprised and jump out of my seat. I got some blood and gore, but no real scares.

I thought there was way too much talking in this movie. There were too many scenes with Jigsaw expounding on why he was doing what he was doing. None of it made much sense, nor did I really care. And then there were the flashbacks to his life. Why throw that in there? Why give me any sympathy at all for a madman? I actually started to feel bad for him at one point. There's no need for that. Yes, explanations are nice, but make it quick and to the point. Don't drag it out when all I want is to see something scary. Watching an old man in a wheelchair talk about what he thinks is right or wrong, is not scary. Watching Donnie Wahlberg try and act tough and sad, while scary in its own right, isn't what I'm looking for. And watching Donnie beat up the old man in a wheelchair, well, that's just wrong. I'm not a big Donnie Wahlberg fan, except for when he was part of New Kids on the Block (no comments please) and he didn't do much to change my opinion of him as an actor. He does sullen well, but anger and sadness, not so much. The victims were all relatively the same. They did their job but no one stood out from the rest. The faces were all recognizable, although not really famous. The look and feel of the movie was a lot like the first. Everything was dark and mysterious, the sets were all ragged and dark, and the music was almost exactly the same.

Then there was the ending of the movie. The first one had a twist that I didn't see coming. It was a twist that a lot of people I've talked to didn't like, but I enjoyed it. So going in to Saw II, you sort of expect there to be some misdirection and a surprise ending. And I don't think it's ruining much to say there was. However, I for one saw it coming a mile away, and therefore while it was a reasonably twisted ending, it wasn't very surprising to me. And I think if you've watched enough movies, you'll probably see it coming too. And it of course sets itself up for at least one more sequel.

THE BOTTOM LINE

So overall, Saw II was decent, but not great. The original was, well, original, and the sequel tread on a lot of the same ground. It was violent and gory, but not shocking or scary. But I'll still go see part III whenever that comes out. I'm a sucker for horror films.

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Saw (Uncut Edition)

$18.89 DVD

Cabin Fever - Special Edition

$9.98 DVD

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
(New Line Platinum Series)

$26.96 DVD

New Kids on the Block
- Greatest Hits

$11.98 CD
reviewed 10/28/05

© 2005 Wolfpack Productions

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