Cast: Donnie Wahlberg, Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Franky G, Beverley Mitchell, Dina Meyer, Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Erik Knudsen, Tony Nappo, Noam Jenkins, Lyriq Bent, Tim Burd, John Fallon
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Screenplay: Darren Lynn Bousman, Leigh Whannell
Rated: MA strong violence, blood and gore, coarse language
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood.
In 'SAW', a huge horror hit in 2004, a masked man called Jigsaw orchestrated the kidnapping of two people, chained them in a disgusting bathroom in an abandoned house, and played vicious, brutal mind games with them that potentially could lead to their freedom. Jigsaw is back for more gory fun in 'SAW II', but this time he comes out from behind the mask to terrorize a troubled cop face-to-face.
Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is a man stricken with cancer who plays mind-games with people that he thinks should pay more respect to the sanctity and value of life. In 'SAW II' he incarcerates eight people in a room of a house with a few token clues that they can use to save their own lives or they face an imminent death. One of these eight people is Daniel (Erik Knudsen), the son of Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) who captures Jigsaw quite early in the proceedings. It is now up to Detective Matthews to try to elicit from Jigsaw the whereabouts of his son but doing so is far easier said than done.
When 'SAW' was released in 2004, its success was determined by the movie-going public who decided that the unique, psychologically demanding premise, twists, and overall production was what set it apart from so many schlock horror flicks and it seemed inevitable that a sequel would appear with the anticipation that it too would break new ground. But just how to come up with something without just delivering more of the same is the hard part. Has 'SAW II' done that? Yes and no.
There are many similarities between this movie and the first 'SAW', including a threatening, gruesome opening scene, there are cryptic clues aplenty and it's up to the characters to decipher them as well as the continuing frustration felt by the police which will ultimately become their downfall. Returning also in this sequel, apart from Tobin Bell as Jigsaw, is Shawnee Smith as Amanda who finds herself yet again imprisoned in one of Jigsaws games.
There are differences too, which set it apart, with the instigator of the games, Jigsaw, captured early on and playing out his game overtly in front of his captors and of course, the traps set for the victims are particularly hideous and innovative this time making this definitely not for the faint-hearted.
In some regards 'SAW II' is slightly disappointing, but it did have big boots to fill. Somehow, including more grisly, sadistic and shocking situations isn't quite enough to be necessary for it to be a stand out but there is still enough there for the horror fans to relish.
Rating : ***