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Saw II (2005)
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
review by Shiraz Rahim
There isn't much to say about Saw II than that if you've seen the first one, you've pretty much seen the second film, too. This sequel picks up where Saw left off and continues to present its story in the same twist-by-twist manner. Eric Mathews, a homicide detective, happens to find himself on the same unsolved murder case, following a serial killer codenamed 'Jigsaw' who enjoys teaching people life lessons by subjecting them to torturous survival games.
After tracing some clues and hints as to the whereabouts of the killer, Mathews manages to trap Jigsaw and place him under arrest, only to find that the killer has managed to start another of his 'life lessons'. Mathews realises that Jigsaw has secretly captured several individuals, one of them being Mathew's son Daniel, and placed them inside a house filled with poisonous gas. Their goal: find the antidote hidden somewhere in the house before they die. The rest of the film turns into a game where the poisoned captives race through the house and stumble upon Jigsaw's traps, ranging from a bed of needles to a furnace (you can tell what happens here). All the while, the individuals find clues from Jigsaw concerning the reasons for them being captured, and they learn the true identities of the others competing for antidotes hidden within the house. The latter parts of the movie become a vicious test of survival in which each individual, on the verge of death from the poisonous gas, begins to turn on the others, while Mathews strives desperately to discover the location of the house and save the victims inside.
I have to say, although the movie sounds like it has a very good premise and a great deal of potential, there were several flaws that manage to make Saw II not quite as great as the original. First off, the viewer is introduced to Jigsaw's face very early into the movie, a fact that completely destroys his character as the mysterious maniac, bent on torture in Saw. The movie then completely relies on its twists (and believe me, there are quite a few of them) to shock and scare you, a technique that doesn't seem to always work, especially in a movie like this where a lot of the twists are completely predictable. The fact that the serial killer's face was never shown in the first film made it a whole lot scarier since you never knew who was the victim and who was the attacker until the very end while, in this film, you know who the bad guy is and usually can tell what he is going to do next.
The only other thing that's disappointing about this movie is the twist ending, the presence of which shouldn't surprise you after seeing Saw's very interesting and shocking ending. Saw II, however, fails to make an ending quite as scary as its predecessor, partially because of the first flaw (you knew who Jigsaw was from the start), which makes the ending (that I won't give away here) seem very contrived and forced. I felt that the ending, although seemingly a reasonable addition to the total plot of the film, was simply a ploy to open the possibilities for a 'Saw III'.
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