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A major let down when compared to its predecessor...
on November 9, 2007
I was excited about this film, truly excited. I really enjoyed the first `Saw' film and just had the highest of hopes for the sequel. I think that's why in the end it proved to be such a disappointment. Don't get me wrong, when I walked out of the theater I was in heaven. I loved what I had just seen. It was gruesome, disturbing and to an extent quite scary. After a second watch through though I realized that this film is so far below the original it's ridiculous. The concept for this film is just too simple when compared to the original film. The only similarity between the two is the villain and even that takes an unwarranted twist. Yes, the final sequence was a head-scratcher but it couldn't hold a candle to the mastery that was the original `Saw' conclusion.
The film centers again around mastermind Jigsaw as he sets up yet another elaborate trap, this time collecting a group of ex-convicts in an abandoned house filled with deadly gas with antidotes spread throughout the house. In order for them to get these antidotes they must do some horrific things. One of the victims is young Daniel Matthews whose father, Police Detective Eric Matthews, has captured Jigsaw and is trying desperately (and quite uncivilly) to force into giving up the houses location.
Sadly `Saw II' becomes a showcase for gruesome deaths and disturbing sights over mental breakdown and mind bending horror. I say `sadly' for a reason. The original `Saw' was not all that gory. Sure there were some bloody sequences and some disturbing events but for the most part `Saw' was a mental game, a mind tease if you will. `Saw II' feels like a cop out almost. It feels like any other slasher film and that is a disappointment since I expected so much more.
There are some good things about this film, Tobin Bell for one who expands upon his original role as Jigsaw with some exceptional results, but story wise `Saw II' fails. As far as the death scenes are concerned, sure they make you squirm and that's a plus right, and that pit of syringes still gets to me when I think about it, but all of this can't make up for the lack or originality. It's dark, it's disturbing, it's gory and it's very uninspired. I have yet to see the third and fourth `Saw' offerings mainly because this was such a let down. I'm sure I'll get to the rest of the series to form my own opinions; hopefully they will be an improvement.
The acting here is an improvement upon the original, well, at least some of it is. Donnie Wahlberg (who could be brother Mark's twin I swear) has a much better grasp on his character than Cary Elwes did. Shawnee Smith does decently here as does Erik Knudsen and of course Tobin Bell. The rest of the cast is decent at best. Franky G is horrific, Beverley Mitchell (from `Seventh Heaven'...what's she doing here?) is annoying as all get out and Tim Burd is just plain non-effective. Emmanuelle Vaugier does little else but be really hot and Tony Nappo is gone too quickly to make much of an impact so that leaves Glenn Plummer to pick up the pieces and he does a decent but not too impressive a job. Still, the acting is an improvement if you will.
In the end I can't say much else then this was a major disappointment when compared to what it could have been but when you place it in the perspective of `most' (I say `most' because there are a select few horror films that truly are brilliant) horror films of late then this fits in the with pack as disturbing, gruesome and brainless.