“Oh yes, there will be blood”
Alright, we’re moving right along to Saw II : Jigsaw’s Murder House. Or at least that’s what I’m hilariously calling it for the moment. Though, I should say right away, as sequels go this one works pretty well. Here’s the basic story :
Jigsaw locks a few unlucky people in a booby trapped shelter and they must find a way out before they inhale too much of a lethal nerve gas and die. But they must watch out, for the traps Jigsaw has set in the shelter lead to death also.
This movie does exactly what a sequel needs to do. It continues the story, it raises the stakes, and it amps up the body count. Not to mention it ups the number of pretty good performances. Though, Donnie Wahlburg’s “super tortured soul” of a police officer character was a bit much if I’m being totally honest. Tobin Bell is fantastic until the end, and Shawnee Smith delivers pretty well on her return to the franchise.
The traps in this movie are pretty limited, but the ones that we see are pretty disturbing. The entire house set up is pretty good, with the individual challenges existing for each of the victims throughout the house. I do wish we had gotten to see a few more of the individual challenges, and had the characters endure and overcome a few more things. They are pretty disposable, with the exception of Amanda and Daniel, and unfortunately this makes the characters come off a little bit flat. Even Wahlburg’s hot-head, tortured soul is pretty one-note for the most part. However, Tobin Bell really does shine strong in this, and it’s nice to have him more present throughout the movie.
I mentioned the traps we do see, and they really do deliver what you want from a saw movie. The opening scene with the ‘venus fly trap’ sets everything in motion pretty nicely, and the pit-of-needles is still one of my top 10 most disturbing scenes in horror. That pit gets me every single time, even when I know its coming. The rest of the flick is pretty standard, and has more to do with the victims turning on each other than it does about them learning a lesson or appreciating their lives.
James Wan is the biggest loss to this sequel, I do need to say that. This one written by Darren Lynn Bousman, who went on to handle many of the sequels after this one, and from the original film we have Leigh Whannell writing on this one as well. Though, I feel like perhaps Whannell had more to do with maintaining the continuity and helping build the story a little bit, with Bousman having a bit more control over the final script. Though, this is just an assumption, and I really have nothing to back that up with. Bousman also directed this one, and did a pretty fine job when it comes down to it.
As I mentioned at the beginning, this really does work well as a sequel, and it does maintain the spirit of the first movie. The story unfolds very effectively, and makes the reveal at the end of the film all the more effective and satisfying. I would say it’s nearly as strong a reveal and surprise as the first film. Though, these days audiences never seem to even let themselves be surprised by anything so I’m sure you’d disagree.
This movie added to my desire to see the series through to the end. I was enourmously entertained by it, and while they aren’t necessarily scary films, there is an inherent intensity to all of them. Especially given my tendency to watch all horror movies with the mind set of “Well, what if this was me?” and I find that it makes them all the more effective.
Anyways, Saw II stayed strong, and set us up for another sequel, you’ll have to stay tuned for that one though.
Final Grade : B-