1.) As I said in the last Saw review, I found the premise quite interesting, and in this movie, they reinforce my statement with an interesting antagonist. John Kramer a.k.a. the Jigsaw Killer has a compelling backstory on his origins and why he sets these “games” up for these people. We get snippets of it in the last movie, but in this sequel, they give a full-blown explanation on his motivation. He is an utter psychopath who believes he is helping people realize that they should not take things they have for granted. That is a compelling antagonist if I have ever seen one. How he does it on the other hand…I will get to that eventually.
2.) There are two sequences that occur in the second act of the movie: the confrontation between Jigsaw and Eric, and the house trap sequence. In my eyes, the confrontation is the best one. While the house trap sequence is everyone trying to survive the traps and to escape the place, the confrontation is a battle of wills, and I enjoy that more than a bunch of people attempting to escape the house. Jigsaw is toying with Eric’s mind, and Eric (being a completely flawed man) keeps falling for it. Goes to show not every horror icon has to be a silenced masked zombie with a machete.
3.) The movie has definitely improved in production value from the last movie. While there are still signs of cheap production (i.e. a shot of a SWAT van passing by, and you can see the reflection of the cameramen), at least I can tell that set pieces, acting, and certain cinematography has improved over the last movie thanks to the production limitations no longer being an issue. I am glad that the studio gives them more time and money to have a little bit more creative freedom to make their movie.
1.) The editing is questionable to me, because there so many cuts (especially in fright scenes) that are supposed to reflect how the characters are feeling (or to be nice, show the numerous amount of characters’ reactions), and it works in certain areas, but it can be a bit nauseating. I do not like to see that many flash cuts, because I might end up having a seizure. The editing team needs to tone down the cuts, and show what needs to be shown.
2.) When it comes to the house sequence, I do not think some of these characters are necessary. Out of eight people in that house, I can pinpoint three of them that are not needed: Gus, Addison, and Laura. Gus gets immediately killed off as soon as he is introduced, so the movie could have done something similar in the first one like having a corpse in the middle of the house as an example for the characters to take their “game” seriously. Addison barely does a thing except spout exposition. Laura just stands there laying her back on the wall since she is clearly dying. You may argue that they may have a role in the movie, but their roles can easily be replaced by any of the characters in the house. Long story short, some of these characters are not needed.
3.) Just like the last movie (and horror movies in general), many of the characters are complete idiots. I know some of these people are supposed to be flawed, but there is a fine line of characters making dumb decisions and being complete morons. I am willing to suspend that disbelief in some cases, but it does not really help when some plot points do not really add up like how did Jigsaw manage to do some of these things? They are answered in the sequels (some of the answers are bad), but on this movie’s terms, it is really pushing the suspense of disbelief.
In October 28, 2005, Saw II was released into theaters in America after the success of the first Saw. Its predecessor did so well in the box office (the budget was $1.2 million and the box office was $103.9 million), the studio behind the movie, Lionsgate saw a chance for a franchise, and green-lit a sequel. Here we are; a sequel to the one of the most polarizing movies ever made, and it gets more polarizing as it progresses, but I digress. How does Saw II hold up? The movie has made some improvements over its predecessor, but not by much. It gives us an interesting antagonist with a compelling backstory, but his methods on dragging others into his “games” are absurd. Production value has improved, but it does not excuse some of the writing’s flaws and plot holes. Acting did get better, but some of these characters are not needed. If you loved the first movie, you will definitely love this one. Otherwise, people who were not interested in the previous movie will not find any interest in this as well. Huh…not a bad improvement, but there is room for more. Maybe the series is not as bad as everyone says…I hope.