Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Donnie Wahlberg, Erik Knudsen, Franky G
We dare you again…
Detective Eric Matthews is convinced to join the investigations of the serial killer nicknamed Jigsaw, a crazy but also brilliant individual who kidnaps and sets up elaborate traps in which the victim is supposed to learn to appreciate life, but usually ends up losing the game and dies a horrible death.
Jigsaw has a plan for detective Matthews, even going to the length of kidnapping his young son and letting the cops find him to play a game with the detective. His son is put in a house together with several others, all who has had previous time in jail because they were framed by Matthews. In order to stop Jigsaw and save his son, Matthews himself has to enter the game.
After the huge success of the first Saw, a sequel was definitely bound to happen and it didn’t take more than a year before this one was completed and put in cinemas across the world. This had a higher budget, although 5 million dollars is still not a big budget feature, and also had great success, making nearly 150 million dollars worldwide in theatres alone.
This one was made without James Wan who directed the first one. Wan was busy making Dead Sentence at the same time, but did end up serving as an executive producer together with his regular collaborator Leigh Whannell (who did put some touches to this script). The director this time around was Darren Lynn Bousman, a guy who would go on to do the two next Saw films aswell and also some cult films such as Repo! The Genetic Opera, the Mother’s Day remake and also The Devil’s Carnival.
Compared to the original, this one gets more nasty and mean. The main story is filled with plot holes and it is filled with crappy characters that are more annoying than anything else. It lacks the intensity of the first one and even if it does try to deliver a shocking ending this time around aswell, it does not feel very effective and I would have prefered if they went another way with the ending instead of trying to recreate the feeling from the original ending. A reason on why it isn’t very effective is that it isn’t even really an ending, but more of a cliffhanger for a future sequel which was bound to happen.
There are three characters that are interesting in this film, while the rest are just there as meat for the traps of Jigsaw. Jigsaw himself, or John his real name, gets more screen time and is played quite well by actor Tobin Bell. Donnie Wahlberg does a decent job as the main character Eric Matthews and Shawna Smith, an actress I’ve previously enjoyed seeing in The Blob (1988) and The Stand plays Amanda, a character that would play an important part in the Saw series.
Even though Saw 2 might be a bit more flashy, delivers more kills and gives us a bit more insight into the Jigsaw character, it fails to be scary or have any sort of intensity that the first one had. The annoying characters and lack of interesting story does bring this down a few notches, but as pure entertainment value you could still do a lot worse.