Brian J.’s review published on Letterboxd:
Saw II is just as important to the genre as the first film; they go hand and hand and compliment each other to form the true Saw experience.
Bousman’s first sequel adds a new dimension to the story, thus commencing the complex web of narrative threads that will build and twist throughout the series. Bousman’s flashy editing, rancid color scheme, and detailed gore zone visits/elaborate death traps kick off a multimillion dollar franchise, for better or worse. It’s more fun than the original, taking on a playful yet mean-spirited tone, and feels more cinematic in its composition.
Another strength is the platform it created for Tobin Bell to become Jigsaw. He plays the villain as a multi sided character, giving him structure while also keeping him mysterious. Bell is just as iconic as Robert Englund’s Freddy or Anthony Hopkins’s Hannibal. It’s a classic performance and a classic character, full of depth and darkness.
For a first-time filmmaker, Bousman delivered the goods. Flawed, but gloriously over the top. Watched via HBO Max streaming.