Saw II

Saw II ★★★

Hooptober Ocho - film 10 of 31

"Remember Obi, once you are in hell, only the devil can help you out."

Saw II ups the ante with 7 victims playing for their lives at once, while John "Jigsaw" Kramer taunts the police about their whereabouts.

By having 7 individuals trapped in the same locale, the film evokes Cube even more than its predecessor, and also feels like a precursor to movies like Escape Room, as the characters work together (or don't) to solve the clues that will lead them to escape. Not all of them are that interesting (I've already forgotten at least a couple), but bringing back Amanda was some nice continuity from the first film.

Tobin Bell turns in a great performance as Jigsaw, getting much more screentime this time out. Donnie Wahlberg is decent as Detective Eric Matthews, who is such an incredible mismatch for the calculating psychopath he's dealing with. I also completely did not expect that this film could pull off a twist (really two twists) as good as the first film. Credit to Leigh Whannell and writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman for that.

There's a bunch more traps in this one and some of them are quite fun, like the pit of hypodermic needles and the razor box. It gets bloody and wince-inducing at points, without being total overkill. One question though - why are these movies edited like they're trying to induce seizures? I guess they were trying to keep with the in-house style of the first but I really do not like the editing once again.

Though not as mysterious or compelling as the original, Saw II is a good sequel that benefits from giving us more Tobin Bell and more Jigsaw.

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