Movie Review #903
|Nationwide release on October 28, 2005. Horror/Mystery. This film is rated R for grisly violence and gore, terror, language and drug content. Runs 93 minutes. American-Canadian co-production. Director: Darren Lynn Bousman. Written by: Leigh Whannell and Darren Lynn Bousman. Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Donnie Wahlberg, Erik Knudsen, and Franky G.|
“SAW II” IS ANOTHER THRILLING NOIR/HORROR MOVIE, DESPITE ITS FLAWS.
By Alexander Diminiano
“Saw II” kicks off with a man waking up in a dark room, his head caught in a device that has been nicknamed a “Venus flytrap” by its maker. We all know who the maker is: John Kramer, or “Jigsaw” (Tobin Bell). He tells his victim that if he doesn’t find the key to unlock the trap within a minute, it’ll close on him like an iron maiden. The scene plays out almost shot for shot like the “reverse bear trap” scene in the first “Saw”. Except this time, the victim fails.
But if we’re looking for the scene that’s as great as the “reverse bear trap” scene, it’s not the one that imitates it. Director Darren Lynn Bousman really heightens the tension in a “needles pit trap” scene. Truly the only thing worse than trying to find a needle in a haystack, can be searching frantically for a key somewhere in a pit of needles, all loaded with some sort of drug. Focus on the word frantically. These characters only have one minute to do so. The seeming impossibility of such a task is successfully, thrillingly attained.
The most major compliment I have for “Saw II” is for its editing. I’ll say it: it’s clever. Director Darren Lynn Bousman really has a creative eye for this sequel. His scene-to-scene transitions are as witty as South Korean director Park Chan-wook’s, while his rapid fire mixing and matching of shots mimics James Wan’s style in the first film.
The story hasn’t yet fallen flat. It’s taken a different path, though. In “Saw II”, we find a cop who has been enjoying every moment that he doesn’t have to spend with his son…until his son is locked in a house with several strangers and countless deadly traps. A deadly nerve agent is permeating the house and will kill him and the others within three hours, but as he has been asleep for an hour of this time, he only has two hours to escape. Doing so requires finding a certain code that will unlock a safe, in which he will find an antidote, if he’s lucky enough to make it that far.