The speed with which the sequel to Saw made it to our screens made me a little nervous. Combined with the knowledge that Saw II in fact started out as a separate and original film by writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman, I was almost certain it would shame the memory of James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s breakthrough feature.
Thankfully Saw II is a great sequel. It may not have such a brilliant premise at its heart, but it stands proudly beside its predecessor in terms of genuine terror. There are some grotesquely horrendous moments in this film, and the high points (or low points, depending how you look at it) had its target audience of teeny boppers squealing with delight and/or revulsion. A number of the original cast have returned to reprise their roles, and the story flawlessly leads on from the first film. Charlie Clouser is again providing the score which is one of the highlights, particularly during the revelatory moments.
The film has the same gritty low budget look of Saw, and a snappy pace. Some of the deadly traps seem a little silly (or at least some of the trapees are certainly stupid), but there are a number of unforgettable moments. The first film certainly seemed to form the template for some of the editing and stylistic decisions in Saw II, and it’s great that the two fit so nicely together.
The cast of (for the most part) lesser-knowns do well, even if their characters are already on their way to death as of the ten minute mark. Donnie Wahlberg makes for a good bitter cop, and the scenes where he goes head to head with his nemesis are strong, if unrealistic. As well as a whole new deadly ‘game’, this film answers some of the questions posed from the first film, as well as going into the history of the notorious ‘jigsaw’ killer.
To say much more would be to ruin the film. If you enjoyed Saw then you’re bound to love this one also. Saw II is a kind of averaged-out version of the first film – never quite reaching the same highs, but certainly skipping over some of the lows. (Remember Danny Glover’s role as ‘Stupidest Cop Ever’)? I’m certain there will be a Saw III next year, but chances are it’ll never be as good a sequel as this.Rating: