Saw II
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Writer: Darren Lynn Bousman & Leigh Whannell
Producer: Mark Burg, Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell, Dina Meyer, Erik Knudsen, Glenn Plummer, Franky G
MPAA Rating:R
read my spoiler disclaimer

     "Oh yes, there will be blood." That is the tagline for this sequel to last year's indy-horror film turned blockbuster, Saw. It ain't no lie. There is blood. Buckets and buckets of it. This film lets everyone know right from the get-go, that this one isn't for the squeamish. Oh yes, there will be blood.

      The movie pits a new band of "heroes" up against a sadistic game conceived and started by none other than the infamous killer, Jigsaw. The protagonists (eight of them) find themselves in a locked room with seemingly no way out. There are some other distractions in the room too; they must work together to discover the way out or suffer a horrible death. One of the captives is Amanda (Smith) who played one of Jigsaw's games in the first film. Meanwhile, Detective Matthews (Wahlberg) is hot on Jigsaw's case along with, reprising her role from Saw 1, Detective Kerry (Meyer). Matthews learns quickly that he may be more involved in the game than he knows.

      First off, this movie drove me nuts. The main characters (except for Jigsaw) are so stupid! I realize they're in a very stressful situation and they aren't all the sharpest needles in the stack (mild spoiler pun intended), but please; some of the stuff these charachters do border on mental retardation. They don't pay any attention to what's happening around them or learn from it even slightly. After you've seen numerous deaths via booby-traps in a house, would you simply climb into an incinerator for fun? I think not.

      Secondly, at least for me, it was fairly predictable. I figured out most of what was going on right away. That's actually too bad. I like to be surprised and Saw II simply was too easy to "figure out." Not everything, but most of it was too simple; at least for me. Again, as in the original, I found myself wanting to scream at the screen, "why don't you just do this!?" But instead the characters fumble about and scream and yell and we watch as they are led to their demise. Annoying.

      Saw II managed to find slightly better actors this time around. The original had some of the worst acting ever. Although this film picked up some slightly better talent, it still was very sub-par. Tobin and Wahlberg stand-out, but only compared to the rest of idiots on the set.

      The story-teller tries to delve into Jigsaw's mind and explain to us why he does what he does. It really doesn't matter. The problem is this: for Jigsaw's plan to work out, everything must go exactly perfectly in this house. If it doesn't, the whole story won't work and it is completely pointless and loses is meaning. He's got all these people trapped and they all happen to do exactly what they are supposed to do (totally by happen-stance). You'll realize this at the end.

      If you liked the first Saw, I guess I would say go check this one out too. It's not nearly as clever, but it delivers some shock and awe and something to ponder, even if that is pondering how this whole story is even possible. Just a warning though, you're probably in for a big let-down if you think you'll see something as interesting and original as the... well, original. I can't explain all of it without giving away spoilers, but aside from all the blood, I was just annoyed the whole time by the characters' actions (or inactions). It's not scary, just a series of gross-outs. I'd save your dollar. You may need it to slit your wrists after watching Saw II.

My review of the first Saw movie
A funny and less conventional review of Saw 2
Complete cast and crew (and other info) for Saw 2 at