Saw II

Saw II ★★½

Let's get this out of the way now. Following a completely gamechanging film like Saw is no easy task. It's hard enough to make a good sequel without it being a sequel to one of the most influential films of the 21st century.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman was the man behind the camera for Saw 2, and would continue guiding the franchise through part four. I give him mad props for taking on such an insane challenge. For the impossible task he had to do, he does a fairly competent job.

Saw 2 is essentially two films in one. 

The first is a fascinating storyline that provides the origin story  and clearer motivation for Jigsaw. I quite like that film. 

The second film is a group of what may be the most unlikable and unsympathetic band of victims to be seen in a horror film. (Except maybe the Friday the 13th remake. I mean, geez.) These scummy folks struggle to survive the elaborate traps laid out by Jigsaw. I unfortunately didn't quite like that film.

Because I have such different feelings toward the two main storylines of the film, my feelings toward the film in it's entirety is pretty mixed.

Don't get me wrong, there are some creative death scenes, great gore effects, and some interesting filmmaking techniques but overall, the movie just falls flat in too many areas to come anywhere near it's predecessor.

Donnie Wahlberg does a good job with the cookie cutter "angry Boston cop" character he is given, and Tobin Bell is sufficiently creepy and villainous (as always), but no one else stands out. 

Though it has some merits, this film - even with it's trim 90 minute runtime - gives the viewer the same feeling as the victims involved. You're simply trapped with some nasty characters for a long time in a small space, and the longer you're there, the more you'll want to get out and get to fresh air.

For the Saw completionist, it's mandatory viewing. For the horror fan, it's not the worst way to spend an hour and a half. For the more casual movie goer, just watch the first film of the franchise again.

(This review is based the unrated cut of the film.)

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