tazz13’s review published on Letterboxd:
It would be hard to top the first film, but Saw II comes close. They upped the budget and as a result it's a little more slick this time and the acting is slightly better as well. It also really nails down the formula this time, with A and B stories that follow "the game" and the police procedural that eventually intersect for a twist ending. Jigsaw is front and center this time, along with Billy, Hello Zepp, and the same editing style from the first film. It all works well.
This is also the film that made the traps a big part of the franchise going forward, with the needle pit and the venus fly trap being the most memorable (and along with it the label of torture porn). It's also the movie that introduced Jigsaw apprentices, but Tobin Bell is still the main focus in this one and he's pretty awesome as a smug mastermind. Seriously, he's like the greatest criminal of all-time. And he doesn't even need modern shit. Tube TVs, cassette recorders and a couple power tools and he has the next several years of events mapped out to a T. It's great.
The ending is stellar, coming very close to equaling the twist from the first movie, which was a tall order. Other horror sequels take note - this is how it's done.