Whenever I see a sequel to a horror film, I feel like it’s a bad filmmaking decision because the originals are usually self-conclusive, and the sequels are just baiting audiences for more profit. That’s exactly the case with SAW II, it’s not a film that will blow your mind, and it’s not a film that does essentially anything good at all.
Director James Wan was apparently so appalled by the script of this sequel that he took a back seat and didn’t even choose to be one of the lead producers for the film. So, let’s talk more in detail!
How to Stream or Download Saw II
To stream or to download this sequel to Saw from a digital store, click on the Download button at the end of the review.
The Movie Review
The sequel to the original film follows Detective Eric Matthews as he’s on the hunt for the Jigsaw Killer. However, it starts with a group of ex-cons who are trapped within a house by the Jigsaw Killer. He had seemingly injected them all with a toxin, which would lead to their death within two hours if they don’t find an antidote for it.
They must go through a series of deadly trials that will test their mental and physical strength’s to its maximum. Meanwhile, the chase for the Jigsaw Killer continues exactly where it was left off in the first film, and it’s taken into one of the most boring plotlines in horror history!
James Wan did not return as director for this money milking sequel to his passion project. He knew that the film was not going to be great by any means whatsoever, it feels forced in all aspects. The film has a plot that uses tiny plot devices to push its story forward, such as the old guy, characters’ deaths, or even the main character Eric Matthews.
He is used constantly to set up the events that will happen next, and most of the ex-convicts end up dying horribly which means that there’s no tension for their escape either.
The worst part about this film by far is the script, with some of the worst dialogue I’ve heard in a decently produced horror film. Sure, horror films are mainly supposed to be campy back in 2005, and they’re supposed to have much more of that one-liner action going on than anything else. However, SAW was a film that subverted those tropes by being a clear-cut story about desperation and depravity.
The sequel ditches that aspect by trying to be more of a murder mystery film and pushes this narrative about chasing the Jigsaw Killer instead. It just doesn’t work as well, it’s actually really bland overall for the most part.
The one thing that I can appreciate are perhaps the performances. The acting in this sequel is by far an improvement over the original film at points, but if I’m being honest; some of the side characters feel really weird to watch. Tobin Bell in particular as the Jigsaw Killer is such a horrible performance, he tries to act very intimidatingly but in a quiet, smoldering way. It doesn’t work at all and makes it seem like he’s overdoing everything.
He gives long monologues that just feel annoying to watch and listen to, and it’s just horrible. Donnie Wahlberg as Eric Matthews though on the other hand is a breath of fresh air, giving the film more likable content.
The cinematography is a huge improvement over the previous film too, this time around they found a proper cinematographer in David Armstrong. The film has a constant yellow/greenish hue to it, which doesn’t look very good but the overall cinematography feels crisper. The film feels like it has better image quality, and better shots in general. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it gets the job done in giving the film at least a different feel than the previous one.
The Bottom Line
Honestly, SAW II could’ve been so much more fun if it just focused on the convicts trying to escape. The whole plot about the detective chasing the Jigsaw Killer was a waste of screen time and could’ve been used to perhaps add more content to the actual escape sequences. I particularly did not enjoy this film, it reeked of a product that lacked a vision, or just a soul.
It’s a film made for the sole purpose of making money, and while it did succeed by making over 10 times more than its budget of 4 million dollars; SAW II fails as a film that we can like. It’s one of the most outdated returns to trope formulaic films in the horror genre.