Sunday, October 29, 2017

Movie Review: Saw II

The ruthless, manipulative killer is back at it in this twisted horror sequel. Jigsaw's evil is exposed in the first scene where a man must choose between carving out his eye or having a deathmask full of spikes close on his head. The man makes the wrong decision and leaves a crime scene to be investigated by Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg). The body had puzzle pieces carved out of it. His ex-partner Detective Allison Kerry (Dina Meyer) tries to convince Matthews to work with her on the case. He can't help it and figures out a clue that leads to a SWAT team raid on a booby-trapped hideout and the surrender of John Kramer (Tobin Bell). Jigsaw takes the upper hand when he reveals a set of monitors that show a group of people captures including Matthews's son Daniel (Erik Knudsen).

The eight people trapped in the factory all wake up with no knowledge of how they got there. Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) is familiar with how Jigsaw operates having survived the ordeal before. She finds a tape recorder hidden in the wall which plays the tape of Jigsaw rules. They only have two hours after breathing in a deadly nerve agent and must find an antidote by solving the killer's riddle. Xavier Chavez (Franky G) disobey the order and a man has his head blown off as a result. Matthews must watch his son and the other victims explored the house in search of a way out. It is revealed on another tape that Obi Tate (Timothy Burd) kidnapped the others so he has to crawl into a furnace to get an antidote. He's gets burned alive. 

The SWAT leader Lt. Daniel Rigg (Lyriq Bent) wants to move forward but the cops have no clue how to find the victims as Matthews tries to convince Kramer to let his son go. Jigsaw's next challenge is for Xavier to crawl in a pit of needles to find a key but Xavier throws Amanda into the pit so she must search through the syringes. The timer goes off before they can open the door wasting Amanda's effort. As the effects of the nerve gas worsen, Xavier fights Jonas (Glenn Plummer) smashing a spiked bat into the back of his head and discovering that the number for the combination is on the back of each victims neck. Before she dies Laura (Beverley Mitchell) sees an X on a picture frame that reveals a clue. Addison (Emmanuelle Vaugier) and the others were arrested by Detective Matthews, Daniel's dad.

Eric Matthews takes matters into his own hands beating up John Kramer. Amanda and Daniel try to escape Xavier as Addison puts her hand into a trap box to get a syringe of the antidote. Xavier takes advantage of her helpless state to get the number off her neck but then leaves her to suffer. Detective Matthews helps Jigsaw escape believing that the killer will take the cop to his son. Amanda and Daniel prevent Xavier from getting into a room and find a trap door in the floor. They find themselves in the room from the first film. Detective Matthews enters the house finding the dead bodies. The SWAT team traces the signal of the camera to an empty house. Amanda convinces Xavier to cut the skin off the back of his own neck to learn his number. Daniel pretends to be passed out and uses one of the saws to cut Xavier's throat. The SWAT team learns that the monitors were actually playing a recording. Eric enters the room from the original but he's too late. A masked killer injects him with a substance that knocks him out while a safe opens back at the warehouse where they found Kramer to reveal Daniel inside. Eric is trapped in the same room as Amanda leaves a tape for him. She had been helping Kramer the whole time to pull off their latest macabre crime.

Saw II keeps the interesting twists of the first one and enough callbacks to be a solid sequel while still standing on its own. The traps are still gruesome and hard to watch as Jigsaw's disturbing plans play out. The movie relies more on the horror than any acting performance or solid directing. The story adds enough trap to keep the plot moving forward and the twist is enough of a payoff to sit through the disgusting images, though the memory of the film is a lot worse than the actual violence. The second Saw film escalates the franchise and shows that the film can be more than just one good story. 

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