See Saw with Alex, Day 2: Saw II
Enter round two.
Day Two: Saw IIFear, I think, is one of the essential components of movie watching that almost completely disappears as we grow older. When was the last time you sat down for a movie truly afraid of what images it was going to show you? As a kid, I'd wander the horror aisles of rental joints, filling my mind with the most horrific images based on these sun-blanched VHS covers. Of course, one day you man up and get the movies (or get your older brother to rent them) and watch them and they're nowhere near as bad as you imagined.
Having deliberately avoided movies broadly categorized as torture porn, I saw the first Saw afraid. Fear heightens your senses, gets you involved in the movie, and suspends your cynicism. I started watching Saw II with the idea of maintaining this level of emotion, but it was clear from the opening sequence that expending that much emotion would be unnecessary.
Saw II is more standard horror, with slicker production and bright, poppy cinematography. It's not the gut-wrencher its predecessor was, but it's also infinitely more enjoyable.
We're introduced to Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), a detective working close on the Jigsaw case. His team lucks out in finding Jigsaw in his lair, revealed as a pathetic cancer-ridden patient named John Kramer (Tobin Bell). Of course, the tables turn: eight people are revealed to be trapped in a house being slowly pumped with lethal gas, with one of them being Matthews's son. Then Jigsaw proposes a game: Matthews has to talk to him for a bit and his son will appear safe and sound.
And I dug the final twist. Matthews, having gone off the rails, beats, tortures, and drives Jigsaw to the house, discovering only a trap: he gets chained up in the same bathroom from the original, his son is revealed safe in Jigsaw's lair and Amanda (survivor of the reverse beartrap in the first) as Jigsaw's protégé. Definitely a more logical plot twist than the original.
Is Saw II scary? Not at all. But I did get wrapped up in the drama and increased gore content. Ask me if I would prefer terror or entertainment night after night, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter.
Most inventive trap: A pit full of hypodermic needles. Shawnee Smith is 2 for 2!
Stupid person in a horror movie moment: Using a key on a door when specifically instructed not to. Sort of an obvious one.
See Saw schedule:
- Day 1 (10/15): Saw (2004)
- Day 2 (10/16): Saw II (2005)
- Day 3 (10/19): Saw III (2006)
- Day 4 (10/20): Saw IV (2007)
- Day 5 (10/21): Saw V (2008)
- Day 6 (10/23): Saw VI (2009)