Saw II Reviews
Horror 50% Mystery 50%
I'm not a Saw franchise fan, having basically departed the series after the fourth film, the degree of gore just becoming too much; however, both the original James Wan classic and the immediate sequel are films I have always respected, and enjoyed. Darren Bousman's film is actually the superior of the two, lacking the potential boredom and dullness of the first. Note I say potential, because Saw is still a great film, having done more for the horror genre than Wes Craven's iconic Scream (I would also posit that Saw and Saw II are superior to any of the Elm Street films).
To get to specifics, about why I think Saw II is an incredible work of art, the visual spectrum of the film is all of attractive, appropriate and memorable. The lighting of dark mixed with intense vibrancy has stood the test of time, being more appealing and soothing than most of todays Marvel Studios films. The house Jigsaw uses and the derelict warehouse he faces off against Detective Matthews in are both symmetrical yet opposites - one is light and the other is dark, and the showing of either is structured, aimed to fulfil the human psyche.
Relative to its own series, the element of interest with Saw II, both with respect to visuals and story, is its difference due to similarity: Saw II is the same as the later sequels, yet is far superior for that precise reason. The house occupants, lead by Shawnee Smith's Amanda, feel like a much more meaningful set of characters than those of later Saw films, essentially able to inspire the relevant ideas of reality in the viewer's mind. Human compassion. Lifestyle difference. Cultural clash.
Franky G, Emmanuelle Vaugier, and Glenn Plummer are amongst a house of people who represent the truth of exact identity; who is a person, relative to other people?
Juxtaposing the events of the house, Eric Matthews needs Jigsaw too. His race against time to save his son is executed brilliantly, the momentum as good as momentum's portrayal in so many other films known to be classics.
The dialogue and character interactions make the film, but they do more: they represent greatness outside the arena of filmmaking, able to comfort the viewer irrespective of time and circumstance.
Donnie Wahlberg is probably the best protagonist of the Saw series, his own interactions with Dina Meyer's Allison Kerry (another great character of the franchise) are a cool example of life's condition - seriously, even after ten years the conversations between Kerry and Matthews are more fulfilling to watch than any interactions in most superhero films, or contemporary action blockbusters.
Saw II is the distillation of sinister and intelligence; hope and hopelessness. It comes across as stylistic as all the other Saw entries, but is somehow just not one with the rest, distinctly balanced in the use of fantastic and normal.
Saw II is a true identity of classic cinema - twenty years from now, it'll have once again stood the test of time.