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Saw II (2005)

Written by: Leigh Whannell  & Darren Lynn Bousman Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman

   Now having the cat out of the bag and being able to say we knew who-dun-it, where to take the story? With four times the budget and another first time Director attached, a similar risk began that the Producers behind Twisted Pictures felt confident in once again. Wrapping up in a matter of 25 days and able to capture the same essence of the first film with returning Writer (Leigh Whannell) and Director of Photography (David Armstrong) to assist.

We open to a familiar situation as a victim of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is told the key to the contraption around his neck lay behind his eye. All the while his surrounding draped in the killers signature color; green. Succumbing to the device as he’s unable to complete the task at hand. Soon segwaying to Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) picking up his son Daniel (Erik Knudsen). A hostile relationship consuming them as being unable to cope with the divorce, newly found ways of getting attention and constant barrier they couldn’t seem to brake. Stress from work not helping when asked by Detective Kerry (Dina Meyer) to attend a crime scene in which a message was left for him: Look Closer Detective Matthews. Unsurprisingly, choosing to ride along as they had found the location of the puzzled destructive force that is Jigsaw. Too easily it seems, as he humbly waited upstairs while finishing his dinner, an almost direct laugh in their face. Always that many more steps ahead in the game.

Doing a great job of having Tobin Bell as the main character in the sequel as his voice is undeniable fitting for the genre. The way in which he toys with the Detective comes naturally as the slurs are unnecessary yet meant to test Eric. Seeing if able to rise above his resentment and give into something of which he had no control over. Even confessing the location of Daniel, though in a playful manner, possessing a cruelness of which he’s seemed to master. Manipulating his subjects so well that they’re unable to decipher right from wrong once in his game. Discovering a room of people (7 this time around) with familiarity ringing fresh as another body adorns the ground while others are unaware of the surrounding circumstances. The players:

Daniel Matthews (Erik Knudsen): Makes sense considering the Detective he called out. Surrounding him with the convicts his father had wrongfully put away as a means of Eric seeing the damage potentially done from not doing his job as intended. Not to mention the life lessons that could be had with a father/son relationship with it’s fair share of turmoil. Simply needing to entertain Jigsaw, which would lead to the safe place of which Daniel had been put. The end result not fairing as should.

Xavier (Franky G): Typical thug hothead whose big muscles and esteemed vocabulary hadn’t been as kind as hoped. Maintaining the idea of not needing anybody but himself, he’s able to put in the work towards getting out. But bad attitude and the deadly nerve agent coursing through his system, seemed to be the only thing accounted for in the end.

Jonas (Glenn Plummer): The calm one within the bunch that would rather the group come together and find a way out. Owing a lot of money to people that would be looking for him and if unable to find, moving to his family. Worried more about what would happen to them then himself, he ultimately stands off with Xavier and ends up losing his head.

Addison (Emmanuelle Vaugier): The stripper with a heart of gold (they exist, right?) whose incarceration come wrongfully so, thus affecting her life choices. That’s what they all say. Not really adding or subtracting from the groups progress, simply another pawn.

Laura (Beverley Mitchell): The hysterical woman whose symptoms get the best of her though able to remember Obi having been the last thing viewing before passing out. Slowly deteriorating as they roamed about the house as her body finally gives up.

Obi (Tim Burd): Having the least to say out of the bunch, he’s also the only one to know about Jigsaw and in fact, having helped put a few people in the exact same location. Willingly going through with his test yet unable to see it out and burning out in the end.

With lastly, Amanda: Our favorite (and only) survivor from Jigsaw whose clean ways relapsed when she was found not treating herself right, once again. Holding onto the biggest secret within the bunch as her involvement with Jigsaw doesn’t save her from her fair share of pain while in the house.

All the while Detectives Kerry (Dina Meyer) and Rigg (Lyriq Bent) play angels and demons, advocating which decision to make and way to go about dealing with John (Jigsaw). Ultimately evil getting it’s wish as Eric is unable to wait any longer, beating him almost to death, as he’s given directions to his son’s location. Three different realities combining as we follow the Detective, Riggs team and what we believe current feed of the survivors left as they seem neck and neck with each other. Suspense running over as we find that the events taking place on the monitors had been a couple days old by this point. Sending Riggs to a dummy house and Eric ending up where this entire fiasco had begun with a new face behind Jigsaw.

Though the jaw drop offer is somewhat less encouraged in his film, the fact of finding out who had been helping him may raise more questions than answer. Which they do take into account in the next couple of films, it just may initially take away from finding everything believable. Which could in turn make one feel differently about the film. The fact that Leigh came back to write the sequel certainly helped. Choosing Darren came from seeing his short film and finding many elements they felt worked in the Saw universe. The fact that we got to see an entire house filled with the contraptions was also a nice change of pace. We had a variety of people with something in common while slowing dying from a vaporous chemical filtering through the house, of which they could survive, if only playing by the rules. Though with as big of a house I would have liked to see more traps set up. It seemed like a lot of lost potential, despite adding some great moments for the franchise. We also get to focus more on Jigsaw and his history, the entirety of the film puppeteered by his character. Once everything clicks in the end, it’s hard to say you couldn’t see most of the clues for what they were. Though not as strong as the original, it left most hanging as to what would be in store for the next installment.
Mad Facts: The original idea for Jigsaw came when James Wan had heard a news story that spoke of someone who would break into people’s houses, yet only to tickle the occupants feet. When eventually caught he confessed to doing so because being forced to upon being sent a jigsaw piece.  After the first installment was released the two received a letter from someone who said he liked the film and seeing his work, writing in an almost childlike manner. That’s just effin’ creepy.