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‘Saw II’ severs the competition

Saw II trades in the formula that made its predecessor a huge success for a sequel packed with plenty of surprises and scares. The movie changes the focus from two individuals trapped in a dreary situation to a group of people who must work together to escape impending death.

The sequel furthers the film’s backstory, building what has the possibility of becoming a long-standing horror franchise.

Obvious genre flaws aside, Saw II is probably one of the most satisfying horror sequels in the past decade as others, such as The Ring Two, failed miserably to even match their predecessors.

The writing/directing team behind the original delivers a sequel that matches the harrowing feel of its predecessor. Saw II will excite those who have come to experience and treasure the original.

The police have finally located and apprehended the famed Jigsaw killer, but not before his final puzzle is set in motion. A detective (Donnie Wahlberg) is chosen to play the game, risking life and death to save his son. Jigsaw has taken seven strangers and placed them in a rigged mansion where they must navigate their way out before the poison in their veins claims their lives. The group of victims must work with one another to learn what trait links them and find the clues to escape the deadly game. With his terminal cancer taking its toll, Jigsaw is looking to become more than a run-of-the-mill serial killer, but instead a legend among them.

Director Darren Lynn Bousman has grown considerably from 2001’s Identity Lost to Saw II, utilizing strong visuals and creating perfect transitions between scenes. Bousman has crafted a sequel that invites the viewer into the world of Jigsaw without compromising the rules set in the first installment. Writer Leigh Whannell has prepared a script that expands past the two-man dynamic and instead puts the focus squarely on its killer with a cause. The screenplay circles around the killer’s true intent and the ultimate goal of his horrendous crimes.

Saw II doesn’t skimp on the surprise twists or the bloodshed. As with the majority of horror sequels, the body count is higher and the death scenes are more elaborate. The difference between Saw II and other horror sequels is that it doesn’t bother to attempt to recreate the first film, but instead build upon its premise. While the results are mixed with moments of poor dialogue and predictable outcomes, Saw II is still a cut above the rest.

Rating: B