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Saw II (R)

Release Date: October 28th, 2005 by Lions Gate Films.
The Cast: Tobin Bell, Shawnee Smith, Donnie Wahlberg, Erik Knudsen, Franky G, Glenn Plummer, Beverley Mitchell, Dina Meyer, Emmanuelle Vaugier.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman.

BASIC PREMISE: Detective Eric Mason (Wahlberg) must save his son and seven others trapped in a booby-trapped abandoned house designed by the infamous Jigsaw (Bell).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: When a man gets his eyes gauged out by a facial mask in the violent opening scene, it gives you a good foreshadow of more similarly violent scenes to come. Saw was more of a mystery “who-done-it?” However, Saw II unveils the “who” part within the first ten minutes. As Jigsaw sits in his underground lair, he points to a set on monitors that show a bunch of people trapped in a room. Detective Eric Mason’s son happens to be one of the victims. What makes this film more suspenseful and mysterious than Saw is that there’s actually a reason why Jigsaw chose each victim, including the detective’s son. A few scenes even show the human side of Jigsaw instead of making him into a complete monster. He also has somewhat of a motive for all of his torturing. The scenes cut back and forth from the victims’ challenging ordeal to the detective’s interrogation of Jigsaw. The victims have a very clear mission: they have 2 hours to find all eight of the vaccines that would save their lives from a deadly virus that’s creeping into their system. This game may not be fun for them, but for the audience it makes for a very surprising and scary ride. The relentless blood and guts add to the gross-out factor and create some very squeamish moments. After a series of plot twists and revelations, the last thirty minutes are filled with nail-biting suspense as the victims race against the clock to find the ever-so-crucial vaccines.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Although this isn’t a profound study of the mind of madman, it does shed light on the fact that Jigsaw might have been sane at one point in his life until a tragic event made him look at life in a very sinister perspective. He also mentions the Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” concept, which really starts to be fleshed out in the final thirty minutes. The rules of his game are quite thought-provoking, especially because he gives subtly helpful hints to the victims through a voice-recorder while he still puts them in a life-or-death situation.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Creepier, scarier, and bloodier than the first! Jigsaw deserves to be among the most haunting villains since Hannibal Lecter!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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