Now I know what some of you may be thinking. “Why does he have the 2nd movie but not the first?” You know, that is an excellent question and there is a very simple answer to that question; I have no idea how I wound up with this movie. I never bought this movie and the only thing I can think of is that it wound up being left at my house by someone. Either way, I had watched, and enjoyed, the first movie so I didn’t have a problem with keeping this movie. So let’s dive right into today’s movie, Saw II.
The plot: A man named Michael regains consciousness inside a locked room and finds himself with a severely damaged right eye and wearing a collar with a spiked helmet attached to it. Suddenly, the TV in the room turns on and the clown face of Jigsaw comes on, telling him he wants to play the game. Jigsaw calls Michael an informant and tells him the death mask he is wearing is on a timer and the key is hidden inside his damaged eye. Michael screams in rage and accidentally sets off the mask so he begins looking around and finds a tool box containing a scalpel. He attempts to cut open his eye to get the key but can’t bring himself to do it and screams for help before the time runs out and the mask swings closed, killing him when the spikes impale his head. Elsewhere, Detective Eric Matthews goes to pick up his son Daniel, who was being held at another precinct for stealing. After getting him out, Eric and Daniel argue, with Daniel saying he should go back to his mom’s house early, and Eric yells at him that he should. The next night, Eric tries calling Daniel’s phone as he is worried about not hearing from him when he gets called to a crime scene. He meets his old partner, Detective Allison Kerry, who brought him down to identify Michael’s body and show him a message that Jigsaw left for him. Eric doesn’t want to get involved but when he recognizes the name on the mask, he contacts Allison, who has a SWAT team assembled. The first team goes in but trigger several traps, causing one man to have his legs broken while the other two are electrocuted. The rest of the team go in and manage to capture Jigsaw (a.k.a. John Kramer) but when Eric taunts him before telling the SWAT team to take him away, Jigsaw tells Eric that he has to stay where he is while Eric deals with the problem in the other room. Eric, Allison, and Lt. Daniel Rigg head into the room and find a series of monitors on a table, showing several people trapped in a house and one of them is Daniel. When Eric questions Jigsaw about it, he tells Eric that Daniel is in a safe place for now but he will be dead in less than two hours. Inside the house, Daniel, Xavier Chavez, Addison Corday, Laura Hunter, Jonas Singer, Obi Tate, and Gus Colyard have regained consciousness and are moving around the room they are in and when the last captive wakes up, it is revealed to be Amanda Young, the only person known to have survived Jigsaw’s game. When Amanda realizes what is going on, she screams out before frantically searching the room, eventually finding a micro cassette recorder. Amanda hits play and they all hear Jigsaw’s voice telling them that the doors will open in three hours but they have been breathing in a nerve agent that will kill them in two, and the only way to survive is to find the antidotes that are hidden in the house. Xavier grabs a note that was with the recorder and, despite the fact that the note says not to, uses the key inside on the door. As he turns the key, it activates a trap which causes a gun to fire through the peephole and kill Gus, who was looking through it at the time. Back at the factory, Eric asks Jigsaw what he wants and Jigsaw tells him he just wants to talk to Eric alone. Eric doesn’t want too but Allison convinces Eric to do it in order to give them time to trace the video feed to it’s source. While Eric sits down across from Jigsaw, who begins telling him what he knows about Eric, the captives at the house are searching the room when the door suddenly opens. They begin exploring the house to try and find a way out but realize that they are still trapped. Laura finds a door leading down to the basement, where they an envelope with Obi’s name on it pinned to a dummy’s chest. Xavier rips open the envelope, which contains another micro cassette, and when they play it, they learn that Obi helped kidnap them. The tape says that there are two syringes with the antidote inside the crematorium furnace, one for him and one for one of the other captives. After hearing the tape, Xavier threatens Obi and tells him to go get the syringes but when Obi grabs the second one, he activates the trap, which locks him inside and activates the furnace. Daniel, Xavier, and Jonas try to rescue him but it is too late and he ends up burning to death, along with the antidotes. As Daniel helps Laura, who had fainted, he talks with Amanda and asks why she had been chosen again if she had survived already. Jonas interrupts them and tells them that they found another door but when Xavier manages to open it, he sets off a timer on a locked door inside the room. Jonas finds another tape, meant for Xavier, and when he plays it, they learn Xavier was a drug dealer and the key to the door is in a hole filled with syringes. Xavier grabs Amanda and throws her into the hole, forcing her to look for the key. Amanda eventually finds it but Xavier is too late to open the door and walks away from the group. Returning back to the room with the safe, Xavier notices a number written on the back on Gus’ neck and realizes it is part of the combination for the safe. When Jonas confronts him about his actions, Xavier threatens him and the two end up fighting, with Xavier eventually killing Jonas. Meanwhile, Amanda, Addison, Daniel, and Laura are walking along the hallway when Laura collapses and points out a picture, with an broken frame resembling an X. When Addison looks at the back of the picture, she sees a picture of Eric and Daniel taped to it and learns that Eric is Daniel’s father. As Laura succumbs to the nerve agent, Addison and Amanda both abandon Daniel, as Eric was the one that arrested them. Addison finds a syringe inside a glass box but when she reaches in for it, she finds her arms trapped by the bladed opening. As Xavier starts calling out for the others, Amanda returns to Daniel and they try to get away and end up running into him, but they escape and lock themselves inside the safe room. Back at the factory, Eric has learned that all of the people in the house with Daniel were people he arrested after planting evidence on them. He proceeds to torture Jigsaw and forces him to take him to Eric and Jigsaw agrees if Eric will help him get out of there. Eric agrees and they use Jigsaw’s hidden elevator to escape and drive off. Just as they do that, the tech team is able to trace the camera’s feed and Allison tells Rigg that they have the address and head out there. Xavier finds Addison and leaves her to die after reading her number, then goes after Daniel and Amanda. Daniel and Amanda try to hold the door against Xavier, with Amanda wedging the spiked bat into the corner of the door. As they continue to brace the door, Amanda notices Jonas’ blood revealing a hidden door in the floor and has Daniel help her movie the safe to locate it. They find it locked but remembering the key that was with the first tape, Daniel finds it on Jonas’ body and they quickly head down the secret door. Making their way through the tunnel, they soon find themselves in the bathroom, with the corpses of Dr. Lawrence Gordon and Adam Stranheight (the victims from the first movie) lying on the floor. When Xavier enters the room, Amanda tells him that Daniel died from the nerve agent and Xavier says he need to see the back of their necks. When Amanda says he will need her to read the number on his neck, Xavier proceeds to cut off the skin on the back of his neck to get the number. When he approaches the two of them, Daniel suddenly kicks him, then slashes his throat with the hacksaw that he grabbed, killing Xavier. Meanwhile, Eric is directed by Jigsaw towards the house and he makes his way through, seeing all the bodies of the victims as he looks for Eric. When he makes it to the bathroom, he sees a body in the tub but when he approaches it, a person wearing a pig’s mask jabs a syringe in his leg, knocking him unconscious. At the same time, Rigg and the SWAT team reach the address the video feed is coming from but Allison, back at the factory, says she can’t see them on the monitors. Rigg discovers a set of VCR’s and realize that they were not watching a live feed, but rather something that happened earlier. When the time runs out on the counter at the factory, the nearby safe suddenly opens and reveals Daniel, safe and wearing an oxygen mask to stay alive in the safe. When Eric comes too, he finds himself shackled to the wall of the bathroom and a micro cassette player nearby. When he plays it, he learns that Amanda is Jigsaw’s apprentice and plans on taking over after he dies, with Eric being her first victim. Amanda suddenly appears and as Eric yells at her, she tells him “Game over.” before shutting the door and locking him in the room.
Saw II met with poor results from the critics, holding a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Saw II is likely to please the gore-happy fans of the original, though it may be too gruesome for those not familiar with first film’s premise.” After the success of the first movie, a second one was immediately given the green light for production but as the movie was being filmed, only the main actors involved knew how the movie would end, with everyone else not receiving the last 20-25 pages of script. Saw II was a box office hit, earning $147.7 million off of a $4 million budget, and ending up being the highest grossing movie of the franchise in the US and Canada.
This is a great horror movie and, even though it has been a while since I saw the first movie, I think I still like this one better. The acting was great, with Tobin Bell (Jigsaw) and Shawnee Smith (Amanda) doing a great job reprising their roles. Dina Meyer was also good reprising her role as Allison, while Donnie Wahlberg (Eric), Erik Knudsen (Daniel), and Franky G (Xavier) were equally good. The story was pretty good, with a lot of good twists and misdirects to keep you guessing how the movie was going to end. I also liked the fact that the captives were actually in the same house that the events of the first movie took place in, but I also liked the hint about Amanda being Jigsaw’s accomplice, as she was lying unconscious on the floor while everyone else was awake, much like Jigsaw was in the first movie. The traps were well designed and pretty effective, doing a great job in increasing the horror aspect of the movie as well as ramping up the tension and cringe factor. I don’t know anybody that didn’t at least cringe a little when Amanda was wading through that pit of syringes to look for the key. Again, this is a great horror movie on all fronts and if you are a fan of the genre, this is well worth seeing.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5