by Gary Schultz
Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
The first Saw film was one of the largest grossing independent horror films ever, costing only 1 million dollars to make and “saw” a 50 million dollar profit at the US box office alone. It would seem the sequel genius titled Saw 2 will be following the same path, made for a mere 4 million dollars and bringing in 31 million in its opening weekend alone. It would seem that we now have a new horror franchise on our hands and if it’s gruesome gore and violence you crave then Saw 2 delivers in shovelfuls.
Donnie Wahlberg stars as a beat detective trying to rescue his son and several others who all have a connection to him from the cancer stricken serial killer known as Jigsaw. Shawnee Smith returns from the first film as Jigsaw’s only surviving victim kidnapped with the others in a house full of traps and twisted devices of torture. And she may be the only person who has the answers to Jigsaw’s mystery. But of course as these victims attempt to escape from the house they are brutalized by Jigsaw’s relentless game. Jigsaw said himself “Oh yes, there will be blood…” And there were gallons of it.
It’s hard to talk about this film without revealing too much plot so I’ll say this. This film has a stronger narrative than the first and does a nice job of creating suspense. Although many of the situations are predictable and not really that fresh the methods of horrifying the audience are relentless. This film is filthy and violent with characters that are more concerned with saving themselves than the greater challenging which is solving Jigsaw’s game to survive. As the plot progresses and we learn that certain characters have more of a connection then they realized but with only two hours to find an antidote from the poison nerve gas they have been breathing will internal conflicts kill them before Jigsaw does? Does this film make a better video game plot than and movie plot? Will we see more twists and surprises? You bet.
Here’s the Bottom Line: All in all this was a great Halloween film that is so violent and gory guaranteed to gross out all the teenage girls in the audience. Saw 2 does work on gimmicks for scares but who cares they do it so well. Too many jump cuts, I know it’s stylized but many times I felt like I was watching Easy Rider on acid. I love the look of this film grain and filth. Nice. Yes they found a few nice ways to tie the first film into this one, which made for a much better sequel than expected. Somebody went to horror sequel school and did it right. You should also check out Saw 2’s website, it’s loaded with extras including a director’s blog.
Gary Schultz is an independent filmmaker in Chicago.
Got a problem? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org