Cut Off at the Legs

Columbus Alive | October 27, 2005
With the original 2004 Saw, director James Wan and writer/co-star Leigh Whannel (who horribly overplayed Cary Elwes’ fellow captive Adam) seemed to be on the verge of making a compelling horror movie, having thrown their audience into the same situation as the bewildered victims. But instead of sticking to that claustrophobic, screw-tightening scenario, they unfortunately left the room to offer up an awkward amalgam of smart low-budget horror, a Seven-style serial killer thriller, and a half-assed slasher hero movie.

The sequel, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who co-writes with Whannel (who leaves the acting to the actors this time), is, in that regard, quite a perfect sequel. It is at times just as clever as the original and, at other times, just as monumentally stupid.

Tobin Bell’s Jigsaw, the thematically confused killer (pig masks, clown puppets, jigsaw pieces) returns for another round of self-improvement through terror, but this time he gets busted almost right out of the gate by a police detective played by former New Kid on the Block Donnie Wahlberg (who should have a lucrative career in movies where the filmmakers need someone who looks sort of like Mark Wahlberg). Jigsaw has some insurance in the form of the detective’s son, however, who he’s trapped in a trap-filled house along with seven strangers, including Shawnee Smith, a survivor from the first film.

While Jigsaw’s racially diverse victims—the girls all scantily clad, naturally—get picked off by one laughably elaborate trap after another, and the cops watch it on monitor screens, he plays a game of wits with Wahlberg and the cops’ Jigsaw expert Dina Meyer (another holdover from the original).

The killer makes a big deal out of playing by the rules he sets up for himself and his victims, but the filmmakers play a little too fast and loose with some rules of filmmaking (like point of view). Saw II is still a rather clever little horror movie—almost as clever as it is stupid.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
More »
Contact for Reprint Rights
  • Market Served: Metropolitan Area
  • Address: 62 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Phone: (614) 221-2449