In short, the acting in “Saw II” is atrocious, the directing is awful, and the writing is dreadful. Then again, if I’d been expecting a masterpiece, I would be just as dumb as the characters who made the stupid decisions in the movie. I walked into the theater to see “Saw II” knowing I was just going to relax and have fun watching a bunch of people walk into strange and deadly situations. From that perspective, “Saw II” is actually very enjoyable.
A sequel to the first sleeper hit in which a psycho puts people in life or death situations to teach them to appreciate life, I will give this to both: the deadly puzzles which the maniac Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) puts his victims into are rather creative. In the beginning for example, a police informant must cut out his eye to get a key in his head that will unlock a deadly face mask, all within a minute. These are the moments that get your mind off anything in real life.
At the start, detective Eric Mason (Donnie Wahlberg) catches Jigsaw but then has to watch his son and others trapped in a house through a video monitor as they try to find a way out and avoid a brutal death. While his son’s life hangs in the balance, Mason talks with Jigsaw and discovers he has cancer as well as more about why he puts people in such horrifying situations. All this leads to a somewhat surprising conclusion.
The first film was more sadistic, but “Saw II” is a film to just go and cut out everything that is going on in life from your head. (Pun intended!)
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.