Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: SAW II

The original SAW (2004) has become a distinguished psychological film that opened the floodgates for young Australian director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell. Both gory and psychosomatic, there were few horror fans on both sides of the
Atlantic to voice their scorn.

Peppered with the same shocks and scenarios, SAW 2 has already had an impact on the genre that catapults it to lofty heights . . .

This time around, the director's chair was swapped to almost unknown director Darren Lynn Bousman, but the effect is no less charismatic. Leigh Whannell (born in
1977) has served as both collaborative script writer and consultant which see the two films blend seamlessly together with no justification lost.

The premise:

 Jaded cop Eric (Donnie Walberg, in a somewhat hackneyed character), is facing a family crises while the exploits of Jigsaw continue to assault the sinners of the community. Eric has been singled out by Jigsaw in a way that none can foresee: although not playing the game as such, his son is kidnapped and Eric becomes an unwilling participant in Jigsaw's next masterpiece. Captured, imprisoned by Eric's law-enforcement contingent and his true identity known, Jigsaw has one last gift and game to play: he has rigged up countless monitors showcasing a house where seven strangers (including Eric's son) are put through the tests and tribulations we remember from the first film. The house is derelict, gloomy, and riddled with a hundred different traps. Among the contestants is the junkie character from the first film; supposedly she's fallen off the wagon . . .

This sequel, of course, is riddled with gaping question marks and perhaps uses the first one's nuances a little too much. All things are easily forgivable. What isn't forgivable is the total stupidity of most of the characters locked away; we don't love them; hell, we don't even like them, and when they start getting picked off, you'll probably be breathing a sigh of relief. One of the performances I was looking forward to was the character of Laura (played by Seventh Heaven's Beverley Mitchell). But nary a word escaped those pouty lips. It was only a script, but the reactions to some of the exploits perpetrated around them were totally unrealistic.

All that said - SAW 2 still manages to deliver. The shocks and surprises are still there with a belter of a finale that's guaranteed to shred some nerve endings.

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