Saw II brings back the aptly named serial killer Jigsaw, played surprisingly well by Tobin Bell, who creatively finds gruesome and disturbing ways to knock off victims, often with ironic twists.
However, Jigsaw always leaves an out for his victims, offering them a chance of life if they can muster the strength and desire for survival. Jigsaw plays a much more prominent role in Saw II with more face time and offers more of an explanation as to why he does what he does.
The helpless people caught in Jigsaws latest trap are burnt-out Detective Eric Mathews (Donnie Wahlberg) and his partner Kerry (Dina Myer).
Jigsaw taunts Mathews with live video feed of his next would-be-victims trapped in a house; one of those people being Mathews teenage son, Daniel (Erik Knudson).
Mathews is forced to watch while Daniel and the others attempt to find the antidote for a poison that is slowly being emitted within the house. Of course, the antidote can only be found by going through a series of traps that include a pit full of dirty syringes, a cage lined with razor blades and a fiery furnace. Obviously, not everyone makes it through these traps alive and well.
The plot of Saw II offers just as many twists and turns as the original, and the finale, taken with some suspension of disbelief, ends up being quite satisfying (depending on your point of view). The acting is much crisper than the first (no Cary Elwes), while the directing and pacing of the movie make sure that not a dull moment can be found.
While Saw produced more psychological torture, both to the audience and to the victims on screen, Saw II still delivers but in a different vein. Saw II offers up much more horrific and disturbing scenes than the first, with a much more shock and awe approach. However, Saw II lacks the air of newness and creativity of the first film.
Saw II is not quite as good as the first, but it still offers a lot of entertainment value. Obviously, if you do not enjoy horror films, this is not the movie for you.
However, if you enjoy a good slasher film, by all means go see Saw II, especially if you enjoyed the first one. But, be warned; you will need a strong stomach to handle the blood and more blood in Saw II.