Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Saw II (2005)
great movie, don't listen to the detractors
This was not the perfect movie, but it was also leagues better than most contemporary horror movies. I wanted to discuss the positives and negatives in my review but then also address common complaints from other reviews and forums.
The absolute best part of the movie (many of the detractors even give this credit) was a detailed look into Jigsaw's past and his twisted motivations. The traps were decent - I think too many people romanticized the traps of the first Saw when many of the new ones relied on the exact same cringe factor that made the first movie so effective. I feel that in order to appreciate Saw II, you really have to approach the subject in a similar matter to Jigsaw. Sure, the situations in the movie were not scary like "Hellraiser" scary. Instead, if you look at it more like a psychological experiment, the true dark genius of the movie comes out. What would happen if eight people awoke in a room, their lives in danger, and no certain way to save them? We see immediately all of these very distinct personalities working together or against each other. Despite best intentions, there's always going to be some violent ass like Xavier that ruins even the most well laid plans. Thus, even "capable" humans are brought down by the defects of those around them.
The drawbacks - there was no single scene that was comparable in terms of tension to the "Adam camera" scene from Saw. Also, at 93 minutes, I felt like some of the characters (Laura, Gus, Addison) never got a chance to be developed. It would have been great to have seen their traps explained or heard their back stories. However, this can be explained by reference to the plot. As a cohesive group, the hostages were a failure. Who knows how vividly the characters could have been described if they had opened Xavier's door or worked together better? But if they had been successful, more of them would have gotten the antidotes and there would have been less urgency all around. So it seems like some characters had to be sacrificed to keep the movie going.
I've noticed a lot of people expressing incredulity at some of the logic in the movie and it's been bothering me for two reasons. First of all, I know plenty of people who are willing to suspend disbelief for some stupid action flick, but not for a horror movie. This doesn't necessarily describe the exact people writing reviews - my point is only that horror should probably given more slack than other types of movies. Second of all, a lot of the "illogical" reactions are not all that crazy when you think about them.
For instance, why did Xavier cut the number off of his neck instead of asking politely? Lots of people found this unrealistic simply because they CLAIM that they wouldn't do that. Well, it made perfect sense for the character who had been established as a heartless egomaniac up until that point. Also, let's not forget that there's only 1 antidote in the safe. If you have ONLY 15 minutes to live and have reason to believe that others will screw you over if you cooperate, you'd do something drastic too.
Others claim that there's no way Amanda would go over to the "dark side" once having run through Jigsaw's gauntlet, herself. Again, this is not all that unbelievable. Psychologists have noted the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages come to identify with and even join their captors (Patty Hearst). Likewise, in abusive families, children who suffer psychological or physical abuse don't ALWAYS repeat this cycle, but they are much more likely to than the general population. I found Amanda the scariest part of the movie, not because Shawnee Smith can match the creepy gravitas of Tobin Bell (she can't), but the sheer notion of her transformation. Jigsaw, while not physically powerful has the ability to reproduce his twisted world view in formerly sane people, including the ones he's "tested." Shawnee is not capable of delivering the "game over" line like Tobin can, but the thought that the idea of Jigsaw won't die even when he's physically dead is truly one of the more disturbing aspects of the movie.