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(Review originally written at 6 June 2006)

"Saw" was one of the most surprising movies of this decade. How would they ever have been able to top that very first surprising success. "Saw" was a fresh and surprising horror-flick that was different and more direct than any other movie from the same genre. It would been a real achievement if "Saw II" would had become a better movie than its predecessor. "Saw II" isn't a better movie but it still has plenty of originals and great to offer.

There are several reasons why "Saw II" isn't as good as "Saw". First and foremost; the originality is gone and people already know sort of what to expect while watching this movie. Also the story and settings are a few other reasons. A whole house as playground this time, simply isn't as claustrophobic and psychological strong, as just one small dirty room, like in the first movie was the case. "Saw" mostly was a psychological horror movie in which you never knew what to expect and what actions the main characters would take. "Saw II" is for most part lacking this psychological horror element in the story. In "Saw II" there also are multiple characters who unwillingly participate in Jigsaw's games. Having multiple characters, yet again, isn't as scary and claustrophobic as just having two characters who are trying to find a way out of their positions. It also is harder to identify yourself with any of the characters. Also Jigsaw himself plays a far more prominent role in the movie this time. He has lots of screen time with as a result that he perhaps loses some of his mystery and therefor also some of his scariness.

But if you have to judge this movie for what it is you have to conclude that it still is a powerful, gory, well made horror movie that is better than lets say 90% of other recent horror flicks. "Saw II" is mostly original in its games and settings and you never really know what to expect or who will be the next one to die. Although, when you have seen "Saw" you already know sort of what to expect and you know that the movie will end with a 'surprise' ending and in the movie itself nothing is what it seems at first sight. The 'surprise' ending isn't as good and powerful as in "Saw" was the case and perhaps it even is a bit too far fetched but it still leaves the door open for plenty of sequels, which is a good thing.

"Saw II" mostly relies on its gory moments and yes it has some original constructed and executed moments in the movie. Some things come as a real surprise and therefor "Saw II" still is a great mysterious and scary horror movie. It's an original genre movie that without doubt will surely please the fans.

Most of the characters are pretty shallow but I some how think this was intentional to still maintain a sort of mysterious atmosphere and feeling. Donnie Wahlberg is a welcome addition to the Saw franchise and he does play a pretty good role. Jigsaw still is a scary enough villain, mainly thanks to Tobin Bell, who portrays him, who simply is a very good actor that perfectly knows how to play his character.

Overall "Saw II" is a good looking and well made horror movie that is unique in its genre and has plenty of originals to offer to shock its viewers, as long as they can get over it that this movie will become nowhere as good as its successful predecessor.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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