SLASH’S SHITFACED SATURDAY
S A W II (2005)
Alright, you Gorehounds of Basketville, let us continue with the quite formidable SAW SAGA.
SII was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman @ 93 minutes.
It was written initially by Darren Lynn Bousman, with some consulting later done with Leigh Whannell & James Wan.
The film starred:
Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John Kramer
Donnie Wahlberg as Detective Eric Matthews.
Shawnee Smith as Amanda Young.
Franky G as Xavier Chavez.
Glenn Plummer as Jonas Singer.
Erik Knudsen as Daniel Matthews
Emmanuelle Vaugier as Addison Corday.
Beverly Mitchell as Laura Hunter.
Dina Meyer as Detective Allison Kerry.
Noam Jenkins as Michael Marks.
Timothy Burd as Obi.
Tony Nappo as Gus.
Oh yes, there will be blood.
New game, different pieces.
We dare again.
It was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman. While working as a techie on the set of the X-FILES, he used every available minute to write on his new script, THE DESPERATE; so much so that he got fired for in-attention. He was told that his ultra-violent story was too SAW-like; which turned out to be its asset. This was his third film, & he went on to direct SAW III (2006), & SAW IV (2007). As a director, he is considered to be a member of the SPLAT PACK as well, along with James Wan & Rob Zombie. He has directed 17 film projects, including REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA (2008), & THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL (2012).
The highly effective musical score was written by Charlie Clouser (aka Charles Alexander Clouser). This very talented guy was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance in 1997. Had been a member of NINE INCH NAILS 1994-2000, then was in BURNING RETINA, & for a time was in NINE WAYS TO SUNDAY.
The cinematography was handled, again, by David A. Armstrong.
The casting agent was, again, Amy Lippens, this time assisted by Stephanie Gorin–and they put together another strong cast.
The heavy hitter seems to be Donnie Wahlberg, the eighth of nine children, he is Mark Wahlberg’s older brother. Very musical as a kid, writing & performing it, he was in THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK 1988-94. Then like his brother, he did some modeling, and went into acting. Looking at his filmography, one senses he has perfected, cornered the market on the detective cop persona. He has 40 film credits including playing Big Balls in BULLET (1996), THE SIXTH SENSE (1999), the superb mini-series BAND OF BROTHERS (2001), a cop in BOOMTOWN TV series (2002-03), DEAD SILENCE (2007), SAW IV (2007), RIGHTEOUS KILL (2009), & doing a boffo job in BLUE BLOODS (2010-2014).
Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John Kramer continues to be the touchstone, the key character, the Freddy/Jason of this saga/series.
Glenn Plummer is a very busy excellent actor who has 112 film credits, including COLORS (1988), SOUTH CENTRAL (1992), MENACE II SOCIETY (1993), SHOWGIRLS (1995), SPEED 2 (1997), POOL HALL JUNKIES (2002), VEGAS VAMPIRES (2007), 5 episodes on SONS OF ANARCHY (2008), & MONSTER IN THE WOODS (2012).
Franky G. [Gonzalez] has 24 film credits since 1998, including THE ITALIAN JOB (2003), SAW III (2006), THE DEVIL’S TOMB (2009), DEAD MAN DOWN (2013). For a time he competed as a body builder, could do squats with 510 lbs.
Erik Knudsen, a child actor for SAW II, has completed 31 film projects since 1999, starting acting at 11; was 17 when he filmed SAW II. He was in the TV series JERICO (2006-08), SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010), BEASTLY (2011), SCREAM 4 (2011), & is now on the TV series CONTINUUM (2012-14).
The lovely Dina Meyer was in one scene in SAW (2004), never even called by name, & so got left out of my review. She steps up to more prominence in this film.
I will always remember her nude scene in STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997).
Other films she has done include JOHNNY MNEMONIC (1995), STAR TREK: Nemesis (2002), SAW III (2006), SAW IV (2007), PIRANHA 3D, & CYBORG NEMESIS (2013).
Shawnee Smith really stepped up as a character in this one, doing a major pivotal role. She joins Bell, & Meyer as alumni from SAW (2004).
The camera loves Emmanuelle Vaugier. She is not shy about nude scenes, so I included an image from another film.
She has done 93 film projects since 1995, including HYSTERIA (1997), SHAPESHIFTER (1999), RIPPER (2001), WISHMASTER 3 (2001), SECOND HAND LIONS (2003),
SAW IV (2007), CSI: NY (2006-09), TWO & A HALF MEN 11 times, & LOST GIRL (2010-14).
Beverly Mitchell has been acting since she was 9 years old,
has done 27 film projects since 1990, including THE CROW: City of Angels (1996),
has now spent time on 7TH HEAVEN (2006-2007).
Synopsis: Expanded Version
There is nothing like a few bars of Charlie Clouser’s metallic screeching score to set the scene, & put one’s teeth on edge.
We open with a CU of a bare bulb sizzling, with somebody breathing heavily.
Michael: Help, anyone, someone–heeelp.
Then Jump Cut shots around the room, the disoriented POV of some prisoner.
Cut to Michael, with a death mask strapped around his neck, like a venus fly-trap with bear-trap teeth; his right eye is bleeding, & he is nearly naked.
Cut a television monitor, where Billy the SAW puppet greets the man:
Hello Michael–I want to play a game. So far, in what could be called your life, you’ve made a living watching others. Society would call you an informant, a rat, a snitch. I call you unworthy of the body you possess, of the life you have been given. Now we will see if you are willing to look inward rather than outward, to give up that one thing you rely on for your living; your sight.
The device around your neck is a death mask; it is on a spring timer. If you do not locate the key in time, the mask will close.
On the monitor, we see Jigsaw implanting the key in Michael’s eye.
What you’re seeing was 2 hours ago; you were sound asleep, didn’t feel a thing. Taking into account that you are at a great disadvantage here, I’m going to give you a hint on where to find the key. It’s right before your eyes. How much blood will you shed in order to stay alive, Michael? Live or die, make your own choice.
On the monitor we see a flash of an X-ray, clearing showing a key image lodged in the right eye. Michael freaks out, thrashing about like someone had activated a cattle prod in his rectum; this does pull the thin cable which activates the timer for the death mask.
He picks up a toolbox at his feet, and finds a medical scalpel in it. There is a truck rear view mirror set up on a tripod in front of him. He attempts to use the scalpel again, & again, but does not have the courage or conviction to follow through, cut into his retina & retrieve the precious key. Sinking to his knees, he whimpers, help me, then tosses the scalpel to the floor, preventing himself, of course, from unlocking the mask.
Cut to a dozen frenzied overlapping shots of Michael, & the timer clock; perhaps 30 times in 5 seconds. The venus death trap slams hard on his head, & he flops over onto the floor. As his head collides with the floor, spraying blood, the man in the iron mask already has dead eyes.
Roll the opening credits for SAW II.
Cut to a police station where we meet Detective Eric Matthews walking down a hall, & into a room, a cigarette dangling in his angry lips.
Eric: Excuse me, I’m here for Daniel Matthews.
Cut to a cell, where the teen age son, Danny, sits, arms folded, angst-ridden, angry, insolent, in need of a bitch-slap.
Daniel, while walking past his father, Took you long enough.
Eric: Sorry, didn’t have this penciled into my schedule.
Cut to the pair, walking on a dock, the cityscape of Toronto in the background. (was this police station supposed to be by the bay?)
Eric: I think they will press charges this time. You did steal from them. (who the hell are “they”, what did the punk steal?)
Danny: Just save me the After School Special speech; send me back to Mom’s early.
Eric, getting in his face, towering over him, Fine, then fucking go!
Cut to the next morning, Eric sitting in his shitty bachelor apartment: Sorry about yesterday. Look, I haven’t heard from you. Give me a call, please–revealing the crack in the armor.
Cut to a crime scene, where we meet his former partner, Allison Kerry.
Eric: So what have we got? Just let me get a glimpse of his face, & in 2 seconds I will tell you if he is my informant.
Kerry: Therein lies the problem.
Cut cut to them looking at Michael’s body, his head crushed in the mask.
Eric: Yeah, it’s Mike.
He discovers the jigsaw piece of skin cut out on one shoulder.
Eric: When were you going to tell me about that?
Kerry: I would say this cause of death narrows down the list of suspects.
Eric: Sure, you’re the fucking Jigsaw expert.
She points to the ceiling, where Jigsaw has painted a message in large red letters; Look closer, Detective Matthews.
Cut to the police office, with Kerry studying the Billy the puppet video.
Eric: You & that guy have a lot in common. You both like to play games with other people’s lives. Don’t ever pull that kind of shit on me at a crime scene again!
Kerry: I’m not the one taunting you–he is.
Eric does not want to take the case. I can’t help you; besides I’m too busy, you’re the expert on Jigsaw.
Kerry: When did you stop being a cop?
Cut to Eric’s apartment, with him tossing & turning in bed, unable to sleep; the case is in his head now it seems. Suddenly, he remembers a stamped metal label on the death mask, the Wilson Steel trademark.
Cut to a city map, showing the location of the old abandoned Wilson Steel factory.
Cut to the SWAT team gearing up to assault the building.
Speeded up jump Cuts of the SWAT van & two police cars en route to the old steel factory.
Cut to their arrival, as the SWAT leader sets up several teams of three. Eric shows up in a BP vest: Thought I would tag along for the ride.
Jump Cuts: SWAT teams unloading gear, battering down the front door, starting up some stairs, triggering trip wires, being cut to pieces & electrocuted.
The Billy Doll appears above them, chortling his insane mechanical laughter. (They made a lot of this redo of the Billy puppet, even though the fucking thing had much less screen time than in the original film).
More teams move up past the screaming wounded first team, finding a large room filled with odd-shaped blades, hammers, skulls, & chains.
They discover Jigsaw sitting at a table in an electric wheelchair, hooked up to a chemol-therapy IV bag, his robe & red hood partially covering his face. He raises his hands, facing ten riot rifles, but refuses to get down on his knees, pointing out his medical condition.
Cut to medical nurse’s cabinets behind him loaded with pills.
Eric, walks up, peers into his calm pale face: Hey, asshole, is this close enough?
SWAT leader: Alright, get his ass out of here!
Jigsaw: Actually, I will need to remain here while you deal with your problem, Detective Matthews.
Eric: What problem?
Jigsaw: The one in that room.
The cops storm a fenced off ante-room, pulling blankets off several CCTV monitors, revealing 8 prisoners in some house. Eric recognizes his son, Danny. Jigsaw, who has introduced himself as John, explains that all those people were inhaling nerve gas, that they had the means to save themselves;
John: And oh yes, there will be blood.
Eric attempts to call Danny, but suddenly he hears Jigsaw’s voice on the message recording; Daniel can’t come to the phone right now.
Cut to a smooth transition shot as the hazy B&W monitor shot of the prisoners becomes a clear color shot, putting us in the room with them.
Gus: How the fuck did so many of us wake up in a room and have no idea where we are?
Xavier: I guess you’ve never been drunk before.
Gus: I’ve been drunk, man. I spent 3 years in college.
Amanda is waking up too, realizing that she is back in another Jigsaw game.
She begins searching around the room, until she finds a loose brick, with a cassette recorder in the hole. She plays the tape in it:
Jigsaw: Greetings & welcome. I trust that you are all wondering where you are. I can assure you that while the location is not important, what these walls offer you is important; salvation, if you earn it. In 3 hours the door to this house will open; unfortunately, you only have 2 hours left to live. You are breathing in a deadly nerve agent. Those of you familiar with the Tokyo subway attacks will know the gas’ devastating effects on the human body. The only way to overcome it is to find the antidote; several are hidden all around in this house. One is inside that safe in front of you. You already possess the combination to the safe. Think hard, the numbers are in the back of your mind. The clue to their correct order can be found “over the rainbow”. Once you realize what you all have in common, you will understand why you are here. X marks the spot for that clue. Let the game begin.
Xavier reads a note, with a key, both with the cassette recorder, warning him “Do not attempt to use this key on the door to this room.”
Xavier: Fuck this!
He tries to use the key on the door, while Gus peers through the peephole. There is a pistol trap on the other side; it discharges, & puts a bullet in Gus’ brain; he goes down with a splat.
Amanda: He is just testing us; he wants some of us to survive, but we have to play by the fucking rules! I know this because I have played his game before, & survived.
Cut back to the steel factory.
Eric: You motherfucker! Where is he? Where is he?
John: Your son is in a safe & secure place.
Eric: I swear if I don’t see my son soon, I will rip your fucking head off.
John: I don’t intend to mock you, officer, but I’m a cancer patient. How could you possibly put me in more pain than I’m already in?
Kerry talks with Eric; revealing that he lost his son, & his marriage once before, after their affair was discovered, in the past when they had been partners; recommending that he play along with Jigsaw.
Cut back to the house; the offending steel door opens slowly, there seems to be yet another timer on the back of it.
They all pass into a second room, that has adjacent hallways. Xavier picks up a bat, that has huge spike nails sticking out of the end of it.
Addison & Laura are beginning to cough a lot from the nerve gas. Xavier finds a door, with the word EXIT painted in the middle of it, the x being an over-large letter. Some of them are searching the second room. Jonas & Addison step into the third room with Xavier, who tries the key on the exit door; it does not work, Fuck! he screams, tossing the key on the floor, which Jonas picks up & pockets.
Cut back to the steel factory. John has asked to talk with Eric alone. Eric takes off his badge, his gun, & BP vest (why the fuck would he actually do that?), & clears the other cops out of the area.
Jigsaw: I want to play a game. The rules are simple–all you have to do is talk with me, listen to me. If you do that long enough, you will find your son in a safe & secure place. We haven’t been properly introduced, my name is John.
Cut back to the house; Xavier bashes the crap out of the wooden exit door, finding a steel door behind it.
Addison: Well, we have now established that the macho approach is total bullshit; any other suggestions?
Xavier: Look who’s talking; the only door you know how to open is between your legs!
They both begin scream Fuck this, Fuck that, Fuck you, & get into a cat fight; Jonas steps between them. The room lights come on as Amanda has found the switch. Laura finds an unlocked door, which leads to a basement it seems. They find what at first seems to be a person in a hoodie, slumped over a table. It turns out to be a bizarre mannequin, with a note pinned to it for Obi.
Jonas: What the fuck is an Obi?
Obi: That’s Ah-bi, it’s my name.
Jigsaw: Hello, Obi. I want to play a game. For years you have burned those around you with your lies, cons, & deceits. Now you will have a chance to redeem yourself. Inside the furnace in front of you you will find two antidotes for the nerve gas. One is my gift to you for helping me to kidnap the others, the second is for you to donate. Remember, once you are in hell, only the devil can help you out.
Laura suddenly remembers when Obi kidnapped her from her car. The others force Obi to crawl into the furnace.
He sees 2 syringes at the back. The second syringe is hooked into a chain, which springs the furnace door shut, and fire explodes from oven jets.
Obi: Get me the fuck out of here!!!
Jonas, Laura, Addison all screaming.
Xavier attempting to open the fire-hot door.
Danny pointing out a rear door, with a glass window in it.
Cut to the poster trademark shot of a hand on fire at the glass.
Each character with a dramatic CU, registering their shock.
The rear door is opened but Obi can only get one hand, & part of his head out before he burns to death. Neither of the 2 antidote syringes were saved.
Cut back to the steel factory, with the cops watching everything on several B&W monitors.
John: Can you imagine what it’s like to have someone sit you down & tell you that you are dying?
Cut to the past; John in a waiting room, led to a doctor’s office for his cancer news–the sign on the door reads DR. Lawrence Gordon.
Cut to John, emerging out of a car wreck, after he had attempted suicide by driving his car off a cliff.
John: I decided to live, to spend the rest of my days testing the fabric of human nature. Those who do not appreciate life do not deserve life.
Cut to the cops trying to find the video feed into the monitors; CU of the B&W image on the screen; cool transition shot from it to the color interior of the house’s room.
Daniel suddenly becomes talkative: Amanda, you said you survived this, right?
Daniel: Why did he pick you?
Amanda: Because I was a fucking junkie, alright?
Daniel: But if you passed his test, why are you back here?
Amanda: I wasn’t good to myself; tried to commit suicide.
Jonas: Hey, come on, we’ve found another door.
Xavier is trying to muscle his way into the room, but the door is stuck.
Amanda: If it’s stuck, then it’s a trap.
Xavier: Lady, this whole house is a fucking trap!
He finally pushes the door open, & that activates yet another timer. Jonas picks up an envelope not labeled Xavier:
Jigsaw: Hello Xavier, I want to play a game. It’s similar to the kind of game you played as a drug dealer–giving hope to the desperate. By entering this room, you’ve activated a timer. When the time is up, the door will be locked forever; and the antidote within the room lost. If you want to find the key, you must crawl through the squalor your customers have.
Jonas & Daniel move a bed, & find a pit full of thousands of syringes. Xavier disregards the rules, & shoves Amanda into the pit;
dozens of syringes begin poking into her, & she goes apeshit, tossing needles around like confetti. She finally does find the key, gives it to Xavier; but it’s too late, and the door locks itself.
Cut to a transition whereby the color image of them transforms into the hazy B&W CCTV image, with Eric watching the monitor. Enraged, he rushes into the room with John, and begins to tear up all the charts & trap drawings on the table:
John: How will you convict me without this crucial evidence.
Eric: I don’t need this shit to convict you!
John: Go ahead. Destroy it. We both know the sort of person you are. The sort of person who guns down an unarmed suspect. The sort of person who plants evidence in order to obtain a conviction. The sort of person whose wife leaves him and whose son hates him.
Eric: Shut the fuck up!
John produces a file of all the prisoners in the house, who happen to all be people that Eric has wrongfully imprisoned.
John: If these people discover that Daniel is your son, he will be in for a shit storm of hurt.
Cut back to the house; everyone (except Amanda & Daniel) is coughing up blood, & finding it very hard to breathe. Jonas finds Xavier in room 2, by the safe, remembering that the combination numbers to the safe are on the back of their necks.
Jonas: You remind me of me, no matter what kind of fucked up situation you’re in, you got to find an enemy; someone to blame.
Xavier explodes in rage, & attacks Jonas, who is tougher than expected; but when he has a coughing fit, Xavier smashes his skull in with the war bat. The number on Jonas’ neck is #16. The corpse of Gus in Room 1 was #2.
Cut to the three chicks, checking hallways together. Laura passes out for the tenth time, really suffering from the gas. Daniel is with the ladies. Laura comes to and points to a picture frame with an X on it. Addison breaks the glass, & finds a picture of Eric & Daniel, with the words FATHER & SON on the back of it. Laura has a grand mol seizure, and dies in Amanda’s arms.
She & Daniel find Jonas with his skull bashed; dead. Xavier is searching corpses; Obi was #11, Laura was #8. Then he discovers the FATHER/SON pic.
Amanda & Daniel are now a team, running from the insane Xavier. Addison is coughing up tea cups of blood; wandering hallways, barely able to stand up.
Cut to Eric watching a monitor.
Jump cuts to family snapshots of Eric & Daniel (oddly the wife & mother is never named, or shown at any point in the film.) Eric comes to an anguished decision, charging back over to John, smashing furniture, knocking over the table, You sick motherfucker, where is he?
The other cops hold Kerry back from intervening. Eric smashes John against a wall, pulling him out of the wheelchair, & administers a real beat down, breaking several of John’s fingers:
John: Now that is the Detective Matthews they give medals to!
Cut back to the house, Amanda & Daniel running with Xavier, foaming at the mouth struggling to breathe & pursue them.
Cut to Addison stumbling into another room that holds a Hand Trap, with a note on it.
Two sets of razor blades atop hand holes, with a syringe of antidote perched between them. Spaced out, she reaches inside with both hands, but spills the syringe, & gets her hands stuff inside;
the blood begins to spurt down her arms.
Xavier hears her screams, enters the room, checks the #9 on the back of her neck, & then leaves her.
Cut to Amanda & Daniel running a hallway, hearing her pitiful screams.
Cut back to the steel factory, where Eric is still beating up John, shoving the barrel of his service pistol into John’s mouth.
John: Alright, alright, game over–I’ll take you to the house.
Per John’s instructions, Eric pushes a button on the wall–and the entire section of the room becomes a freight elevator, & it drops down as the other cops become frenzied. The cop techies get a lock on the video feed to the house; 237 North Hyde Crescent!!
Cut to several strange old fashioned speeded up shots of the SWAT van headed to the house, like something in a 30’s gangster picture, with a convertible going over a cliff becoming a 4-door sedan rolling down it.
Cut back to the house; Amanda & Eric trying to hold a steel door against the battering that Xavier is giving it (how in hell could he, almost dead from the nerve gas, have the strength to bash in a steel door; bang, bang, bang, like the monster breaking in on Walter Pigeon in FORBIDDEN PLANET.)
Cut to John & Eric driving to somewhere, following John’s directions.
Cut back to the house; Amanda sees that Jonas’ blood has dripped into a crack in the floor. She begins to push on the safe to move it. With the beastly Xavier pounding on the door, Amanda & Daniel find a trap door in the floor; but it is padlocked–then Daniel remembered the original key, and retrieved it from Jonas’ pocket (interesting that somehow he knew about that, isn’t it?). The key works, they open the door in the floor, & begin a descent on stairs.
Cut back to John & Eric at the “last house on the left”. John hands
Eric a key; You will need this once you are inside. Eric gets out of the vehicle, and enters the house.
Cut back to the house; Xavier breaks into the room, then discovers the trap door in the floor.
Rapid Jump Cuts:
Amanda & Daniel running, holding hands (for the tenth time shot).
Xavier continuing to pursue them.
Eric in the house, gun drawn, searching with his cop’s flashlight. He finds the FATHER/SON pic, then finds Laura’s corpse–when he begins coughing too.
The SWAT team breaking in the door at their destination (odd, because Eric just walked in his door).
Eric yelling, DANIEL !
SWAT team; We’re in the house!
Kerry searching all the monitors in front of her, but not seeing the SWAT team on any of them: Where the fuck are you? I can’t see you anywhere!
Cut to Amanda opening another door, & she & Daniel find themselves in the original toilet killing room from SAW (2004). They found the two dead bodies in there, & a severed foot still chained to the pipes. They find the hacksaw.
Cut to Eric coming into Room #2, finding the Jonas corpse; Daniel!
Cut to Xavier catching up to the duo in the toilet killing room, still clutching his trusty hunting knife,
Xavier: Be cool, all I want is for you to give me the number on the back of the kid’s neck, & for him to give me yours.
Amanda: You still don’t know your own number. How are you going to get that if I don’t tell you?
Xavier in a last-ditch effort to prove his machismo, uses his own hunting
knife, & he begins to cut the # off his neck; while he is screaming we get
showing the deaths of all the others in bloody flashes.
Åfter he finishes the surgery, he stares at the #, which we do not see, & then shrugging puts it in his pocket. Xavier in a desperate rage rushes them, meets meets instead a hacksaw blade to the throat wielded by sweet Daniel. Xavier hits the floor, falling over backwards, & bleeds out quickly.
Cut the SWAT team, after yelling Clear about 17 times, they discover that the video feed came from unmanned set of other VCR monitors.
Rigg: We’re in the wrong fucking house! They’ve been dead all this time!
Kerry has that shocked, oh fuck, I been duped by Jigsaw again look on her face as she slumps into a chair.
Cut back to the actual house, with Eric stumbling around, pistol at the ready, yelling Daniel for the 33rd time. He comes upon the original toilet killing room, finds Xavier lying with his throat cut, & the two older corpses. Then he sees a small hand on the edge of the filthy bathtub. He, of course, has to investigate.
Someone ( a woman in a wild boar fright mask) leaps up & stabs him in the shoulder with a syringe, and he goes down groggy & fast, dropping his pistol. <oh fuck, yeah, this is who that strange feminine figure was in the long dark tresses that kidnapped Adam & Gordon in SAW (2004); man, one has to see a whole series of sequels sometimes to figure shit out! >
Cut back to the steel warehouse, & Kerry. The big game clock finishes its countdown, and whoosh, the safe door opens behind John’s desk, & she finds young Daniel inside, breathing O2 in a mask; safe all the time (& of course, we all realize if that arrogant cop prick, Eric, had just followed Jigsaw’s rules, he would still be here to greet his son.>
Cut back to Eric, waking up in the toilet shit-hole killing room, chained to some of the pipes, his pistol out of reach. He now has another cassette recorder, which he, of course, switches on;
Amanda: What is the cure for cancer, Eric–the cure for death itself? The answer is immortality. By creating a legacy, by living a life worth remembering, you become immortal. John came to me after my last suicide attempt; he healed me, became my father figure, a leader, my teacher. So now, Eric, we find that the tables are turned. It is I who will carry on John’s work after he dies, & you are my first test subject. Now it is you who are locked away, helpless, & alone.
Amanda appears at the front door, looking all festive, foxy, & shit, wearing a sexy red off-the-shoulder blouse & spiked heels.
Amanda: Game over.
She slams the door shut
Eric: Daniel, Daniel! You fucking bitch! I’ll fucking kill you!
Cut to CU of the battered face of Jigsaw/John in the van.
As the camera dollys backward we continue to hear
Eric: You Fucking Bitch! You fucking bitch! Daniel, Daniel. I’ll fucking kill you! Nooooooo! Noooooooooo! Help, please help!
Fade out to the closing credits.
( I smile, because I then remember the key John gave Eric before he went into the house. Eric will survive; maybe.)
TRIVIA: Five separate endings were shot, so not even the actors new how the film would end. The movie was shot over 25 days. Most of the movie was shot indoors at the Toronto Cinespace Film Studio, but unlike SAW (2004), a few of the car shots, & the one walking shot with Eric & Daniel were shot outside. It took 120,000 syringes to fill the pit for the needle key-in-a-syringe-stack sequence, & it took 4 days to replace the needles tips with fiber tips.
Shawnee Smith was pregnant during the filming & she kept it a secret. Most of the actors did not receive the last 25 pages of the script to conceal the climax. The toilet killing room, a set from SAW (2004) actually had to be recreated; the original was in LA.
The original poster for SAW II had two very severed fingers as Roman numerals, which the MPAA recalled “because it did not meet the guidelines for film advertising”–no shit, but some of the foreign release posters let the severed fingers stay on.
The new SAW II posters still used the fingers, but with a lower profile, so that you could not tell they were severed.
Right after SAW (2004) became a cash cow for Lionsgate, they immediately bought up Darren Lynn Bousman’s script THE DESPERATE, leaving most of it intact, but bringing in Leigh Whannell to tweek it, & insure it had the SAW earmarks.
Billy, the Jigsaw puppet in SAW (2004) had been made out of paper mache, & had been controlled by fishing lines. With a higher budget, Billy of paper was redone as a mechanically controlled dummy; but oddly, as noted, it was not used as often, or as effectively as the original one.
When Obi is struggling to get out of the furnace, he hit Glenn Plummer in the eye, and the film had to be shut down for 30 minutes to make sure Glenn was going to be OK. Henry Rollins was originally slated to play Xavier, & he would have been great in the part, but he had a conflict and Franky G got the part. In the U.S. & Canada, this became the highest grossing SAW film.
They had to build 27 sets in the Toronto studio over the three weeks of shooting. This was cinematographer David A. Armstrong’s first digital film. As in the original film, the keys to the puzzle were in the first room I read; but actually come to think of it, it was in the second room where the puzzle was solved; so neeeneer-neeener IMDb. But like SAW (2004), the actual instigator for the game scenario participated in the game itself; how very Errol Stanley Gardner.
As pointed out in the synopsis, it seems clear that Amanda & Daniel were never in need to the antidote; they had both been inoculated in advance of the game. Though there is no way we could have known, there were a number of items, props, from the game on display in Jigsaw’s lair.
The first three weeks this film was released on DVD, it became the fastest selling DVD ever for Lionsgate. When SAW II was greenlighted by Lionsgate, both Leigh Whannell & James Wan were working on DEAD SILENCE. Bousman let the cast improvise sometimes, & in the final cut he claims about 5% were improvised moments.
Tobin Bell was nominated for Best Villain at the MTV Movie Awards in 2006, losing to an inferior Hayden Christenson in STAR WARS: Episode III; but Bell did win a Best Villain Award at the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards.
Rotten Tomatoes rated the Critic’s Approval at 36%, and the Audience Approval at 59%
Susan Walker of the TORONTO STAR wrote: Quite possibly SAW II sheds enough blood to satisfy those horror/gore aficionados.”
Kyle Smith of the NEW YORK POST wrote: SAW II has teeth, & this house-of-horror franchise has legs, though they are manacled to a radiator.
John Anderson of NEWSDAY wrote: This film is better acted than its predecessor–but it is so gratuitously, sadistically violent, it finally falls dead on the far side of the scene.
Felix Vasquez Jr. of CINEMA CRAZED wrote: In every way superior to the original in terms of performance, story,. characterization., gore, & climax.
Steve Newton of the GEORGIA STRATEGY wrote; A grimy & relentless portrayal of high tension cruelty that is excruciating to watch, but as damn riveting as a nail gun to the nut sack.
My Rating: I enjoyed the film a lot, even though the formula is now set, & there will be no more cinematic surprises; so I suffered the first sequel let down for a time. But after careful consideration, I agree it is equal to, or better than the original. Yet, I think James Wan was a stronger director. Maybe it was an editing issue, or hazy rushed writing, but too often we did not know the names of the characters, & so felt a bit lost in the maze of jump cut actions. We will have to see how Bousman does with SAW III before I conclude anything about his directorial prowess. I rate this one 7.5/10 Stars.
Donnie Wahlberg did a lot with a nothing part, and Tobin Bell had a lot more screen time, and Shawnee Smith is coming into her own as a reoccurring character. It saddens me immensely that there was not tit-one in it; much like the original. I would hate to think I will suffer through 6 more films without spying some fine breasts.