Saw II (DVD)
Starring Donnie Wahlberg, Shawnee Smith, Tobin Bell, Franky G, Glenn Plummer, Beverley Mitchell, and Dina Meyer
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Oh yes . . There will be blood. And man, was there ever! Making a sequel to the hottest horror hit in decades is no easy task. For fans the announcement of a sequel to a movie that they love can sometimes be scarier than anything ever put to film. Usually they are correct in their apprehensions because nine times out of ten we're treated to a soulless rehashed cash in. Saw II does indeed cover some familiar ground, but it does so in a refreshing manner. We're not just getting the same old Saw here. What we are getting is more of what made the original film the modern classic that it has become.
Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back for another lesson teaching go-around as once again a group of strangers wake up in a mysterious setting, but it's not just two people this time and no one is chained to the ground. Our particpants in this evil game are able to move freely about their new death soaked dwelling in search of not just an exit, but a tasty needle full of antidote to counteract the deadly gas that they've been inhaling the entire time. One of these new strangers is quite a familiar face to Saw fans. Shawnee Smith makes her return to the franchise in startling form. You have to feel for her character. She gets out of the facial bear trap by the skin of her teeth, and now here she is again, locked up, drugged up, and witness to horrid acts of extreme violence. Old Jigsaw just can't seem to let a good victim slide, eh?
Speaking of Jigsaw, he is never one to mince words or to worry too much about getting caught. He's a cancer patient with an attitude. The writing's already on the wall for him. It's not long before he's tracked down by tough guy cop Eric Matthews, played with great empathy by Donnie Wahlberg. Mathews thinks the case is all but closed until Jigsaw plays his ace card -- one of the people locked in the house is Mathews' son. With all the pieces in place, the game has begun.
Saw II, like its predecessor, grabs you from the minute it begins and strangles you until its closing seconds. As a horror fan I am as jaded as they come. Rarely does anything make me raise an eyebrow, much less get a "Holy Shit!" type reaction from me. Saw II did that and more. Some of the traps are just plain the stuff nightmares are made of. You will be pinned back and left squirming in your seat. The violence and cruelty levels are totally off the chart. Tobin Bell is deliciously evil as the returning murderous maestro, and he has tons of new toys at his disposal thanks to the writing and directing talents of newcomer Darren Lynn Bousman. People were pretty upset when he was chosen to helm the film being that he was unproven in the genre, but rest assured Bousman is a sick, sick man, and I love him for it! He slides easily into the Saw franchise, exhibiting the type of balls that were needed to make this sequel a success.
As for the DVD itself, I can't help but smell a future double dip coming. Before the DVD came to me for review, I noticed some online stores had listed the special features that were going to be on it. Upon receipt everything that was supposed to be on the DVD was there except for two things: deleted scenes and production interviews. Unless they've been included as well hidden Easter eggs, I haven't found them anywhere on the disc. This is curious but not a big deal.
Once again the packaging mirrors that of the original Saw as we get nothing more than a clear case in a decorated sleeve. Some would argue that this is a great marketing idea, but I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now. However, the special features do somewhat make up for this as what is included is pretty cool. We get some closer looks at the props and traps of Saw II and of course a great commentary with the director and two of his stars. My only gripe is that the featurettes are pretty short, coming in at a run-time of about 5 minutes each. Sound familiar? *cough* the first release of Saw *cough* You see what I mean. *puts on turban and glares into a crystal ball* I predict an unrated, extras packed DVD of Saw II next year! Don't mess with me, man; I was one of Dionne Warwick's Psychic Friends!
So is it worth it for you to shell out the dough for this one? I'd say yes. For one thing my hunch about the double dip may prove to be wrong. This could be it, folks, the whole enchilada! Even though the extras may be a bit on the skimpy side, the main course is extra meaty and it's served blood dripping rare. Break out the bib!
Audio commentary with Darren Lynn Bousman, Donnie Whalberg, and Beverley Mitchell
Jigsaw's Game featurette
"Bits and Pieces" The Props of Saw II featurette
The Traps of Saw II featurette
Storyboards and conceptual art galleries
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