Saw II (review)

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Saw as a title made perfect sense for Saw, given the prominent, horrifying role played by that piece of hardware. Saw II as a title is pointless, except to set off the Pavlovian response of horror fans and bring them running — it has little in common with its predecessor beyond the washed-out colors and an unholy interest in bodily mortification. Oh, the game-playing serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back, and this time he’s playing a demented game with the cop (Donnie Wahlberg: Dreamcatcher) who once investigated his crimes and is now predictably tormented and anguished. But the insane wit of Saw, which recognized how ludicrous “horror” movies have gotten and went in the direction of deliberate, knowing self-parody to compensate, is nowhere in evidence here. In fact, the earnest message-ification of Saw II, retreaded from the first film (Enjoy life cuz you don’t know when a madman will try to teach you an ironic lesson about you screwed it all up!), vies with the meaningless and sadistic violence as the most stomach-turning aspect of the flick. Oo, except for the mercenary cashing-in on the part of the filmmakers — that’s pretty gross, too.

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