Oh, Yes, This One Is a Slasher

Nail biters, prepare for the manicure of your lives.

“Saw II” slashed its way to the top of the box this weekend and just in time for hoards of protestors to boycott it. Calling the movie “gratuitously violent and pornographic,” the same critics who routinely assail horror movies say Saw II should be given an NC-17 rating, if not be retracted from theatres.

Newsflash: violence and pornography are the point. They should know that by now.

But those critics are right, at least about the gratuitous violence part. The fact is that “Saw II” delivers exactly what it promises: blood- a veritable blood bank’s worth of it. If you are squeamish, don’t waste your $7, in fact don’t even read this review. There may not be any saws in this sequel, but there is a human-sized oven and pit of dirty needles.

Those who can stand the gore will be hooked from the first scene and rewarded handsomely by the sequel. The Jigsaw killer returns with the same sadistic motives but a little different twist. A group of strangers are trapped inside a house and must escape before they inhale too much of a deadly toxin. Getting out however proves to be more difficult than just opening the door as one by one, the strangers fall victim to Jigsaw’s traps or their own destructive personalities.

Ok, so it’s not rocket science, but the plot has just enough to it to keep audiences peering through their sweaty fingers. Writer and director Darren Lynn Bousman did a remarkable job of portraying the antagonist less as Jigsaw the anonymous mangler and more as John, the creepy-as-all-hell- sociopath. John’s cultive personality is captivating and complex. It is him, and not the gore, that is the driving force of the movie. Fans of the original should appreciate the better understanding of John that they gain, especially since it even helps make the first movie better.

Bousman also resolves a lot of questions left unanswered by the first Saw with this sequel, but if you left the theater scratching your head last time, expect to do so again. The abrupt ending leaves the door wide open for a third movie, which should be as delightfully nerve-racking as the first and second.

The film does suffer a few missteps, but gaping plot holes and idiot characters shouldn’t be anything new to horror fans. Focus on the plot twists and the strength of the antagonist, and “Saw II” is sure to deliver a bloody good time.