Saw II | Chicago Reader

Saw II

The cheapo horror thriller Saw (2004) cleaned up at the box office with its grim tale of two men who wake to find themselves shackled at opposite ends of a grimy, subterranean toilet, captives of a mysterious serial killer. This encore ups the ante with eight strangers who've been locked in a decrepit house, gassed with a slow-acting poison, and left to tear each other apart. The original provided some genuinely creepy moments despite an increasingly absurd story line; the equally silly sequel defuses much of its tension by moving the villain (Tobin Bell) out of the shadows and into a stale conflict with a rumpled police detective (Donnie Wahlberg). Darren Lynn Bousman directed a script he cowrote with Leigh Whannell, who cooked up the first movie. R, 93 min.

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