Horror Marathon: Saw II (2005)

Back into the the Saw franchise, we hop into its direct sequel, Saw II. Where can the film go from the ending of the first? Thats pretty hard to see. Saw II has changed hands to a new director, Darren Lynn Bousman who is pretty green with this being its second full length feature. He however does take the reins for the next two. At least Leigh Whannell is still on as co-writer.

Lets check it out.

Saw II (2005)

Saw 2

Director (&co-writer) : Darren Lynn Bousman

Cast: Tobin Bell, Donnie Wahlberg, Shawnee Smith, Erik Knudsen, Dina Meyer, Franky G, Lyriq Bent

A detective and his team must rescue 8 people trapped in a factory by the twisted serial killer known as Jigsaw.-IMDB

Saw II is a peculiar direction to take. This time, Jigsaw is tracked down by the police and his only request is to have a talk with Donnie Wahlberg’s character, Eric Matthews whose son was kidnapped. As with most Jigsaw games, there is a countdown and this time, the time is ticking on the screen that is projecting where his son is cooped up with a few other people with different backgrounds. However, the familiar face appears here as we see last movie’s escapee, Amanda Young yet again be captured. The countdown turns out to have many meanings however, its main one is that Jigsaw says there is a toxic gas in the air that will kill them all if they don’t escape. The story and concept of this one seems a little cliche at parts and even if this is just the second film, the audience is pretty much smarter than the cast itself however, the true game and tension is in Jigsaw and Matthews chat. Saw II is really average however, the ending does have some clever twists, mostly in the finale.

SAW 2

Its important to talk about the characters here because when the movie finished, I had to think about certain characters and whether it was because the character is written dumb or the acting was lackluster. Perhaps it is the fact that now there are so many more players in Jigsaw’s game that the immersion is stripped from their importance or just our lack of connection to these characters. It sucks that they are in this situation but the key is why are they there more than who they are and even the minute chance that they will escape. Lets just face the fact here. A lot of the characters here engaged in petty arguments and deliberate prejudices and it lacked that natural flow of character development that the first had. The only one we needed to care for was Matthews’ son and Amanda Young. It turned its focus on the contraptions that the characters has to deal with related to their crime that Jigsaw had drawn out for them than the story itself. I honestly don’t believe the Saw was in its spectacles even in the first one. The direction definitely leaves something to be desired. The character that I really disliked the most was somewhat of the “villain” of the whole situation played by Franky G and somehow maybe its because he did capture the role correctly even if it was a very uninspired character.

saw 2

The joy of Saw was in its disturbing mind games and the psychological factor that it had. Sure, it was messed up in whatever Jigsaw contraption because of its extremity however we can already see in Saw 2 that in the hands of someone else the tone has shifted. Even the script is much weaker. The whole experience was still entertaining however it was more in the conversation between Eric Matthews and Jigsaw more than the 8 characters suffering the ordeals in a mystery location that needed to be saved. While the ending twist was quite clever, it didn’t help that getting there wasn’t quite as innovative.

A true shame that we can already see the slow demise of the franchise in this sequel. Maybe, it’ll come back in the third? We can only see since this one ended on somewhat of an open ending.

Have you seen Saw 2? Thoughts? Did you like it more or less than I did?

Dead Silence (2007)

When I can fit two movies in a weekend, you know I’m slacking off on writing my novel.  Either way, I know I was and I’m not proud of it.  There’s still a few days to redeem myself though.  We’ll see how that goes.  Anyways, at least my blog seems to be benefiting a bit.  Dead Silence has been intriguing me and even though Eric at theipc advised me to forget it, I didn’t listen. Maybe I should have? Either way, lets see how that was.

dead silence posterDirector: James Wan

Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Bob Gunton, Judith Roberts

Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) and his wife (Joan Heney) are happily married until one day, his wife was murdered in a gruesome way while he was out to get takeout.  It makes him into the prime suspect for her death, especially in the eyes of Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg). Following clues, he ends up taking his wife’s body back home to Raven’s Fair to bury and at the same time, look into what had happened.  There he learns of the story about a past ventriloquist called Mary Shaw whose name haunts the town after her death.

There is no doubt in my mind that James Wan (with his writer Leigh Whannell) is pretty awesome together in the world of horror.  After all, despite many people feeling that Insidious was missing a good ending, I still felt it was pretty strong as a horror movie.  Thats coming from my inexperience and lower tolerance of horror movies, I think.  Still, whatever it is, I was convinced that James Wan knew what he was doing.  I haven’t seen the Saw franchise so I have no comparison but that is also one of the reasons why I decided to watch Dead Silence. The second reason was that Ryan Kwanten (not in True Blood being a simple-minded Jason) would be interesting, at the very least, it’ll bring something nice to the screen.

dead silence billy

The only thing that scared me when I was a child was clowns and being never revealed to ventriloquist and that whole world of creepiness, I didn’t exactly find this scary.  It just felt REALLY slow.  Like I like slow but this was just nearing boring. So I paused this movie..umm…*counts on fingers* forget it, I don’t remember how many times.  I just didn’t feel like there was anything making me want to wait for the next thing because I sat there and predicted what would happen for most of the movie.  So what was wrong with this? It comes to the point that in comparison with Insidious, that one was creeping me out throughout the movie and didn’t have just an epic ending but this one was the other way around.  Honestly, by the last bit and of course, he always has a twist, it changed the game a bit, so why couldn’t the rest of the movie be like that? Sorry, this review is more of a rant.

dead silence jamie marion

Okay, I’m not hating on the movie.  I did rate it like 3 out of 5 stars on Netflix, means I liked it (apparently). The characters were done well.  I mean, for the most part, James Wan and Leigh Whannell seem to really agree on what is creepy and Mary Shaw plus ventriloquists are definitely in that arena.  Rotting old ladies are also very scary.  I’m totally on board with that.  Dead Silence had decent scares. The scenes all had nice eerie atmosphere to complement it.  A lot of the details were actually quite good.  As usual, its his style to use atmosphere to build up the fear than with excessive gore (maybe thats not the case with Saw? I know nothing of that).

kinopoisk.ru

I always look at the characters a bit.  The characters aren’t exactly in depth here but one I hated was the detective. That guy was stupid and I wanted to punch his face because he annoyed me. Ryan Kwanten was definitely different from how I usually see him.  It actually makes me want to see The Right Kind of Wrong.  I think that might more be his ballpark.  All the characters weren’t around enough to give me any deep feeling or attachment so if and when they did die, it really didn’t make me feel anything much, plus, everyone dies the same way so after a while, its not extremely surprising.

It seems like Dead Silence really caught me on a bad day but I guess, its hard to follow a pretty awesome movie like Children of Men that had a great storyline.  However, Dead Silence does have many many hints of the works of James Wan.  If you appreciate his work, this might not be a bad choice, especially if dolls and that sort of thing tend to freak you out.  My suggestion is to tough out the first half because its filled with not so great dialogue and a really slow plot but by the second half in Ravens Fair and the investigation is getting deeper, the tension really builds up for the big finale/twist 🙂 So no, not all bad, the ending really pushes it in the good area.