Saw II is a mystery psychological thriller and the second installment of the Saw franchise, first released in 2005. Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by him and Leigh Whannell, the film's story revolves around a detective, who has to play one of the gruesome games set up by the infamous Jigsaw Killer in order to save his own son. The second movie further illustrates the motives and ideals of Jigsaw and marks the beginning of several ongoing story lines, which expand on the future movies.
Michael Marks, a police informant, wakes up and finds himself with a spike-filled mask locked around his neck. A videotape informs him that he has one minute to retrieve the key from behind his right eye with a scalpel. Michael, however, cannot bring himself to cut out his eye and is killed when the mask closes on his head. When Michael's corpse is found shortly afterwards, his employer, Detective Eric Matthews, is called to the crime scene by Detective Allison Kerry when she discovers a message for him left by the Jigsaw Killer.
Initially reluctant to become involved in the investigation, Eric quickly manages to locate Jigsaw's hideout at the abandoned Wilson Steel Plant and therefore decides to join Kerry and Sergeant Daniel Rigg as they raid the plant with a SWAT team. Upon doing so, they find the killer, John Kramer, who is severely weakened by his cancer disease. However, as the officers are about to arrest him, John reveals that he has already planned to be found by them and shows them a set of surveillance monitors. On these monitors, Eric and the others witness eight people, including Daniel Matthews, Eric's son, and Amanda Young, the only known survivor of one of John's games, who are all trapped inside a big house. While being trapped there, they breathe in a deadly nerve agent and have two hours to find syringes with the antidote, which are hidden all around the house. John assures Eric that he will see his son again in a "safe and secure state" if he agrees to talk with him alone until the two hours are over. Pressured by Kerry, Eric reluctantly agrees to John's ultimatum in order to buy time for the police tech team to arrive and track the signal from the video feed.
The eight victims in the house - Daniel, Amanda, Xavier Chavez, Jonas Singer, Addison Corday, Laura Hunter, Obi Tate, and Gus Colyard - are informed about the nerve agent as well as the antidotes by an audio tape left by Jigsaw. One antidote is in a safe in the room where they all initially woke up. The combination is said to be "in the back of their minds" and the order, in which they have to be programmed in, is found "over the rainbow". Besides the tape, the prisoners also find a key and a warning message, which tells them not to use the key to open the door of the room. Xavier refuses to heed the warning and uses the key, thereby causing Gus to be shot by a booby trap connected to the lock. Following his death, the group makes their way to the basement, where another tape reveals that Obi helped Jigsaw to abduct the others. Pressured by Xavier, Obi crawls into a furnace to retrieve two of the antidotes, but inadvertently activates the oven and is burned alive. As the remaining prisoners continue to search the house, Jonas leads them to another room upstairs. Another tape tells them that the next antidote is hidden behind a steel door and the key to open it lies somewhere in a pit filled with thousands of used syringes. This test is meant for Xavier, who is a drug dealer. However, instead of accomplishing his task himself, he throws Amanda into the pit. While she manages to obtain the key, Xavier fails to unlock the door in time and subsequently abandons the group out of frustration.
Meanwhile, John passes the two hours with both idle and cryptic conversation with an increasingly frustrated Eric. He eventually talks about his cancer diagnosis and his failed suicide attempt where he survived and found a new appreciation for his life. With the time he has left, he hopes to inspire the same appreciation in others by testing their will to live. As he explains his moral ideals to Eric, the tech team finally arrives. At Kerry's suggestion, Eric tries to provoke John by destroying several of his documents and sketches around the area. John however remains barely impressed and reveals that all of the victims in the house, except for Daniel, have all been innocently framed by Eric for various crimes they didn't commit. Furthermore, he warns him that Daniel's life will be endangered once the other prisoners learn about his connection to Eric.
In the house, Xavier returns to the first room where they initially woke up and discovers a colored number written in the back of Gus' neck. Thereby, he realizes that each one of them has one number of the combination to the safe written on their necks. Desperate to get his hands on the antidote, he kills Jonas in a fight and begins to hunt down the others. Meanwhile, Laura succumbs to the nerve agent, having been more affected than the others. Additionally, Amanda and Addison both abandon Daniel after finding a photo of Daniel and Eric. Amanda, however, returns after finding Jonas' body. As the two of them try to find a place to hide from Xavier, Addison finds a room with another antidote located inside a glass box. However, as she puts her hand through a hole in the box to grab it, her arms are trapped in the razor blade-lined sockets. Moments later, Xavier finds her, but leaves her to die after reading her number. Amanda and Daniel return to the first room and find a hidden tunnel, which leads them to the dilapidated bathroom from the first film, which still contains the severed foot of Dr. Lawrence Gordon and the decomposing bodies of Adam Stanheight and Zep Hindle. Weakened by the gas, Daniel collapses, moments before Xavier finds them. Amanda points out that he cannot read his own number in an attempt to prevent him from hurting them, but Xavier cuts the skin from his neck. Afterwards, he approached them to obtain there numbers. However, Daniel, who has simply staged his collapse, slashes his throat with a hacksaw.
At the Wilson Steel Plant, Eric brutally assaults John after witnessing Xavier's pursuit of Daniel and forces him to take him to the house. John agrees to do so, but demands to go there alone with Eric. The area they were in turns out to be a freight elevator, which they use to leave the factory. At the same tame, the tech team traces the video feed to another house. However, as Rigg and his men arrive there, they realize that they had merely watched a recording of the game the entire time, while the game itself had already been over before their raid on Jigsaw's hideout. Just as they realize Jigsaw's deception, the time expires and a large safe opens at the Wilson Steel Plant. Thereby, Kerry finds Daniel, who has been trapped inside the safe the entire time.
Unaware of this revelation, Eric arrives at the real location of the game and enters the house alone. Thereby, he eventually finds the bathroom, where he is attacked and subdued by a pig-masked figure. As he wakes up, he finds himself shackled by the ankle to a pipe. An audio tape lying next to him reveals that Amanda Young has become John's accomplice after surviving her own game and playing as a victim in the house. Furthermore, the tape tells him that Amanda will carry on John's work after his death and that he is supposed to be Amanda's first test subject. As the tape ends, Amanda appears outside the room and seals the bathroom door with the words "Game Over", leaving Eric to die. Outside, John, who is still waiting in Eric's van, smiles satisfied as his plan was successful.
- Tobin Bell as Jigsaw/John
- Shawnee Smith as Amanda
- Donnie Wahlberg as Eric Matthews
- Erik Knudsen as Daniel Matthews
- Franky G as Xavier
- Glenn Plummer as Jonas
- Emmanuelle Vaugier as Addison
- Beverley Mitchell as Laura
- Timothy Burd as Obi
- Dina Meyer as Kerry
- Lyriq Bent as Rigg
- Noam Jenkins as Michael
- Tony Nappo as Gus
- Kelly Jones as SWAT Member Pete
- Vincent Rother as SWAT Member Joe
- Linette Robinson as Mother In Cancer Ward
- Gretchen Helbig as Nurse In Cancer Ward
- Kofi Payton as Boy In Cancer Ward
- John Fallon as Video Techie
- Ho "Oyster" Chow as Security Officer
Following the successful opening weekend of Saw in 2004, Saw II was immediately green-lit. Music video director Darren Lynn Bousman had written a script for a movie called The Desperate and tried to find an interested studio. Thereby, he came into contact with camera operator David Armstrong, who had already worked on the first Saw film, and suggested to show it to producer Gregg Hoffman. After showing it to his partners, Mark Burg and Oren Koules, they decided to change the script of the The Desperate and turned it into Saw II. Two months later, Bousman was flown to Toronto to direct the movie.
Leigh Whannell, who had already written the story of the first film, polished the script to make it fit into the Saw universe and also served as the executive producer along with James Wan. Besides them, all of the other crew members returned as well, including David Armstrong, editor Kevin Greutert and composer Charlie Clouser.
Saw II was also granted a higher budget of $4 million, compared to Saw's budget of about $1 million. The first shot, which involved shooting police cars and a SWAT van driving around the industrial docklands outside the soundstage, was filmed on April 29, 2005 in Toronto. After two months of pre-production, principal photography took place over 25 days at Toronto's Cinespace Film Studios from May 2, 2005 to June 6, 2005. The ending was filmed on May 25 and 26. To keep it a secret, only the crew members and actors involved in the ending were given the full script. Additionally, everyone involved in the film had to sign confidentiality agreement, which required them not to reveal any details about the plot. The music and sound was recorded in July. By September 9, Saw II was eventually finished entirely. Visual effects were performed by C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures and post-production services were provided by Deluxe.
Saw II was released in New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom on October 28, 2005 and in Australia on November 17, 2005. The original teaser poster showing two bloody, severed fingers was rejected by the Motion Picture Association of America. Since the poster was already released and managed to "slip by" the MPAA, they issued a release stating the poster was not approved and was unacceptable. Lions Gate Entertainment removed the poster from their websites. The image was used instead for the film's soundtrack cover, which was released on October 25, 2005 by Image Entertainment. Lionsgate held the second annual "Give Til It Hurts" blood drive for the Red Cross and collected 10,154 pints of blood.
On February 14, 2006, the film was released on DVD, VHS, and Universal Media Disc by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. 2.5 million units of the DVD were sold on the first day. It went on to sell 3.9 million units its first week, becoming the fastest selling theatrical DVD in Lionsgate's history. On October 24, 2006, an Unrated Special Edition was released, as well as an unrated Blu-ray edition with various special features on January 23, 2007.
Like the first film, Saw II was a financial success, earning $87,039,965 at the box office in the U.S. and $147,748,505 worldwide. Similar to its predecessor, the film received a mixed critical reception. It received a rating of 36% from Rotten Tomatoes, based on 117 reviews, while Metacritic gave it a score of 40 out of 100, based on 28 critics. While the story was generally criticized, most of the critics praised Tobin Bell's performance as the Jigsaw Killer.
The soundtrack of Saw II was composed by Charlie Clouser, who had already been responsible for the soundtrack of the first film. It was released on October 25, 2005 by Image Entertainment and also contained a music video directed by Darren Lynn Bousman.
1. Titles (Version A)
2. Titles (Version B)
4. Hello, Michael
6. Eye (Version A)
7. Eye (Version B)
8. Eye (Version C)
9. Eye Manson
10. Eye Manson (w/ vocals)
12. Manson (w/ vocals)
13. Bail Out
16. Puzzle Piece
17. Look Closer
18. Hands Full
19. Can't Sleep
20. Wilson Steel
21. Stair Cage
22. Leg Snap
23. Jigsaw Lair
24. The Problem
28. Wake Up
31. Eye Shot
33. Played (Edit)
34. Open Door
35. Game Plan
36. Sit Down
40. Hello, Obi
44. Your Son
46. Car Crash
47. Survived 1
48. Survived 2
49. Obi Scare
51. Hello, Xavier
52. Needle Pit
54. His Work
55. 3rd Drawer
58. Dad Photo
59. Can't Trust
60. Can't Trust (Alternate)
61. X Photo
64. Game Over
65. Take You
66. Fucking Door
67. Fucking Door (Edit)
68. Gotta Go
69. Shit Hole
70. X Approach
71. Cut Necks
72. Cut Necks (Alternate)
73. Eric Approach 1
74. Eric Approach 2
75. Not Live 1
76. Not Live 2
78. Eric/Shithole (Alternate)
79. Pig Stab (Version A)
80. Pig Stab (Version B)
81. Eric Wakes
82. Hello, Eric
83. Hello, Eric (Alternate)
84. BMI (Edit 1)
85. BMI (Edit 2)
- One of the posters for the film Scary Movie 4 parodied the "severed fingers" poster for this film. However, instead of a roman two, three fingers form the number four, while one has a Hello Kitty bandage. The tagline is "The funniest thing you ever sawed."
- In one scene, Jigsaw tells Kerry too look for the files of his victims in the second drawer of a brown desk. The desk, however, is white.
- In the Uncut Edition, there is a bonus feature called "Saw 2 in 62", consisting of three takes. The first one uses clay figures modeled after the characters in the film, the second one replaces the character with common materials and the third one uses animated photos from the film.
- The film contains several references to the film The Last House on the Left from 1972, such as the scene near the ending when John tells Eric that his son is in "the last house on the left".
- When Kerry and Eric are talking at the police station, Darren Lynn Bousman is seen with an afro on a wanted poster in the background.
- Darren Lynn Bousman also played the part of Jigsaw during Michael Marks' instruction video at the beginning of the film.
- The house number 237 is also the same number of the room in The Shining.
- In the scene where Kerry tells Eric to threaten Jigsaw that he'll destroy his work, several drawings of the traps in the house can be seen on the wall.
- During the raid of Jigsaw's hideout, the shadows of the crew members can be seen when the SWAT vehicles drive by the camera.
- Over 120.000 syringes were used to film the scene with the needle pit. It took four days for four people to replace the needle tips with fiber tips one by one.
- In the first film, the shackle Adam Stanheight's shackle was on his left leg. However, in Saw II, his right leg is chained to the pipe.