You haven't seen a horror flick till you've watched someone forced to "escape" from their leg chain by hacksawing through their own limb. That was the gory 2004 "Saw," which -- and here's a proud-to-be-an-American statistic -- grossed more than $55 million at the box office.
"Saw II" is back with more -- literally. Instead of two people ankle-chained in a dilapidated bathroom, we have eight folks trapped inside a grim house, all raging and screaming at one another as if this is some reality TV show gone criminally insane.
Again, the would-be victims don't know why they're there and must negotiate their way through deadly booby traps to get out -- all this before they succumb to the noxious gas flowing through the vents. Their only escape clues come from prerecorded tapes made by the bass-voiced Jigsaw, who gamely suggests they collaborate to figure out a safe exit. Their only hope from the outside comes from detective Eric Mason (Donnie Wahlberg), whose teen son (Erik Knudsen) is among the captured. Mason eventually catches Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) and tries to beat the truth out of him. Not a good idea.
It's clear this sequel (directed by Darren Lynn Bousman) doesn't have the same smartness (I speak relatively) of the original. Nonetheless, "Saw" fans can still look forward to involuntary incineration, wrist and throat slashing, bullets through brains and the bashing of someone's head with a nail-festooned club. The most horrifying moment is saved for last: when you realize things have been obviously set up for yet another sequel.
-- Desson Thomson