Best Film in the Most Goreous Franchise of the 2000s
For a while in the 2000s, Halloween belonged to Seen franchise. Seven consecutive October, from 2004 to 2010, were embellished with journeys into the dark heart of John Kramer – aka the Jigsaw Killer – as he concocted bizarre and complex traps to test people’s moral fiber and their resolve to stay alive. life. John was so determined that his work continued well beyond his death during the bloody heyday of the 2006s. Saw III.
A year before John met his creator at the hands of Angus Macfadyen and a power saw, the franchise delivered their difficult second album – Darren Lynn Bousman’s Saw II. 15 years later, this film looks like the absolute climax of the series that has dominated the horror kind. It’s the film that built on a surprise hit with an expanded mythology, effectively establishing the formula that would keep the franchise going for years to come, even without its white-haired talisman behind the wheel.
A little like The golden finger established many tropes and conventions that make up the “James Bond Formula”, Saw II set up the crucial elements of the franchise. Several characters participate in a loosely connected central scheme, with various Rube Goldberg machine death traps along the way, which ultimately turns out to be a test in itself for the main character. It’s also the first film to feature a final twist in the time-consuming plot – something that would become an sometimes brilliant, but often frustrating, feature of the series.
Watch: Trailer coming soon Seen movie Spiral
The plot is fairly straightforward, at least compared to some of the later Seen exits. At the scene of one of Jigsaw’s murderous games, a cop finds a message to his former colleague, Donnie Wahlberg’s Detective Eric Matthews. This leads them to Kramer’s hideout from Tobin Bell, who reveals that he kidnapped Matthews’ son, Daniel, as part of an elaborate trap.
A seemingly unrelated group of people – including Daniel and former Jigsaw survivor Amanda (Shawnee Smith) – are locked in a house filled with poison gas. They must each find antidotes hidden in other traps to survive. Kramer, however, tells Matthews that his son is “in a safe place” and that Matthews will see him again as long as he can just sit and talk to him for the next few hours.
Read more: Halloween 2020 Viewing Guide
Matthews is unable to do so, and seeing his son in danger as others die around him, he beats Kramer until the killer agrees to take him home. There, it is revealed that the house scenes were pre-recorded rather than live, and that Daniel was kept alive in a safe next to where John was sitting the entire time. The film ends with Amanda (Shawnee Smith) revealed to have always been tricky as Kramer’s apprentice. She leaves Matthews to die in the house, after failing his test.
Saw II take everything up a notch from the first Seen movie. After this film’s Dynamite opening weekend, Lionsgate quickly gave the green light for a sequel – on a budget four times that of its predecessor. This allowed for more elaborate traps and blood buckets that were mostly kept off-screen in the stripped-down 2004 original. Things that come to mind when you think about Seen were almost all born in his first suite.
The story of the film has its origins in a specific script that music video director Darren Lynn Bousman was looking for, called The desperate, which was rejected because it was too similar to Seen. I didn’t expect to make a sequel, Seen creators James wan and Leigh whannell couldn’t take the reins of creation this time around and so, with a little finesse from Wan and Whannell, Bousman’s script became Saw II, with Whannell credited as co-author.
In recognition of his involvement in the transformation Seen in a franchise beast with his feature debut, Bousman would go on to direct the two Saw III and Saw IV – not to mention the upcoming reboot Spiral: From the Book of Saw, which was written by Chris Rock.
The traps of Saw II are as innovative as they are grotesque, carried out largely practically as opposed to the over-reliance on CGI synthetic bloodshed that increasingly infect the franchise. Production designer David Hackl built 27 sets in three weeks to house the deadly machines of Jigsaw, the infamous needle trap requiring 120,000 syringes to have their sharp tips replaced with harmless syringes.
In the following six films, the Seen franchise has never been able to match the lean and average formula established by Seen II. It struck the perfect balance between gruesome visuals, a complex but straightforward plot, and a delicate finale that made John Kramer the smartest man in the room. Other movies got bigger, darker, and dumber, but the recipe never tasted so sweet.
The film would crush the box office success of Seen, earning $ 148million (£ 114million) worldwide. The total was beaten by the less interesting Saw III a year later, but the financial and creative downturn started after that and never really abated. Spiral Maybe could turn things around and if it does, it will hopefully be because Bousman recognizes the genius of what he achieved 15 years ago.
Watch: Tobin Bell discusses title role in franchise reboot Jigsaw