So here's the thing: The movie I was writing my column about this week got pushed back to next week, leaving me with no choice but to lock my brain in a rusty hepatitis trunk with Saw 3D. Now, I have not seen Saw 3D. I have no intention of seeing Saw 3D. Things I would rather subject myself to than Saw 3D include: Rusty Hepatitis Trunk 3D, Nude Amateur Cyst Lancing 3D, Christian Audigier at the Sperm Clinic 3D, Chilean Mine Makeshift Cave Toilet 3D, and Courtney Love's Pap Smear Jamboree 3D.
So instead, I'm going to reach waaaaaay back (INTO THE VAULT, you guys!!!) and reprint my 2005 review of Saw II. This is the second movie review I ever wrote for The Stranger—back when the world was young, I was literally 11 (not literally!), and none of us had a clue we'd be subjected to at least five more of these pieces of shit. Switch "Costas Mandylor" for "Donnie Wahlberg" and add "bloody fingernails flying at your mouth in 3-D," and the whole thing basically still applies.
by Lindy West, age 11
Remember 2004? Remember how much you liked Saw? Well, madman-with-a-heart-of-gold Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is back (finally!) and he just wants to help. His body ravaged by cancer, he decides to spend his last days giving back the only way he knows how: spreading a little joie de vivre through gruesome torture and mutilation. Hence, Saw II. According to Jigsaw, "Those who do not appreciate life do not deserve life." What they deserve, apparently, is to be sliced and poked and gouged and gassed, to have their heads crushed in spiky helmets and their children abducted. Jigga has a mysterious bone to pick with old, balding kid-on-the-block Donnie Wahlberg (surprisingly okay as dumpy Detective Eric Matthews), so he shuts his son up in a big booby-trapped house with a bunch of ne'er-do-wells (including Beverley "Lucy Camden" Mitchell and Shawnee "I guess she was on Becker" Smith). Then all sorts of unpleasant and totally uninteresting things happen.
Saw II is a fable about the importance of teamwork. When trapped in a horrific death house by a vicious murderer, your lungs filling with blood from the deadly nerve gas ("What does he mean, 'gas'?"), it's best to keep a cool head and cooperate with your fellow captives. Also, try to respect your host and follow the rules of his nefarious plan. Remember: There's no "I" in "get me the fuck out of here."
There is nothing about this movie that I didn't hate. Saw II thinks it has something to say—some hack philosophy about yelling at your kids and being a junkie and taking life for granted—but don't be fooled. It's really just about all the worst things you can do to an eyeball. How does it feel to be imprisoned in a dark room and tortured for an hour and a half? I think I'm beginning to understand. Nicely played, Jigsaw.