Saw II



Gruesome and explicit -- not for kids.
  • Review Date: February 13, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Killer is vengeful and malicious; father yells at his son; characters cheat and abuse each other out of fear.


Gruesome, bloody violence, as serial killer takes out victims one by one.


Women wear small, tight tops; one male victim appears in his boxers; reference made to a "door" between a woman's legs.


Frequent cursing, including the f-word.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cigarette smoking, intravenous drug use (and character is then dropped in a pit full of needles), a beer bottle appears on a table.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is not for kids. It features gruesome violence, with detailed, explicit imagery of bodies penetrated by sharp implements, shot, burned up, slammed, smashed, punched, kicked, sawed, cut, and dismembered. The movie includes jump scenes and frequent arguments among victims and cops, as well as between the primary cop and the killer, who holds the cop's son hostage. The father and son argue at the beginning of the film, setting the stage for the father's remorse and anger. Characters bleed (lots), vomit, and cough blood. Characters smoke and curse relentlessly; in flashback, one character injects drugs, to demonstrate her addiction. The film also features "extreme" editing, very rough and jaggedy, which in itself may be disturbing for some viewers.

What's the story?

SAW II brings back the serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), this time as a self-styled family counselor with terminal cancer. It seems that Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) is not paying proper attention to his troubled son Daniel (Erik Knudsen), and so Jigsaw takes a moralistic interest. Eric comes with the usual compromised background: he's been riding a desk since his own coppish corruption was exposed five years ago. Empowered by his deadly illness, Jigsaw gathers together an assortment of Eric's rigged-evidence victims, recently released from prison and puts them in a booby-trapped house with young Daniel. He also arranges to have every room monitored by video camera, the feeds available for viewing by the cops, in Jigsaw's lair.

Is it any good?


As before, Jigsaw points out to anyone who will listen that he doesn't actually kill anyone, he just sets up his victims and then offers them "choices." Their icky deaths are their own fault. Such reasoning was the premise of Saw, a surprise hit that recycled hoary psycho killer conventions to extra-splattery effect ("There will be blood"). In SAW II, the repetition is only compounded: Jigsaw is suffering from terminal cancer, which he presumes grants him moral authority: "Those who do not appreciate life do not deserve life."


And as always, Jigsaw ("Call me John," he tells Eric) is chatty in the extreme, explaining his games far beyond the point of interest. He talks at Eric and by tape, he talks at the victims in the house (including Franky G, Glenn Plummer, and the first film's Shawnee Smith, returned for more abuse). None of the players in this game is particularly appealing. But even as the film's focus on sadistic pleasures raises questions about audiences' desire to "watch," it's all retread.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's rudimentary efforts to set up the killer's "moralistic" framework. How does Jigsaw judge his victims in order to rationalize his cruelty? How might the father and son have worked out their conflict in a less sensational way? What does the son want from his father? And where is the mother in all this?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 28, 2005
DVD release date:February 14, 2006
Cast:Beverley Mitchell, Donnie Wahlberg, Tobin Bell
Director:Darren Lynn Bousman
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:grisly violence and gore, terror, language and drug content

This review of Saw II was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old July 3, 2009


Not appropriate for most 14 year olds. Very violent bloody, gory. Prolly 50+ f-words. All the people in it are terrible role models. The entire message is just a terrible message. Much more blood than I expected even. Almost every second. But this one actually is enjoying to watch because the plot is decent and there are some real surprises for all of you Saw and horror movie fans out there.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byJ-dog21 August 5, 2009

great movie

Great movie violent but ends with a great twist, not as violent as the first though
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byeazy__breezy November 29, 2014

Pretty Good

Kids are obsessed with these films, anyone who is under 15 or 16 should not watch this. Gore/grisly and disturbing violence plus sexual references and language=not for little kids. Grow up, watching movies like these does not make you cool, it just makes you look weird and sick.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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