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Saw II review

Deranged sadist Jigsaw is back in this hastily assembled sequel to last year's horror hit, but it's his victims who end up in pieces in Darren Lynn Bousman's suitably ghoulish retread. Trading the original's two-guys-in-a-bathroom simplicity for a more ambitious eight-strangers-in-a-crackhouse scenario, Saw II keeps faith with its predecessor by setting its luckless prisoners a series of fiendish Darwinian challenges designed to establish which are most deserving of survival. Meanwhile, back at Jigsaw's rumbled HQ, the cancer-ridden killer (Tobin Bell) shares his unique world view with Donnie Wahlberg's edgy cop, whose teenage son (Erik Knudsen) just happens to be one of the hostages...

With everything from razor blades to used syringes ramping up the ick factor, Bousman's thriller has plenty of nasty moments to rival Saw's climactic hacksaw-ankle interface. But its over-eagerness to trump the first pic's shock twist ultimately proves its undoing, needlessly complicating an otherwise effective slice of grisly Grand Guignol.

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