Welcome to the Ending Explained for ‘Saw 2’, a 2005 horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Leigh Whannell. Whannel would later also help create the Insidious series of films and would become a very solid director in his own right, having directed Insidious Chapter 3, Upgrade, and The Invisible Man to great success. ‘Saw 2’ marks the beginning of Saw as a franchise, and it is still one of the best sequels in the series. The movie managed to take the concept from the original and expand it in frightening and surprising ways.
With the release of Saw X upon us, it is very important to check out how the second movie ended. Saw X will be set between the original film and this second installment, making Saw X a sort of Saw 1.5 in reality. And so the ending of that film will feed into this one in ways that are probably expected and unexpected. There will be a lot of gore, for sure, but the tenth installment will probably just give us a new perspective on John Kramer, the now-infamous Jigsaw. And how he went from being a cancer patient into one of the most prolific and influential murderers in film history.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for ‘Saw 2’. Read at your own risk.
Why did John begin to make his jigsaw traps?
Throughout the years, the Saw movies began to follow a simple format, to introduce new traps to ramp up the gore in the film, and then create a twisty plot that would end in a plot twist that would change our perspective on everything that we saw until that point. As more and more films got released, the traps became more and more sadistic, but the plot started becoming more stale. The twists and turns were not as meaningful as before, and because of this, the series started to bring diminishing returns.
However, here in ‘Saw 2’, the movie formula was still fresh, and while the traps were cool, bloody, and hard to watch. It was the plot that really made this movie worth watching. By this point, it is clear that Leigh Whannell is a great screenwriter, and here, he managed to bring a story together in different time frames without telling us that this is exactly what is happening in the movie. The film works in two separate timelines, the past and the present, but it presents both as if they were running in parallel. The big twist at the end shows that this is not what is happening.
The movie introduces the character of Eric Matthews, a corrupt detective who has been making a lot of arrests by planting evidence against his victims. Jigsaw only targets bad people or people who don’t appreciate their lives and what they can do to improve the world. And so, Eric becomes the perfect target for Jigsaw, a man who, to feel important and worthy, has to destroy the lives of others. At this point in the franchise, this is Jigsaw’s most impressive and simple test, which Eric fails.
Along with Eric, we are introduced to Daniel, his son. They have a very hard relationship, but it is clear that Eric cares a lot about his son. Eric manages to track Jigsaw and actually arrest him, but like in every movie, Jigsaw is many steps ahead. He shows Eric a bunch of screens where he sees that Daniel is now part of one of his “Games,” and he won’t tell where the game is taking place. This forces Eric to talk to Jigsaw, and here we learn more about his motivations as a villain. Why is he doing all these awful things to people?
Why is Amanda again in the Game?
We learn that Jigsaw believes that the only way for people to truly appreciate their lives is for them to face death head-on. Eric doesn’t understand the sentiment; he has never had to face death before, but Jigsaw has. We learn that Jigsaw was just a normal person, John Kramer before he started making his death traps. When John learns that he will die very soon due to his cancer, he gets a new purpose in life: preaching and changing people’s lives by forcing them to face death. Of course, most of his subjects just simply died.
This entire conversation between John and Eric is happening in the present while the “Game” is happening in the past. What the police are seeing on the screens is actually just a recording. John places a warning for Eric, and with a clock ticking to zero, If Eric doesn’t follow the game’s rules, forcing him to talk with John, he won’t see Daniel again. John assures the boy is in a safe place. Eric becomes desperate because he doesn’t know the game is over. In the movie’s climax, we see that all the subjects are dead except for Amanda and Daniel.
Amanda made her first appearance in the first movie, and she is, at this point, the only known survivor of a Jigsaw trap. Why is she here again? As the movie progresses, we learn that all the subjects were framed and sent to prison by Eric. And so Daniel is in the worst place to be, surrounded by people who hate his father. However, Amanda helps Daniel survive until the very end. The police learn where the signal feeding the monitors is coming from, and they go. Meanwhile, Eric is also going to where Daniel is supposed to be. However, things are not that simple.
You see when the police arrive at the house where the “Game” is taking place, they find nothing, only more computers and monitors transmitting the video signal. Meanwhile, John is leading Eric to the real house. Of course, when they arrive, Eric realizes no one is there; the “Game” has already happened. He then gets knocked down by someone in a pig mask, who injects him with something to make him sleep. At the previous location, the clock reaches zero, and a safe opens, revealing Daniel inside. If only Eric had been patient and talked to Jigsaw, he would have won.
Instead, John got framed in the same way as he framed all those other people. The final twists of the movie reveal that Amanda, having survived her trap, has now become Jigsaw’s apprentice, and she is willing to continue Jigsaw’s work after he is gone. Amanda leaves Eric to die in the bathroom, the same one that served as the location for the first film.