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Soundtrack review: Saw II (Charlie Clouser – 2005)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Saw II (Charlie Clouser – 2005)


The success of “Saw” prompted the obligatory sequel, derived from a script which had nothing to do with the franchise at first. Looking back you can really tell as this movie is the most different from the other six. Still they found a way to introduce Jigsaw and his games into this and ended up with a brilliant horror flick. There are a couple of scenes I can barely watch again, and surprisingly they are not the goriest or bloodiest. But there’s one instance involving some syringes that’s hard to watch. Charlie Clouser was back and this score also got released.

The sound of “Saw” gets its full development in this one. Charlie Clouser turns his music into barbed wire and I feel the sounds cutting me as they twist harder and harder. Even starting with “Mirror” the sound etches itself into my skin and leaves a scar that will be constantly picked and scratched. It’s hard though to talk about separate cues, because each of them is a mere insert very rarely lasting more than a minute. The cues fade into each other as if they were one giant cue sewed together with crooked stitches.

Still for me the best thing about Charlie Clouser’s music is the atmospheric element. It’s that rhythmic and hypnotizing keyboard sound that’s fully fleshed in the “Wilson Steel” cue. The piano moments and the truly eerie ones are my favorite. They are scarce but all the more precious. Yes I can dream even when I listen to a disturbing horror score, if the composer is this talented.

“Saw II” is not for the lovers of the classic horror sound. This for those who like the dark industrial sound, the one that plays actually like a rusty saw cutting through flesh and bone. Sometimes it gets very loud and abrasive, other times it’s quiet… but it’s the kind of music that affects you no matter how it plays. I like how this score actually gives the impression of a cold, abandoned building full of rusty pipes and broken down walls. It has deceiving echoes and flickering lights, it has things crawling on the walls and floors and illusions of a possible escape.

There is also “Needle pit”… the scene I couldn’t watch again which has a cue to match it. Hard to listen to , but brilliant, searing, all-consuming violent music that has all the terror and intensity that scene had. The highlight of the score for me alongside, of course, the rendition of the “Hello Zepp” theme.

Cue rating:

Total minutes of excellence:

Album excellence:



Eye Panic

Bail Out

Look Closer

Wilson Steel

Stair Cage

I’ve Played Before


Needle Pit

Cut Necks

Hello, Eric

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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  1. Marco Ludema 15th August 2018

    I honestly like the Evolution Music Partners version of this score better, because of the better sound editing. Great review.


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