Judge Patrick Naugle collects HJustin Bieber memorabilia. If tthat's not scary, I don't know what is.
Every great collector has a vision.
Previously on The Collector (insert dramatic theme music here) we saw master thief, Arkin (Josh Stewart, The Dark Knight Rises), in the clutches "The Collector," a crazy, silent psycho killer who is now the subject of a manhunt by the local authorities. Arkin is able to escape after being dropped off in a large red suitcase (don't ask) at a rave being attended by Elena Peters (Emma Fitzpatrick, In Time). Elana is captured by The Collector, but not before everyone—including her best friend—are butchered by one of The Collector's devilishly clever traps. While being treated at a hospital, Arkin is enlisted to help find The Collector by way of cuts on his arms that are able to pinpoint the exact location (again, don't ask). The person funding this expedition is Elena's wealthy father (Christopher McDonald, Dutch), who sends his personal bodyguard (Lee Tergesen, Oz) to help bring back his daughter. With time running out and dozens of deadly traps to avoid, can Arkin find Elena in time and get out of The Collector's home before be becomes a permanent display?
2009's The Collector was basically Saw confined to a single house setting. It will surprise no one to find out that The Collector was written by a few guys who also worked on Saw IV, Saw V, and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. Essentially, these Collector movies feel like some weird offshoot of the Saw franchise; they feature just as much grizzle and deadly traps, only without a creepy puppet on a bike. I recall seeing The Collector in theaters and, well, I don't know "enjoy" is the word, but it certainly held my attention. The killer (or "Collector," as I'm sure he'd like to be known) was a mostly faceless serial killer without a personality; for all intents and purposes it could have easily been another Friday the 13th film sans a hockey mask. While well constructed, The Collector was hardly a movie screaming out for a sequel, grossing under $8 million dollars at the box office. Apparently its budget was only half of that, so even with that paltry take, it still made money.
So, here we are with The Collection, which picks up a short while after The Collector. To revel in a clichéd phrase, if you enjoyed the first film I'm sure this unwarranted sequel will be right up your alley. The Collection starts out with a bloodbath by way of giant lawnmower-like blades being dragged through a group of clubbing teenagers. If that sounds like a good time at the movies, The Collection will tickle you to no end. The movie then proceeds to offer up people being yanked towards the sky on giant hooks, piles of rotting corpses, and victims nailed to the wall crying out in agony. Most of The Collection deals with watching characters being stabbed, burned, cut, sliced, poked, diced, and generally mutilated beyond all human understanding. The Collection ends up being a cat-and-mouse game where people run through a maze of dread and gooey entrails until everyone feels like they just want to take a hot shower to clean off. I'm sure viewers can empathize.
Horror movies are a funny genre; their success depends on their execution (pun intended), and if the filmmakers go too dark the experience can be almost painfully hard to swallow. This is why movies like Re-Animator and Night of the Creeps are so beloved; while they are certainly gruesome in their effects work, the movies also understand that good horror benefits from a sense of fun or—at the very least—maniacal glee. Movies like The Collection (and its Saw brethren) are so deadly serious about their violence that they become a chore to watch. I liken it to sitting through someone getting eye surgery; interesting for a moment, but who wants to watch two hours of that?
There are flesh and blood actors to be found here, but they are given little to do but scream, grimace, or fire guns at each other (sometimes all of those reactions simultaneously). Emma Fitzpatrick gets the thankless task of being the female lead, which means she does a lot of crying and gets to look so dirty and snotty it's as if she's in the middle of a really nasty cold. Josh Stewart's Arkin, the center of the last movie, gnashes his teeth a lot as he looks for ways to get revenge from the man who tortured him. The only character that makes any impression is the underused Christopher McDonald, mostly because I remember him from '90s comedies and Adam Sandler movies, so seeing him in a serious role made me giggle. As for the guy who plays The Collector? The actor (stuntman Randall Archer) wears a weird leather S&M mask and has very beady eyes, which is about as deep a characterization the movie can afford.
The Collection is presented in a fine looking 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Most of the film is bathed in darkness, and as such the black levels are solid and deep. What colors there are (lots of blue and red hues) also pop nicely for a standard definition release. Although this isn't reference quality, Lionsgate (who also released the Saw films) has done a nice job on this picture.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. This is a very aggressive audio mix that sports a lot of directional effects and icky sounds coming through all five speakers. The music score is often of the techno-rave variety, so that also will give your home theater system a heavy work out. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles, as well as a Dolby 5.1 Surround mix in Spanish.
Extra features include a commentary track with writer/director Marcus Dunstan and writer Patrick Melton, three alternate/deleted scenes, six short featurettes ("A Director's Vision," "Make-Up and Effects of The Collection," "Production Design," "Special Effects of The Collection," "Stunts of The Collection"), a theatrical trailer, and a digital copy of the film.
Does The Collection sound like a great time to you? If so, you scare me just a little bit. This is about as entertaining as chewing sandpaper soaked in battery acid and Tabasco sauce, which reminds me: I have a great idea for a second sequel which I've cleverly titled The Collecting.
A slickly produced barf bag. Enter at your own peril.
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