THE COLLECTION (2012)
(Directed by Marcus Dunstan)
(Written by Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan)
(Starring Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick and Lee Tergesen)
Plot: The Collector is the name of a serial killer who builds wild and crazy traps in order to slay his victims. But he always ‘collects’ one survivor, whom he leaves in a small box. His previous collection, Arkin (Josh Stewart) escapes and the Collector replaces him with Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick). Unfortunately for the demented murderer, Elena’s Father (Christopher McDonald) is filthy rich and has sent Lucello (Lee Tergesen), his right hand man, to bring her back. Lucello recruits some mercenaries and forces Arkin to help him find the Collector. They track the Collector down, but surviving the booby trapped house and the clever mass-murderer is the real challenge.
“The Collection” is simultaneously retarded and awesome, or at least is one of those, depending on the viewer. It is a sequel to “The Collector“, a “Saw“-clone that was so over-the-top when it came to its set up, I’m surprised that it wasn’t intended as some sort of satire. In truth, the filmmakers had wanted to deliver a more brutal, hardcore version of “Saw” (interestingly, it was conceived as a prequel). They discarded such trivial things like logic. But as baffling as the movie could be, I remember thinking it was edgy and intense. It’s one of those films that is everything it wants to be. I’m not surprised that a sequel was made, for it turned a profit, but I was shocked when I heard it would have a theatrical release. Even stranger, they increased the budget from $4,000,000 to $10,000,000. This warms my heart because it suggests that “The Collection” was made from legitimate inspiration, not greed. I wouldn’t call it great, or even good, but it is pretty crazy.
When I first saw “The Collector“, I had a lot of questions about the killer. Why set traps all throughout the house? How can he afford them? Is he some sort of deranged collector for an unnamed Lone Shark? What’s the purpose of lugging around various people in boxes? Why did the filmmakers feel the need to give him two gimmicks? “The Collection” doesn’t really answer much, but it does make the questions more glaring. The film starts with a newsreel where we learn he has become rather notorious, attacking and victimizing many people. Indeed, this much heat doesn’t seem to dissuade him. He undertakes his most ambitious project yet when he kills dozens of people in a dance club. Yes, you heard that right. Using contrived contraptions, he slices and dices people in masses. Those who aren’t slain by the onslaught are crushed. Once again, I have to wonder how he can afford all this stuff. When did he have the time to set it up? How are the police unable to catch this guy when he’s being so indiscreet. Yet I only started to ask these questions after this sequenced occurred. During it, I was too busy being distracted by the epic gore that had me cringing. This is just foreshadowing the wackiness we’re about to endure, but I adored all of it.
Once we get into the house, that’s when the real fun/stupidity begins. I expected traps but…really?! I think there needs to be a sitcom about what its like living in a place filled to the brim with instruments of death. I imagine the Collector has to always walk veeeery carefully so he doesn’t accidentally trip over one of his own devices. There doesn’t appear to be a single, normal room. Either there’s going to be some absurd death trap, body parts or…zombies?! Seriously, he captures people, drugs them out of their minds and uses them as his vicious little guard dogs. He also has literal guard dogs. Oh, did I mention that the Collector’s base is in an abandoned hotel? As he doesn’t own the property, I presume he has to pray someone doesn’t purchase the location or something. Then again, since the police can’t seem to find this guy, maybe they would be too stupid to investigate a missing realtor who vanished while investigating the hotel. While we’re on the topic, why didn’t Arkin tell the cops how to find the killers hideout? Holding back on that information- when people will die as a result- didn’t feel in character with what we know about him. Anyway, we have to presume that all the dead bodies laying about won’t stink up the place in this world, nor will they cause any diseases. But as dumb as it is, the movie never ceases delivering what I wanted out of it. Sure, the traps might be ridiculous, but they provide lots graphic kills that made me wince.
All joking aside, I liked the characters who mattered. Arkin is a very unconventional protagonist, Elena is surprisingly resourceful despite being the damsel in distress and a few supporting characters turn out to be very endearing. Sure, everyone else is victim fodder, but the main characters were a lot of fun. It gets going almost immediately and never lets up. It seems like the bulk of the screen-time is dedicated to close encounters with traps, people being butchered in the worst ways possible, fights with the Collector or characters sneaking around while macabre imagery appears in the background. It’s not as stylish as its predecessor, nor as suspenseful. I attribute this to the first one being more experimental and having a tighter structure. It was about Arkin and his encounters with the victims (who were all relevant) or the killer. This one has Arkin and Elena sharing the screen-time separately and most of the kills are reserved for people who are introduced for the sake of providing another body. It cheapens the tension, but doesn’t completely demolish it. As much as I enjoy making fun of “The Collection“, it’s actually fairly unpredictable when it comes to its zany spectacle. So you’ll have to decide yourself whether or not you’ll think it’s stupid or awesome, based on what has been said. I personally think it’s…stupidly awesome.
Violence: Rated R. It’s not as twisted as the previous one, but the gore is just as extreme.
Nudity: A fair amount, but unless you’re a sicko, you won’t get aroused by all of these naked corpses.
Overall: Watch “The Collection” if you liked “The Collector“. If not, don’t bother.