Director Marcus Dunstan re-teams with his Saw writer Patrick Melton for the sequel to their underground horror hit The Collector. This time around they venture deeper into the world of the titular character as the main character from the previous film returns to help track and hunt him down. The Collection ups the body count and adds a bucket or two of gore and guts, but the over-the-top approach only makes for a scare-less and fun horror experience that lacks that grimy and low-budget feel that made the first film work so well. Do we have a new iconic slasher in the making?
The last time we saw Arkin (Josh Stewart) in The Collector he was being collected by the man with the black mask. His future didn’t look all that bright, but somehow he escapes and makes it to a nearby hospital. Just when he thinks things are going good again, he gets dragged back into the world of torture and pain. A man’s (Christopher McDonald) daughter (Elena played by Emma Fitzpatrick) goes missing and Arkin is tricked into leading a group of trained bodyguards/tough guys into The Collector’s booby-trapped lair.
It’s basic horror 101 as far as sequels are concerned. Director Marcus Dunstan returns to the director’s chair with his frequent Saw co-writer Patrick Melton to help make sure the character’s legacy is carried over properly. The Collection is very much a continuation of The Collector in terms of intricate traps with bloody results, but that dark and twisted spirit of the first film is traded away for a fun sequel that thinks bigger always means better.
Those looking for increased traps and kills are going to love The Collection, because the writing pair has clearly learned from their past works (Saw IV, V, VI & VII). They’ve brought their best Saw game to the table here, mixing some awesome-looking traps with the mysterious creepiness of The Collector. I like the character, because he offers up a more traditional slasher mentality with a little creativity to boot.
The story goes as far as you can throw, but that’s okay, because Dunstan and Melton fill the film with characters that for once aren’t completely annoying. There’s maybe one character that you’re counting on to die, but the rest are just everyday assassins and fuck ups.
It’s this light approach that makes the entire film a splatter-fest experience that you’ll want to see on the big screen. There’s nothing about The Collection that’s going to change your mind if you disliked The Collector, unless you’re simply looking for more kills and traps.
If I had to pick a bone with the film it would be over the lack of continuation with the wife story from the first film. The Collector ended with his relationship with his wife in jeopardy and the sequel basically throws that out for a quick summary. Aside from that small inconsistency The Collection holds up well to the character of Arkin and his intentions. Those asking why on Earth he would lead a group of people to a known killer won’t be waiting long, because the answer is explained within minutes of his rescue and eventual descent into The Collector’s house of horrors.
I’m having a difficult time trying to figure out how much I enjoyed The Collection for being its own new direction for the series, while also being slightly disappointed because it didn’t live up to that simplistic, yet effective approach that made The Collector one of my favorite mainstream horror films in recent years. I’m not calling The Collector perfect by any means, but the plot and tone worked for me a lot more than it rightfully should have.
The Collection is a much more polished and blown up take on the character that brings the series to the general audience with nonstop horror. It’s not scary at all, but it’ll make for a great date night movie, because couples will be covering each other’s eyes during the several decapitations and limb dismemberments. Say what you want about Melton and Dunstan as filmmakers, but don’t deny them credit for mostly sticking to practical effects.
The Collection is the type of movie that brakes a guy’s arm three times throughout the film to use it as a helpful piece of equipment to open a door or smash a window and it’s this kind of giddy approach that makes you both laugh and gasp at the same time. One moment you’ll be in shock as a massive wave of young party-going kids get mowed down in a bloody fashion and the next you’ll be laughing your ass off because Arkin’s only way of escape is to ride a dead body out of a window.
It’s fun, it’s foolish and it’s that perfect dose of R-rated mainstream horror that we desperately need right now. Just in time for the Holiday season!
The Collection – 7.5/10