Movie Review: The Collection (Not Sure Where We Were Going or Why I Should Care)

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 From the writing-directing team Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton (Saw IVV,VI and 3D) comes The Collection, a suspense horror film with nonstop thrills at every turn. Directed by Dunstan and starring Josh Stewart (The Dark Knight RisesThe Collector), Emma Fitzpatrick (The Social Network) and Christopher McDonald (“Boardwalk Empire,” Requiem for a Dream), the film centers on a traumatized man forced to help rescue a beautiful woman who has become the latest obsession of a crazed killer who “collects” humans in a booby-trapped house of horrors.

When ELENA (Fitzpatrick) is talked into attending an underground warehouse party with her friends, she finds herself caught in a nightmarish trap where the revelers are mowed, sliced and crushed to death by a macabre series of contraptions operated by a masked psychopath. When the grisly massacre is over, Elena is the only survivor. But before she can escape, she is locked in a trunk and transported to an unknown location.

Fortunately for Elena, one man—ARKIN (Stewart)—knows exactly where she’s headed, having just escaped from there with his life and sanity barely intact. Going back is the last thing on Arkin’s mind, but Elena’s wealthy father (McDonald) hires a crack team of mercenaries to force Arkin to lead them to the killer’s lair. But even these hardened warriors are not prepared for what they encounter: an abandoned hotel-turned-torture-chamber, rigged with deadly traps and filled with mangled corpses. Can Arkin and the team get to Elena before she too becomes part of his gruesome “collection”? (Description from the official movie website)

I want to start off this review by saying that I haven’t watched the previous movie yet, so all I can do is give a stand alone review of the film. With that in mind, the pre-release hype and trailers for The Collection  indicated that this might be an original, heavy take on the slasher direction with a fetish mask wearing madman behind the knife. While I have heard very positive things about the first movie (The Collector), I feel that the folks behind the film fell into this generation’s failures as far as horror movies go.

So what went wrong for me? There was the typical lack of character development at the outset of the film. By the time the bodies started piling up, you would expect that you would have an emotional connection to at least one or two characters. The current trend ignores this initial step, delivering immediately on blood, bodies, and gore. I can honestly say that I didn’t feel much of anything for any of the young people at the beginning of the film, including Elena. There was very minimal character development or plot build up. It went from a general introduction to the characters and jumped immediately into the kills. To me, this is a flaw, especially in horror movies today.

What did work? There were some definitely imaginative killings, one sequence even exceeding the body count of the opening sequence bloodbath in Ghost Ship. “The Collector” sets up an elaborate sequence of kill zones in a night club and the body count is ridiculously high. Basically, it was the industrial version of a meat processor.

The villain of the piece, the collector, is truly creepy. The black bondage mask and the killer’s creepy eyes made for a memorable character. I will say that during a scene were he gets his hands on a gun, he is categorically the absolute worst shot I have ever seen. Horrible.

On the plus side, the killer’s lair was creepy and amazing. Bodies cut apart and rebuilt in human monstrosities, surgical/torture rooms, display cases containing human parts, etc make up the decor in the lair which is located in an abandoned hotel.

The movie did have an unfortunate tendency to veer toward gore and nastiness rather than any type of scare. This movie could easily be categorized with films like Saw or Hostel in regards to it’s torture porn approach. While I do see the appeal of bloodshed and gore, I do think there is an issue when films focus on these only with no regard to scaring the audience. The gross out factor can definitely reduce the effectiveness of the plot and the “horror” feel of the film.

Overall, I’d rate this movie a 5 out of 10. This movie had great potential to be an excellent sequel, but I feel that it dropped the ball.

Take a look at the trailer below and maybe this movie will peak your interest. I’m hoping to watch the previous film and maybe that will help me appreciate the second film more.

 

 
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