In the movie world, the sequel is a tricky thing. Trying to emulate what made a film memorable in the first place is a difficult task and almost always misses the mark. "The Collection" is a film that carries over the famed traps, blood and gore and funhouse feel of the original "The Collector" and certainly ups the ante. Problem is the other half, the man vs. man skill set that gave "The Collector" its leg up from standard torture porn fare is nowhere to be found – clever has been killed.
When we left thief Arkin he was being collected by the infamous serial killer and dragged off to who knows where. The case opens in "The Collection" and the ailing thief finds himself in a warehouse rave, Collector style – meaning plenty of tripwires, hidden traps and even a wall to wall spinning blade set guaranteed to kill everyone in sight. Though Arkin does make it out, only to be talked back into re-entering the lair of the madmen to find the daughter of a rich recluse.
Again, spectacle is not a problem in "The Collection," as writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton seem to have plenty of new blood and guts traps left over from their days at the "Saw" camp. But in their race to take their new inflated budget and spend like kids at a candy store, they forgot to keep the most important part of "The Collector" – the wit. Through a series of mind encounters and attention to detail skirmishes, "The Collector" elevated itself to something special beyond a slice and dice flick and that’s what made the film memorable. "The Collection" pays no attention to such interesting character development and simply goes for the horror jugular with a vengeance. It may be a relief for those looking for their "Saw" fix, but for fans of an added pinch of intelligence the news isn’t good. Previously captivating Josh Stewart, who gave such a thoughtful gusto to his thief Arkin in the first film, is here reduced to a fighting man of action we’ve seen a million times. Not to mention that new Collector Randall Archer, much bigger in bulk size then former actor Juan Fernandez de Alarcon, simply comes off as a brooding hulking boob this time around and doesn’t bring half the cunning menace that Alarcon so aptly displayed in the first film. (Yes, even those who don't talk can still convey great stuff!) The only bright beacon here is the inclusion of feisty gal Emma Fitzpatrick as the trapped daughter who shows much more then the typical damsel in distress stuff, but even her moments are unfortunately few and far between.
I’m not saying horror fans won't dig this gore fest or that Dunstan didn't helm some decent moments (the whole car opening is inspired character work!), but I don't think he and Patrick knew what made "The Collector" a standout. I remember recommending "The Collector" to someone who hates the sight of blood in a film, touting instead the fascinating battle of two men who were experts in their field – and she loved it. "The Collection" would be her worst nightmare, a film that strips back the smart small to spray the audience with the bloody big. In the higher budget tower of "The Collection," something special has left the building.
Title: "The Collection"
Stars: 2 1/2
Cast: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Randall Archer
Director: Marcus Dunstan
Release Company: Freestyle Releasing
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