Friday, October 18, 2013

The Collection

Directed by Marcus Dunstan.
2012. Rated R, 82 minutes.
Emma Fitzpatrick
Randall Archer
Christopher McDonald
Lee Tergesen
Shannon Kane
Andre Royo
Erin Way
Tim Griffin
Navi Rawat
Johanna Braddy

The very existence of The Collection is odd to me. It follows The Collector, a 2009 horror flick that I don’t think was seen enough to justify a sequel. It made less than $8 million at the box office. Granted, it’s budget was some number less, so it made money, but still. Nor was it acclaimed enough for me to understand pushing forward with a second chapter. I guess it helps that some of the people behind the first movie, as well as this one, helped make the ever-popular Saw movies. This all adds up to a shinier, glossier installment, presumably thanks to an expansion of that budget. Full disclosure before we go on: I do not like the original. I find it ridiculous in a bad way as opposed to being so bad it’s awesome. Coming into this one I didn't exactly have my hopes up.

We open on a car crash, beautifully framed from the vehicle’s interior as a dad tells his little girl how much he loves her. Cue opening credits and a bunch of news sound bites filling us in on what our collector has been up to. Mind you, none of this seems to have anything to do with the first movie, or this one. for that matter. Aside from the mere presence of our resident psycho, and one other guy, this is as close as you’ll get to any sort of back-story. No, the other kids didn't damn near kill him in a vicious game of hide-and-seek back in the day, or he didn't get abducted by a rock band and come back a cannibal, the townsfolk didn't kill his dad for taking hearts out of live patients. We get nothing. He’s just some jackass in black mask collecting human body parts. I think. Or lethal bugs. Maybe. Or both. What exactly is in the collection is only referenced in the most vague ways. There are human remains scattered all over his boobie-trapped dwelling, but nothing so organized as to definitively mark it a collection, except the bugs. Let’s move on.

Let’s talk some more about boobie-traps. Like the first movie, this one is built on them. The bad guy has turned an abandoned building into a house of horrors with so much elaborate nastiness I’m inclined to believe he spends far more time designing and building them than collecting anything. There are so many it’s hard to understand how he hasn't accidentally killed himself, or at least lost a digit or two.

Our killer’s most fantastic work is reserved for a public place, of sorts. It’s at an underground nightclub that seems no different than any other except you need to know the secret password to get in. The whole place is rigged with all sorts of sharp objects coming out of the walls. Most impressive is the spinning multi-bladed thing that drops from the ceiling and chops people up something good. This scene is our re-introduction to the character and provides a solid ten minutes or so of pure carnage. It’s truly spectacular. Still, I couldn't help but wonder how at least a dozen people didn't know he was setting all this up. If nothing else it looks like he needed a lot of help to do this stuff.

The end of the club scene gives us our final girl, Elena (Fitzpatrick), and what little plot there is. It’s no spoiler that she’s the it girl since all but one of the few hundred other people in the club die horribly. That one person is Arkin (Stewart). He’s that other guy from the original. He was actually taken to the club in a trunk by the collector and escapes during the mayhem. As expected, Elena turns out to be the little girl from the car crash at the beginning. Her rich dad also survived the auto accident and has hired a team of mercenaries to find his daughter after the massacre at the club. They enlist the help of Arkin, who finds his way back to The Collector’s house in the most contrived manner possible, since he made the trip while stuffed in a trunk. How dad or his goons ever had a clue Elena was at the club in the first place, is still alive, or even know who Arkin is, let alone immediately deducing that he is alive and can help them, is all beyond me. But hey, it’s just a movie, right?

At some point during all this, Arkin tells the crew “he (The Collector) always leaves one alive.” Now, I’m thinking ‘how many mass murders has this guy committed and not been caught?’ Seriously, one guy is repeatedly killing dozens of people at a time, in public venues, it’s all over national news and no one can figure it out? Sigh. I did say this is just a movie, right? The mercs trying to rescue Elena while she tries to escape ensues.

There is no other reason to see this other than the gore on display, which is often quite amazing, to be frank. Members of the search party get offed one by one while various folks The Collector left alive around the building, have more heinous things done to them. So many people are still breathing inside this place it’s like a small town. Again, how many times has he done this? Nevermind. There I go thinking again. Just give it a look if you’re a gore-hound. Skip it if you’re not.

MY SCORE: 4.5/10

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