Director: Marcus Dunstan
Starring: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher Macdonald
This sequel to 2009′s surprisingly good ‘The Collector’ has more to offer than one might expect and packs a few unpleasant punches along the way. That film ended with Arkin (Stewart) locked inside a trunk somewhere in the collector’s hideout. This one starts with Ella(Fitzpatrick) being taken off by her friends to an underground rave. Once there Ella makes the unfortunate discovery that her boyfriend isn’t working late after all, but playing away with a leggy blonde. But she doesn’t have much time to worry about it because, if that wasn’t bad enough, she seeks some alone time in a room containing a familiar trunk.
Soon enough we find that it is Arkin in the box, and after narrowly avoiding a crossbow bolt to the head Ella has inadvertently set into motion a rather…shall we say unfortunate…chain of events. I won’t give away what happens next because it’s a stroke of sense defying, blood drenched brilliance and sets the tone for everything that follows. Ella is captured by The Collector and Arkin escapes. But not for long, as he is forced into helping a group of mercenaries raid The Collector’s hideout to look for Ella. What follows is a gore drenched evil fun house of a movie where touching the wrong thing or taking the wrong turn leads to a sticky end.
The first thing that becomes apparent with The Collection is that it is not a copy of its predecessor. It goes to quite big lengths to avoid just being a retread which is quite commendable. Instead of building much in the way of tension it instead goes for the throat, quite literally once or twice, as we are shown the inner workings and horrors of ‘The Collection’ itself.
Marcus Dunstan and his long term writing partner, Patrick Melton know their way around this sort of thing quite well. Having earned their spurs on the Saw sequels, they are used to creating traps and coming up with inventive ways to kill people. The original Collector came in for some criticism because it flirted a little too close to the Saw formula. It did however manage to transcend it’s obvious influence and worked as a little thriller in its own right. This one doesn’t quite manage to escape its bigger more influential cousins shadow. It sometimes feels like it was put together using the leftover pieces from the various Saw movies rather than a movie all of its own. Visually too, it borrows heavily from the Saw sequels, using drained almost damp colours to give it a murky and seedy look.
It doesn’t exactly aim for high art, so to criticise it for not being such would be a bit unfair, and possibly to completely miss the point. Marcus Dunstan is happy to dispense with real world logic and just throw a whole load of crazy set pieces at the screen. In fact, if the truth be told this would have been a much better finale to the Saw series than the unfortunate ‘Final Chapter’(2010).
In the end The Collection is completely and utterly bloody ludicrous. It really is one of the daftest and quite demented films I have seen in a while. But don’t let that put you off. If you can swallow its contrivances and its premise there are moments of gruesome fun, and a couple of genuine hand to mouth moments to be found. If you go looking for character development and a sensible narrative arc you will be disappointed, as no time is really spent with such things. But if it’s a cheap blood drenched thrill that is required then look no further.