FEARNET Movie Review: 'The Collection'


A few years ago, in between writing duties on various Saw and Feast sequels, Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton went out and made their own little horror movie, and they seemed more than content to simply present a nasty new terror flick that, at the very least, did not have a number in its title. That flick was called The Collector, and while it certainly does have some Saw DNA in both the screenplay and directorial departments, it also managed to offer a relatively novel premise and location. In today's horror landscape, "something familiar plus some novelty" is just good enough, and The Collector still holds up as a vicious little indie flick that earns fans today.

So logically it's time for The Collector Part 2! (Don't feel too bad for the sequel-happy Dunstan and Melton; they're now working on Pacific Rim and the God of War movie.) But if these guys learned a bunch of things from working on the Saw flicks, and clearly they have, one of those lessons was clearly this: sequels should expand and evolve a franchise's mythology, not just repeat and regurgitate the same beats. So while a bit of the novelty found in The Collector has, of course, worn off by the time we arrive at Part 2, the simple truth is that The Collection is mostly a ferociously over-the-top hoot of a horror movie.

Those who appreciate a semblance of continuity from their horror sequels will appreciate how The Collection kicks off: our anti-hero from the first flick (Josh Stewart) narrowly escapes from the clutches of the super-crazy but amazingly tech-savvy psychopath known as The Collector, but unfortunately his freedom arrives during a night club bloodbath that simply must be seen to be believed. (Those who think The Collection is a dead-serious horror film will have those concerns dashed by this outrageously insane sequence.) Anyway, the former thief turned psycho quarry is known as Arkin, and he's barely allowed to rest up in the hospital before he gets a dangerous request: help a rich guy get his daughter back from The Collector, at any costs.

Yep, The Collection borrows a page (or three) from the Aliens playbook of sequel-making, and it's not like the filmmakers are coy about it: Arkin is teamed up with a bunch of commandos, and together they're tasked with delving into the killer's massive, booby-trapped warehouse of horrors in search of poor, helpless Elena. (As played by Emma Fitzpatrick, she's only "helpless" for a few scenes, and she makes for a worthwhile horror heroine before Act III shrieks to a close.) If the first half of The Collection is a recap, some character introductions, and the eye-popper of a nightclub scene, then the second half is a bunch of cocky mercenaries who frequently ignore Arkin's advice and end up skewered or spiked by something sharp and rusty.

If The Collection suffers, story-wise, from being a sequel, there are several behind-the-scenes components that make the follow-up feel slightly superior: the score by Charlie Clouser is playfully creepy at some points and raucously strong towards the finale; the cinematography by genre veteran Sam McCurdy keeps the clanky warehouse setting looking particularly good; and the practical gore effects from old-school splatter guru Gary Tunnicliffe are a treat -- especially once we see what The Collector is, well, collecting. The look, the sound, the feel, and the nasty (but always tongue-in-cheek) tone of The Collection makes it a fine follow-up to a decent little horror flick, and in this era of non-stop remakes, a simply "fine follow-up to a decent horror flick" is simply good enough for me.


Read FEARnet's partner reviews of 'The Collection'