Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Collection

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews!

The Collection – 3 out of 5

Somehow, The Collector ended up getting a sequel despite the fact the film didn’t really warrant one. Sure the film had an open ending with the fact the hero gets captured by the escaping bad guy but apparently the little bit of money it made at the box office allowed it to get another go.

Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) is a young girl ready to sleaze it up at a club with her friends but things turn for the worse as the club is not only playing horrible techno music but she finds her boyfriend cheating on her…oh, and then The Collector (Randall Archer) decides to up and slaughter all the scantily dressed girls and tight-jeaned endowed boys in the building. After freeing Arkin (Josh Stewart and the kidnapped protagonist from the first film) from the chest he was imprisoned in by The Collector (or Mr. Collector if you’re nasty) an amazingly elaborate device is started that systematically tears the dancing teens apart. Emma is forced to watch her friends die and becomes the next hostage of The Collector as Arkin escapes.

"Hey a thresher at a club.   There's no way this could end badly!"

Obsessed with finding his daughter, Emma’s father; Mr. Peters (Christopher McDonald) assembles a pro-team of hired guns that are led by Lucello (Lee Tergesen) and are requesting Arkin’s expertise in hunting down The Collector and slaying his ass. They track down Jigsaw The Collector to his lair—which turns out to be a hotel he’s turned into a trap orgy where everything can literally kill you and is filled with drug-induced victims of the serial killer and, for all intensive purposes, act as his army of zombies.

Unlike the first one, I really enjoyed this film. The first film felt too much like a reboot of the Saw franchise (not surprisingly since it was written and directed by the man who wrote Saw IV, V, VI and the 3D one—he also wrote the Feast trilogy and the first one of that series was amazing…the remaining two I’m 90% sure gave me cancer and stole my wallet. He also wrote Piranha 3DD…less said about that one the better...which is exactly why I put in a hyperlink to my review of it.) Marcus Dunstan returned to write this new addition to his Collector series. The biggest problem I had with the first one was the inescapable fact that The Collector somehow, in the span of just 3-4 hours, was able to set up the most elaborate traps that would take an engineering student an entire day to complete. The concept was fine, the brutality of the film was okay and the acting was good but the fact I couldn’t suspend disbelief for those damn traps became the nail in the coffin that sunk the ship (I might be confusing metaphors there). However, since this film takes place in locations that are owned by The Collector the elaborate devices make sense because he has all the time in the world to set up the things.

He also has the glowing eyes of a cat...they never explain that.

The film also ups the brutality of it all and the gore factor is set to maximum. It’s a common theme in the world of horror that the sequel MUST be gorier but this one fills the film with enough torture porn and corn-syrup blood to satisfy this sequel but a possible third movie. There are times when the film takes the torture and slaughter to ridiculous, near-cartoon levels where it’s hard to take the film seriously (it pretty much opens on that level) but as the film progresses it starts to get a little more subdued…or as about as subdued as a gallon of blood per wound can get.

I was actually quite surprised how much I enjoyed this movie because it has all the makings of being a really weak, by-the-numbers, lazy gore porn movie that has no real story, plot or decent acting. The reality is I found this movie to be a guilty pleasure. It has its problems but the end product was kinda fun to sit through.

One thing I didn’t enjoy about this movie is the fact it’s too bright to be a horror film. I know that sounds strange but the first film was dark and this film is really, really well lit. Everything from the dance club at the beginning (although, I suppose that more than adequate lighting at a club will help the more drunk/stoned patrons to not go home with inhuman looking creatures that often plague a night of debauchery and illicit substances) to the home of The Collector; all of these places have lighting (even when it’s suppose to be “shitty” lighting) that make sure you can see everything around you. Strange when you consider that the killer in these films depends highly upon traps that are triggered by tripwires.

Those dying glowsticks in the background might be causing the brightness of the film...

Okay, so complaining about the fact that I could actually see everything going on in the film may be extremely nitpicky but it gives the film a Direct-to-DVD feel and makes it look cheap like everyday on the set the director just said, “Screw atmosphere, just light the damn thing.” However, the biggest failing this movie presented itself with was something a lot of horror films do: A lack of characters.

"Me have character."

Oh sure, the movie has characters in it but the characters lack actual character (I’m getting paid every time I use the word “character”). Some actors in the film are playing roles that have some backstory and meat to their characters like The Collector (he…um…kills people and collects victims so that counts), Arkin (the survivor of the first film and already has a history established) and even the characters of Elena and Lucello have some development to them (not much but some). However the actors who make up the rest of the team out to kill The Collector and…um…collect Elena from The Collector (I’m also getting paid for each time I use the word “collector”) could have just been named Victim 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Hey look, it's Bubbles from The Wire!

Having background characters introduced into a horror film for the sack of filling bodybags later in the story isn’t uncommon in the genre and kinda expected but would it have hurt to at least give the big muscle-bound one and the one that looked like Forrest Gump some lines?
"Um...is that a box of chocolates above me in this deadly trap-filled building?"

The remaining two victims have some dialogue and they even try to give the female victim some importance by hinting that she meant something to the character of Lucello and she actually has some scenes of some import towards the end of the film but the reality is these people were written in for the sake of being bags of blood and sinew to fill the camera lens and The Collector’s traps.

Yep, I would be shrieking like a woman for hours straight.

These minor and way too common complaints seen in the genre called horror didn’t end up destroying any amount of entertainment I received from The Collection. The movie gets silly and cheesy and sometimes the traps end up eliciting a laugh (although many of them got me to let out a nice hoot of sympathy pain watching them) but the movie was pretty fun to watch. Hell, even Josh Stewart does a great job of reprising his role and keeping the movie moving forward. Not bad considering I walked in expecting a full-on crap-bad movie.

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