Dir. Marcus Dunstan
When a young woman is captured by a masked psychopath after attending an underground warehouse party, where the revellers were mowed, sliced and crushed to death by a macabre series of contraptions, a group of mercenaries are dispatched by her rich father to track her down. Aiding them is Arkin, a former captive of the killer who somehow managed to escape. Can they get to Elena before she becomes part of his gruesome 'collection'?
Attempting to do for The Collector what Aliens did for Alien, The Collection ups the scope of the first film from the get-go, lurching into gear immediately with a series of jaw-dropping bloody spectacles that set the scene for the large scale carnage that follows. The introduction of a group of badass mercenaries, who are attempting to hunt down the mysterious serial killer and do what 'the police can't', also establishes the action-packed ante. These guys mean business. Too bad they’re all two-dimensional fodder who blatantly don’t stand a chance. Once the scene is set (it really doesn’t take long), The Collection races along at full throttle, never pausing for breath or bothering with characterisation. Not that this is the sort of film that needs to – but hey, it never hurts - the emphasis is on violence, cruelty and suspense; which it delivers in spades. Just getting straight to the point, it works well as an exercise in pure tension and outlandish set-pieces. That it also works quite well as a standalone film is a bonus; I haven’t actually seen the first film, but after reading up on it, I was able to confirm that viewing it wasn’t strictly necessary to follow this film’s plot. Whereas The Collector blended elements of a home-invasion narrative with gruesome Saw-like slaughter, The Collection is more reminiscent of Saw II, with a sizable group of people battling their way around a vast and deadly funhouse of pain.
The location, an abandoned hotel-turned-torture-chamber, rigged with deadly traps and filled with mangled corpses, and the graphic sequences of violence, of which there are many, are all reminiscent of the Saw series. Bodies are shredded and mutilated by all manner of sharp, pointy things; intricately designed booby-traps ensnare and eviscerate victims; corpses are splayed out like morbidly exquisite art exhibits; and all manner of squelchy viscera is sloshed across the screen with alarming frequency. This is unsurprising really as The Collection was penned by the writers of Saw IV, V, VI and 3D.
An abundance of twists and turns distract from minimal characterisation and logic, while some of the startling images retain a grotesque beauty – the preserved corpses in large ornate tanks for example, are rather like a Giger update of similar scenes from The Black Cat (1934). One creepy moment involving tarantulas also seems wonderfully old fashioned and playful. It was also strangely refreshing to have a mysterious serial killer actually remain mysterious throughout – we know nothing of The Collector save for his macabre work.
If it’s slickly made mindless entertainment you want, you could do a lot worse than The Collection.
The Collection was released on DVD on 29th April, 2013.
Special Features: Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Marcus Dunstan and Co-Writer Patrick Melton; A Director’s Vision; Make Up and Effects of The Collection; Production Design; Special Effects of The Collection; Stunts of The Collection.