The Collection – Everything Thats Wrong with Horror

The Collection – Everything Thats Wrong with Horror

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  1. The Saw series of "horror" films have gone on way too long.  There were 7 (so far).  They say it’s over but who really believes them?  The first one was groundbreaking.  It was shot in just over 2 weeks for just over a million dollars by first time filmmakers Leigh Whannell and James Wan.  It literally blew my mind (and made tons of money).  Their second installment was pretty good, too.  After that, they got progressively less interesting.  When Saw IV came around, Leigh Whannell (who had written the earlier ones) was no longer involved in the writing.  That is when it all went to hell.  That is also when Marcus Dunstan got involved.  

    I know this review is supposed to be about The Collection, and I’m getting there, I promise.  Here’s the deal, though:  I didn’t want to see The Collection.  After some technical difficulties at a screening of Lincoln, I was forced to find something else to watch in order to kill time before seeing Killing Them Softly… that something was The Collection written and directed by the very Marcus Dunstan that helped mutilate the Saw series.  I initially was okay with seeing The Collection because the commercials I saw on TV said "from the twisted minds that brought you the Saw series"… I didn’t realize that it was from the not-so-creative minds that brought me the later part of the Saw series.  That’s what I get for not doing my research.

    What is it about and is it any good?

    I normally summarize the plot and then give my thoughts on the qualities of the film that make it good and/or bad.  This time, though, I am going to combine these sections since the plot is really dumb.  By combining them, I can make fun of the plot as I talk about what’s good and/or bad.  Also, be advised that this section will be rife with spoilers.  I hesitate to call them spoilers, though, because the term "spoil" implies that something was good before, then (after spoiling) becomes bad.  In that sense of the word, it turns out the filmmakers already spoiled it.

    The Collection starts with news stories of the widespread panic that this killer called "The Collector" has caused.  That was the moment that I found out that this film is a sequel to a terrible film called The Collector (also directed by Dunstan).  Again… research would have helped, I know.

    Anyway, after this generic beginning, we get a couple of teenagers (played by young adults) headed for a mysterious party for which you need a password to get into.  Of course the password, "nevermore," invokes thoughts of Edgar Allan Poe.  And, if Poe knew that, he’d probably be pissed.  But once they get into this party, we start watching a generic music video.  People dance, grind with each other, drink, make out, do drugs, etc.  The camera caresses hot women’s bodies, strobe lights flash… you’ve seen music videos for dance songs (unfortunately).  Then we get our first look at The Collector.  He stands menacingly on a random scaffolding overlooking the party.

    That image of the killer brings up a few questions.  First, how did he get up on that scaffolding?  There’s no logical means of access to that scaffolding and it’s not a very good vantage point to actually kill anyone.  Secondly, did he throw the party?  Did he go around posting flyers saying "Come to this raucus party!  You’ll get free alcohol and drugs while being able to gratuitously make out with models who think thet’re actresses… oh yea, and you’ll get brutally murdered unless you are one of the leads."  Maybe he did and people were drawn to it because you need a password to get in… and they’re dumb "teenagers" (played by people in their mid twenties).  

    Finally, the biggest question that first image of our killer brings up is why does he not look scarier?  In this kind of torture/horror flick, the bad guy has to look terrifying for it to work.  This guy doesn’t look scary at all.  All he has going for him is some leather mask.  And, in case you didn’t notice from the poster of The Collector and from the poster of The Collection (which both look identical), that leather mask laces up in the back.  But, just in case you didn’t see either movie poster, there are 5 or 6 shots of the killer putting on the mask and lacing it up in the back.  So… his mask laces up in the back… making it scary… I guess.

    Once the party has clearly gone on long enough, the killer decides to wipe everyone out.  So he gets a giant spinning blade to just move across the party killing almost everyone.  It’s ridiculous.  Maybe the filmmakers just wanted to set their film apart by bumping up the body count… in one fell swoop.  The few that escape, including the main girl’s friend that we don’t really care one bit about, get trapped in a cage and squashed like a toasted marshmallow between two graham crackers.  It’s supposed to be emotional but it ends up just being hilarious.  Then, of course, our main girl, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), gets taken by the killer while the main dude from the first movie runs away like a coward.

    Elena wakes up in a box and breaks out of that box using a ripped up bra… yea, you read that right.  She rips off part of it and uses the hooks to hook onto the latch of the box and yank it open.  Not only is that completely unbelieveable, but it’s a really weak excuse to have Elena go through the rest of the movie without a bra.  It’s not to surprising because this film is written and directed by the same guy that wrote the 2012 cinematic masterpiece, Piranha 3DD.  I haven’t seen that film, but its poster features a busty woman in a bikini whose face is not shown and has the follwoing tagline:  Twice the terror.  Double the D’s."

    Meanwhile, the guy from the first movie, Arkin (Josh Stewart), is busy helping a rouge team hired by Elena’s father (Christopher McDonald or, more importantly Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore) find this old hotel where the killer has been keeping his collection of victims.  He says he’ll lead the mercenaries there but he wasn’t going in to the hotel because it’s undoubtably boobie trapped like crazy.  Then he’s surprised when the head mercenary guy, Lucello (Lee Tergesen), forces him to go in and risk his life.  I wasn’t surprised.

    As they go through the house, it’s not even that tense.  We already know that some of them are going to die, Arkin is going to come close to dying a few times but survive, Elena will end up joining with the mercenary group and almost dying a few times, then everyone but Arkin and Elena will eventually die at the hands of "The Collector."  Since everyone knows that, the interest has to come from the creative ways that people die… and all of them in this film are recycled from the Saw movies.  What a surprise!

    I will say this for the film, though.  There are some good shots.  There are only 7 or so, but that’s something.  Also, the acting from Josh Stewart and Emma Fitzpatrick is passable.  By passable I mean that they probably won’t get nominated for any Razzies, which is a win for this kind of film.  Overall, if you are a fan of this torture-porn genre (as some people call it) then you may enjoy The Collection.  If you enjoyed The Collector, then you will almost certainly enjoy this un-needed sequel.  But, if you like good horror films that genuinely scare you, keep you on the edge of your seat and/or biting your fingernails, and keep you afraid of the dark for a few weeks… skip over The Collection.

    WARNING:  The next paragraph contains extreme sarcasm that may not be suitable for fans of this film.

    There is some good news, though!  The killer somehow survived being burnt alive and being in a building that was blown to smitherines with him inside.  His survival led to a final scene in which Arkin shows up at the killer’s house, having found him through some very intuitive detective work, and puts a gun to the killer’s head.  The killer doesn’t fight or anything, though, despite proving earlier in the film that he is very good in hand-to-hand combat and is more than capable of disarming an opponent.  But Arkin doesn’t kill him… he throws him in the killer’s characteristic red box with a plan to make the killer feel "everything that I felt" as he says.  So, the good news is… SEQUEL!!! 

    Nolan’s Grade:  D

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