Like its predecessor, 2009's The Collector, The Collection is a brutal, indulgent bloodbath. Rather than developing its characters or slowly building tension, it slashes forward at a depraved rate, killing off both familiar faces and random people with video game-like aggression. It’s entirely possible the film’s body count actually reaches three digits by the end, all in an effort to up the previous installment in every way possible.
For the most part, this bigger is better philosophy actually works. The Collection offers more characters actually capable of fighting back against the antagonist. It offers more bizarre and grandiose booby traps and a new heightened sense of tension from the general public who are aware of and want the villain caught. These positive changes strike the right balance between continuity and original intrigue for the sequel. Unfortunately, the new location does not. In fact, it’s the singular reason why round one works and round two only sort of works.
The original Collector is set inside a house. It offers a small number of characters including Arkin O’Brien (Josh Stewart) and lets them play a cat and mouse game with a sick, merciless serial killer. By the end of the film, viewers really get a chance to know the house and all of the little secrets it hides. It’s like Clue in that way. The newest installment, however, takes place inside a once abandoned hotel so massive, dark and mysterious it gives HH Holmes’ World’s Fair business and Sarah Winchester’s mansion runs for their money.
Our old friend Arkin is back alongside a team of highly trained mercenaries paid by the rich father (Christopher McDonald) of a girl (Emma Fitzpatrick) our antagonist kidnapped, but because of the rapid increase in booby trapped space, it’s impossible to predict what might happen next or even have opinions on what actions the characters should take. It’s roughly the equivalent of being a little kid and told you can wander through the candy store versus being told you can roam throughout the entire mall. More freedom might sound better in theory, but in practicality, it really isn’t.
Fortunately, co-writer/ director Marcus Dunstan really does know what he’s doing when it comes to conceiving and subsequently delivering on scary premises. Several of the larger scenes including numerous extras are smartly choreographed to seem frenzied without disorienting the audience. The basic concept of a man slaughtering a number of people and saving one to add to his collection is just as horrifying now as it was during the first installment, and proper care is put into including plenty of weird, macabre shit like body part rooms, bear traps and loose spiders.
With good acting from the lead characters, a good concept and some edge of your seat, cover your eyes moments, The Collection has enough to please hardcore horror fans and casual moviegoers looking for a fright. Given the mistake it made with the location, however, it still has to be looked at as a bit of a missed opportunity. Sometimes savage chaos is better when it’s carefully ordered.
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