Saturday, March 30, 2013

Collection, The (2012)

Director: Marcus Dunstan
Notable Cast: Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Lee Tergesen, Christopher McDonald

I may or may not have had a few issues with Marcus Dunstan's "The Collector," but generally speaking I was a fan of the film. You can read my review here (CLICK HERE) if you so feel like it to refresh yourself on my thoughts. So I was definitely excited to finally get my hands on a copy of the anticipated sequel "The Collection." What makes this sequel so interesting is that it is a sequel that doesn't necessarily try to retread the same formula that the first film used. Instead it shifts the focus, using some of the same techniques, but replacing much of the tension and dread of the first film with intensity and aggression. At times, particularly towards the end, the film takes on an almost action film like vibe...and I have to admit, I really liked the change of pace.

The authorities have yet to capture the elusive serial killer The Collector after the disappearance of Arkin (Stewart) and the killer only seems to be picking up the pace with his elaborate killing traps. When he sets up an impressive slaughter of a high end night club, Arkin, who is used as bate for the next capture, escapes barely with his life and leaves a young woman Elena (Fitzpatrick) to be captured by The Collector. As it turns out, Elena happens to be the daughter of rich man hell bent on finding his daughter. A man who sends a group of mercenaries to find and kill The Collector. Now Arkin is forced to join this team and take them straight into The Collector's home turf...

As with any sequel, particularly one to a surprisingly successful independent horror film, "The Collection" promised to be bigger and badder film. One that remained a 'true' sequel where we delve into The Collector's home land of traps, oddities, and some seriously creepy shit. To be honest, "The Collection" certainly does deliver on that idea. Although the film tends to jump into some pretty weird ideas to up the ante (including coked out 'zombies' that infest the first floor of The Collector's abandoned hotel), director Marcus Dunstan does indeed push the film to some more intense places. The "traps" weren't necessarily as clever as I would have hoped, but they worked for what they were and it feeds into the focus of the film.

What made "The Collection" really intriguing to me was the general approach that Dunstan and company take the film. While the first film was built on darkness, tension, and sense of unease to deliver scares on a budget, "The Collection" opts for a completely different approach. It's aggressive and intense with its pacing, building a exponentially larger body count with more ridiculous idea like using a room sized rotating blade contraption to slaughter dozens of dancers. It's almost like an action film infused with horror elements. The added mercenaries and their tough guy antics, a slasher villain that wields a machine gun at one point, and even a bitchin' knife fight set to a background of flames makes "The Collection" almost more action than horror. I suppose if you don't want to re-tread the same successful elements of the first film, you take it to new places and that's just what they did with "The Collection."

Ironically for a film whose name promised to reveal some of the 'why' to The Collector as a villain, "The Collection" keeps his motives still rather vague. It adds to the mythos of the character while still keeping him an enigma of villainy and, although I was frustrated with the lack of progress we made in this area, I kept me glued to the screen too which was a nice change. I also appreciated that it was a true sequel by keeping Arkin as the lead (who once again is a great protagonist to root for here) while still changing the general dynamics of the film. In a way, this is definitely one of the better sequels that doesn't try to just simply rehash what worked before and does something new while keeping the idea intact.

Although the film tended to jump a little too far into the ridiculousness of its concept at times, throwing in random elements at whim, I felt "The Collection" matched its predecessor in quality. The more I think about the film the more I enjoy it and that says something about a film. It was entertaining as hell and unique in its blend horror and action. It comes highly recommended from me even if it's not perfect.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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