REVIEW: ‘The Collection’

It’s no secret to my contemporaries, I am a horror snob. For the most part, I keep my recent viewing list to a select list of strong films that challenge me mentally and emotionally. It’s quite a shame really since some of the more delightful delicacies of the horror genre are so deliciously low. You shouldn’t always have to eat filet mignon constantly – every now and again you need a nice big juicy burger with a big kosher pickle and French fried potatoes.

In that case, serve me up a nice order of “The Collection.”

Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) gets stood up by her boyfriend one night but gets convinced to go to a secret warehouse rave by one of her friends. What starts as a fun night with friends takes a downturn as she comes across a battered, red trunk that contains Arkin (Josh Stewart), a previous survivor of a serial killer called the Collector – who has, himself, come to the party. And then the nightmare begins. Elena soon finds herself the next trophy taken by the killer. Fortunately, her wealthy father assembles a crack team of professionals to rescue her with a very reluctant Arkin guiding them.

Let the games begin.

“The Collection” was directed by Marcus Dunstan and written by Dunstan and Patrick Melton. Together, they penned the last four “Saw” movies – take that as you will. You also have Kevin Greutert, director of Saw VI and VII, serving as one of this film’s editor. Yes, it gives “The Collection” as distinctly “Saw”-like feel. In an odd way, you could call this a throwback to those halcyon days of early 2000’s torture porn . However, the “crack team of professionals” aspect made it feel like a distant cousin to “Aliens”. While certainly not at the same level as that film, it does lend on energy to the film you might not otherwise get in a film of this type.

If you have not seen the first film, don’t fret. This film easily stands on its own, introducing you to its world without beating you over the head too much with exposition. Quite frankly, there’s not a lot of time for it with all the gore they squeeze in. Not any of that newfangled digital gore either; it’s good old fashioned practical effects just like mom used to make. In fact, the first ten minutes of the film has to be the horror film equivalent to the beginning of a James Bond film as far as the scale of carnage.

Gorehounds, this is the movie you’ve been waiting for. Stop reading now and go buy a ticket.

For everyone else, yes, there is more than just blood to this movie. The story is serviceable and a bit of your standard “team against monster” tale. Fortunately, they throw in enough little twists and bits of character to make it interesting. The cast does exactly what they’re paid to do and doesn’t detract from the festivities. If there is any standout here, it would be the Collector himself. It’s been quite some time since we’ve had a good “masked killer” about and the Collector fills the void nicely. He’s not the outdoorsman that Jason is or the haunter of dreams like Freddy but for sure, he is the Bruce Wayne of the horror killer clan. The complexity and scope of what he does might even leave Batman asking, “Where does he get all those wonderful toys?”

“The Collector” is a thrill ride of a film: take your seat, let the lights go down and turn your brain off. Enjoy this wicked confection and don’t worry about the calories. You can go back to foie gras tomorrow.

Joe Lopez
Dubbed, "TerrorScribe" by a former editor, Joe made the conversion to horror sometime in the mid-2000s. Little did he know he'd favored the genre all of his life. When not struggling with short stories, he provided genre film reviews for local entertainment sites and later genre sites who could suffer his cynical views.

It was that same cynicism - and some might say hubris - that lead him to have a brief flirtation with filmmaking. His first two efforts, "Annotated" and "Antes Que Seja Tarde (Before It's Too Late)" both premiered at a local H.P. Lovecraft film festival. A third short, "Survivor Girl" proved to be his undoing though plans are in the works to revived the cursed project.

Born and raised in Dallas, TX., Joe now resides in a small Texas town. Statistics say more dead bodies turn up in small towns that big cities... though he claims to have NOTHING to do with that.
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